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Taking action: Use these tips to make the most of the heat inside your home

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 16, 2015)-- We're in for days of temperatures that won't make it above the freezing mark and nights that will be well below zero. FOX59 is taking action to find out what you can do to make the most of the heat inside your home.

More heavy snow was the name of the game in southern Indiana on Monday morning. For all Hoosiers, it's another week with more cold.

"With back-to-back cold winters, again, now you're putting almost an extra season on these furnaces, and that will also shorten their life," said John Traub, with Thiele Heating and Air Conditioning.

Last winter was tough, and this one isn't going down without a fight, either. Traub said before an arctic blast, check your furnace's air filter. A clogged filter is the source of the majority of problems, he said. It will make the blower work harder than it should, and then in turn, the blower will go bad.

"We get into long cold stretches like we're in now and are anticipating maintaining, the furnaces when they're working harder, that's when they get the stress on them, and that's when they have the breakdowns," he said.

Provided your unit's in tip-top shape, Traub gave us some ideas to make the most of the heat inside your house.

  • Don't close off vents, especially if you have a furnace. Traub said that restricts air flow and makes it harder on the furnace. He also recommends leaving doors open to allow air to circulate freely through the home and find its way to the return.
  • Keep the blinds open to allow natural heat in, but only if it's sunny. A cloudy day and open blinds will not help you, Traub said. He recommends open blinds only when the sun is out.
  • Pass on the take-out and cook a meal at home. Cooking a meal in the oven is a great way to heat your home. During the winter, your oven assists in the heating of your home and doesn't work against it, like during the summer.
  • Restrict air flow into or out of the home. If you can feel wind blowing through by windows, use caulk to cover any open space, Traub said.
  • Listen to your furnace. Units aren't meant to be loud, Traub said. If you hear a furnace running loudly, it could be a sign of a future problem.
  • Watch programmable thermostats. Traub said if they're set too low, they can cause valuable heat to be lost. Sometimes he advises monitoring your thermostat manually during the winter months.

Regardless, Traub said keep the temperature in your home where you are most comfortable. But remember, the higher it is, the more you will pay when your power bill comes in the mail.

And since bills are usually higher in the summer and winter, Indianapolis Power & Light does participate in budget billing, where you can pay the same amount for eleven months and then settle the difference on month number twelve. You do have to be current in your bill payment to sign up for the service.

IPL also provides tips for energy efficiency year-round, you can find those tips here.