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You could get upgraded insulation installed in all the walls of your home, or
buy a new high-efficiency furnace and air conditioner. These improvements
would certainly reduce your energy costs – but they each require a
significant investment.
What if you don't have the budget?
There are a lot of little things you can do to make a big difference in your
heating or cooling bill. Here are just a few examples:
• Turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees in winter. (And turn it
up a few notches in summer.) Chances are, you'll hardly notice the
difference in comfort, and you'll cut your heating/cooling costs by
about 5%.
• Do you need the air conditioner on all the time during the summer
months? Consider turning it way up, or completely off, at night when
it's cooler outside.
• Invest in a programmable thermostat. That way, you'll be able to set
up a schedule that uses less heating/cooling energy while you’re out
of the house.
• Let the sunshine in through windows in the winter (and block the sun
where possible in the summer.) "Passive heat gain" can contribute to
up to 20% of the heat in your home. Best of all, the sun is free.
• Use energy efficient lights throughout your home. These can cut the
cost of lighting by up to 40%!
• Be careful with outside lights, which can use a lot of energy! Turn
them off before you go to bed or, better still, use programmable
outside lighting that can be set to turn off automatically.
• These are just a few ideas for reducing your energy bill. If you do
some research, you can probably discover many other ways to cut
your costs. It's worth the effort!

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Most people feel confident about the basics of home security. For example: Keep all doors locked. Have a light on in the house while away. Never hide a key outside in an obvious place, like under the mat.

  • Yet, almost a million and a half properties get burglarized in North America each year. So how can you prevent that from happening to your home? Here are a few less known home security basics:
  • Actually, never hide a key outside. Thieves know all the hiding places. Instead, make sure all family members have a key.
  • Two-thirds of home burglaries occur during the day. So be extra vigilant about making sure doors and windows are locked while you're away during the day.
  • Surprisingly, most thieves are not daring. They are 2.7 times more likely to target a home without an alarm system.
  • Thieves will attempt to force entry through sliding-style doors and windows first. So make sure these have a locking bar or extra bolt lock.
  • Surprising, 40% of household burglaries do not involve forced entry. The thief is able to slip in through an unlocked window or door.
  • Don't show off possessions! An imported racing bike parked next to the garage, or expensive audio equipment clearly seen through a window, is an invitation to burglars.
  • Take a look at the lighting and landscaping around your property. Are there spots where a thief could easily hide? If so, make some changes.
  • When planning a trip, have a trusted neighbour pick up newspapers, flyers and anything else that may accumulate at your door.

Your local police department may have more tips and special programs for keeping your home secure. Give them a call.

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