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11 Life Hacks to Save Energy During the Winter

11 Life Hacks to Save Energy During the Winter

For many households, winter is the most expensive time of the year. It is not just the holiday costs associated with the season that creates this expense. The heating costs due to cold weather can also cause your utility bill to skyrocket.

Heating a home is not cheap. In fact, the cost for heat continues to increase.

This means it is more important than ever for people to take steps to reduce their energy usage and decrease their costs. Here are 11 life hacks to help you save energy during the winter.

1. Turn Down the Heat 3 Degrees

You might not know this, but even the smallest margin can make a significant difference. Turning your heat down just 3 degrees can save 10% on your energy bill.

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Save Energy During the Winter

    2. Fill Your Wall Cavities

    It is important that your walls are insulated. The costs savings this will create can vary based on the size and type of your home. However, no matter how much the savings every little bit helps. You should definitely have a consultation to see if insulation is right for you.

    3. Seal up the Leaks

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      Caulking leaks around windows and doors can save energy in the winter. You should try to find places where there are pipes, vents, or electrical conduits that go through a wall, ceiling, or floor. You should definitely check the bathroom, under the kitchen sink, and any pipes inside a closet. When you find gaps where the pipe or vent goes into the wall, you should seal it up. Remember, caulk works the best when used on small gaps. There are other products that are available for larger gaps.

      4. Reduce Hot Water Temperature

      You should set your hot water heater to the “normal” setting, or to a temperature of 120-degrees Fahrenheit. This is unless your dishwasher’s owner’s manual requires a higher level. Setting your water heater to this level can save 7-11% of water heating costs.

      5. Download the Hive App

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        The Hive app is a way to connect your thermostat to your mobile device. This app allows you to check your home’s temperature through the app and change or turn off the thermostat remotely. This gives you more flexible control of your environment and is a great way to maximize the internet of things.

        6. Foil Your Radiators

        Putting a sheet of foil between your radiator and your wall reflects the heat back into the room instead of out through the walls. This is a simple but valuable way to keep your heat in and reduce expenses. This is easy to do with tinfoil and cardboard or specialist radiator foil.

        7. Keep Your Radiator Clear

        It is essential that you keep things away from your radiator. This includes furniture and any other items that prevent heat from circulating at maximum efficiency. You want the heat to be able to move freely throughout your room.

        8. Only Heat Rooms You Use

        Sometimes we have rooms we never use. Like guest rooms or storage areas. These rooms should be closed off with their vents sealed to be more energy efficient. This will also help direct the flow of air into the rooms which are used the most. The average energy bill is $183 per month. If you use a space heater in the rooms you use and set your thermostat to 62 degrees, you will save about $200 each year.

        9. Close Your Doors

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        Close Your Doors

          This may seem obvious but you would be shocked how many people need to be reminded. Closing your internal doors helps to keep the heat in and also prevents cold air from circulating in rooms that are not occupied.

          10. Increase Your Window Glazing

          Increase Your Window Glazing

            When you double glaze your windows you keep more heat in. This means you do not need to keep your thermostat as high as you do with a single glazed window. Another benefit is that you will hear less noise from outside and you can make more noise inside. This is great for when you want peace and quiet or to have a rocking party.

            You can even install triple glazed windows, which provide an even greater barrier to keep out the noise and lose less heat.

            11. Use LED Holiday Lights

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            Use LED Holiday Lights

              Decorate with LED lights during the holidays. You can purchase new LED holiday lights which use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lights. LED lights also don’t emit as much heat and are more resistant to breakage. This makes them a much safer alternative. You should also always unplug your holiday lights before going to sleep or leaving your house. These lights continue to draw power even when they are not in use. This can add unnecessary expenses to your utility bill.

              Conclusion

              By following these 11 life hacks you can avoid unnecessary costs over the winter and put more money back into your pocket. Use it to save energy for your home for a rainy day or take that trip you have always wanted to take. Almost anything is better than unnecessarily spending it on your utility bill.

              Featured photo credit: tumblr via 67.media.tumblr.com

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              Vikas Agrawal

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              Last Updated on July 4, 2019

              25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

              25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

              Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

              Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

              1. Coursera

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                Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

                Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

                Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

                2. Khan Academy

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                  Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

                  Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

                  3. Open Culture Online Courses

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                    If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

                    Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

                    4. Udemy 

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                      Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

                      Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

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                      5. Academic Earth

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                        Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

                        Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

                        6. edX

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                          Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

                          7. Alison

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                            Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                            It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                            8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                              A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                              Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                              Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                              ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                              9. Stanford Online

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                                Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

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                                Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                                10. Harvard Extension

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                                  Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                                  Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                                  11. Open Yale Courses

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                                    Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                                    12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                                      Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                                      13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                                        Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                                        14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                                          Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                                          15. Codecademy

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                                            Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                            The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

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                                            16. Code

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                                              Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                              In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                              Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                              17. University of London Podcasts

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                                                The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                                18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                                  Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                                  The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                                  19. BBC Podcasts

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                                                    For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                                    Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                                    20. TED-Ed

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                                                      Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                                      Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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                                                      21. LessonPaths

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                                                        LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                                        22. Memrise

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                                                          Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                                          Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                                          23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                            The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                            National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                            24. Fun Brain

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                                                              Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                              Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                              25. Whyville

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                                                                Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                                Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

                                                                More About Online Learning

                                                                Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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