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Stay warm without breaking the bank

During the winter months, many homeowners are always looking for ways tostay warm, while keeping the heating bill low.

During the winter months, many homeowners are always looking for ways to stay warm, while keeping the heating bill low. Launching for the first time in Philadelphia, the HeatSeeker is a brand new thermal image technology that identifies where your home is losing heat.

“This technology opens a dialogue with customers about their homes and how to insulate them properly. Our goal is to help Philadelphians save money on their utility bills,” Jeff Bartos, president and CEO of Mark Group said. Mark Group, the company that is launching the HeatSeeker, is proud to help with Mayor Nutter’s goal of making Philadelphia the greenest city.

The three major areas where homes lose heat is through the attic, walls and basement. In the form of a vehicle, the HeatSeeker takes a thermal image of a home and highlights the areas where the most heat is escaping. The HeatSeeker vehicle is equipped to take up to 1,000 thermal images every hour and operates at nighttime when heating systems are likely to be in use.

Bartos recommends a few easy tips to save on your energy bills. “[We suggest] insulating your attic, air seal gaps and cracks in the attic and basement, change all of your light bulbs from incandescent to LEDs and sidewall insulation,” he said.

Another major expense are constantly plugged-in electronics.

Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert for Kinoli, said consumers should unplug everything if you are leaving home for an extended period time.

“Any electronic item plugged into a wall is called an energy-sucking vampire," she said, noting that you can purchase a power strip that has one off switch. “Depending on your appliances, this action can reduce your energy bills up to 5 percent a month.”

Pointers to keep the cold out

While current temperatures are still bearable, now is really the time to start preparing your home for the upcoming winter months. Start out by checking the insulation in your home, especially between heated and unheated areas. “Insulation is the single most important energy conservation measure. It will deteriorate over time, and occasionally needs to be reinforced,” Ben Armstrong, senior communications specialist for PECO said.

A no-cost tip to keep your energy bill low: “Keep blinds, shades and drapes open on sunny days to take advantage of solar heating,” Armstrong added. At night, keep your window dressings closed in order to keep the heat in. Also, “keep your heating vents clean with a vacuum or broom, and do not cover ducts with drapes or furniture that can block the airflow,” Armstong said.

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