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As people prepare to hang up their Christmas lights and turn up the heat, one more thing will go up: your bills. So we are stretching your dollar with a few tips to save on your winter bills while also putting a premium on safety.

Peterman Brothers specializes in heating and cooling, and they say there are some simple steps you can take that could save you a lot of money in the long run.

The first way you can save is by using LED lights inside and outside. They cost much less in terms of electricity and are safer as they don’t get hot.

Another thing to consider is addressing the drafts in your home.

“[We recommend] making sure that you have any draft areas of the home covered up, whether that be under a door, window, wherever that may be.  Covering up those areas is really going to help you out throughout the winter heating season,” said Chad Peterman, president of Peterman Brothers.

According to Peterman, up to 30% of your electric bill is due to drafts and poor insultation.

Most households have at least one extension cord in use during the holidays for lights and other purposes, and Peterman warns you to be careful of where you place them.

“We don’t want to be running them under rugs.  We want to make sure they are not a trip hazard.”

A major don’t when it comes to extension cords is using them for space heaters. When used improperly, space heaters are one of the leading causes of house fires.

“Just need to be really careful with those if pets knock them over or kids knock them over, along with over-loading circuit.  I think that’s what usually a space heater may cause that,” said Peterman.

That’s because in basic terms, space heaters use a lot more electricity than a light, like dozens of times the amount.  So don’t plug too many things into the same circuit they’re plugged into, or too many items into one circuit in general.  Here’s how to figure that out.

Peterman advised, “What I would say as a rule of thumb is if you’ve got a bunch of outlets close together, typically those are on one circuit and we don’t want to plug a ton of stuff in there.”

Plus, they can get knocked over or get placed too close to combustibles.

Finally, get a programmable thermostat, if you don’t have one.  They can save you big bucks as you can set them for exact times and temperatures, or turn them off and on when needed when you are not at home. 

And when it comes to servicing big items like your furnace, leave that to the pros.