PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Heating your home can be expensive, especially when it’s brutally cold outside.

NRG Energy Pittsburgh’s general manager and vice president Cliff Blashford said there are simple steps we can take to cut down the cost.

“Use less when you can, or make educated choices about the products you purchase and install,” Blashford said.

For starters, make sure your home in well insulated.

“Do you have good double pane windows? Do you have weather stripping? Basically make your home nice and tight if you can,” Blashford said.

You can also look to invest in smart products, those using newer technology, like a programmable thermostat.

“Investing in one of those to have night time setbacks, you can really save money if you’re comfortable putting on a blanket and heating your home at 66 – 68 degrees,” Blashford said.

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Some thermostats can be connected to your smartphone, allowing you to program the thermostat remotely. Every one degree you turn down your thermostat, equals a one percent savings on your heating bill.

Another money saving tip: use LED light bulbs.

“The old traditional incandescent bulb, 60 watt bulb, they’re being phased out. Folks have been purchasing compact fluorescents which take that 60 watts down to maybe 20, which is great savings and now there’s LED lights, that are like seven or eight watts,” Blashford said.

The LED lights may cost more than traditional bulbs up front, but experts say in the long run they’re well worth it. Most importantly, if you’re not home, turn the heat down and lights off.

“If you have an increase in awareness, you’re updating your equipment and only using the appliances when you’re home, you’re doing a much better job of managing your cost and comfort,” Blashford said.

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