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Using Energy More Efficiently at Home

By using energy more efficiently at home, you can lower your energy bills by more than 30%.

High heating bills are a major worry for most of the country yet hot everyone can install solar panels or take advantage of a wind turbine. There are many simple things every household can do to conserve energy and thus save money. Heat can account for as much as 38 percent of a monthly utility bill in a cold winter climate, and is about the same in a hot summer.

Even if you live in an apartment and don’t pay for water, you should still reduce your use, because you pay for it indirectly in taxes and higher costs as it becomes more scarce. Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators are relatively inexpensive and efficient.

It used to be that the refrigerator was the largest energy-suck in the home. Thanks to the dissemination of energy conservation facts and federal mandates, modern refrigerators now use moderate amounts of energy. You can cut back even further by choosing a top-freezer model and avoiding ice-makers.

WAYS TO REDUCE ENERGY COSTS

1) Lighting can account for 15 percent of your electric bill. Replace regular incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). A CFL uses 60% less energy than a regular bulb. The bulbs are continually improving, so that they are now softer and pleasant.

2) Get a home energy audit. Many utilities offer free home energy audits to find where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient.

3) Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer. Almost half of the energy used in homes goes to heating and cooling. a timed thermostat set at around 65 degrees will save lots of money. These thermostats automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning. There’s also no point heating or cooling a home when no one is in it. A properly set thermostat can save you $100 a year or much more on your energy bill.

4) No matter what the temperature, you will reduce costs if you Insulate and weatherize your home. Leaks around windows and doors suck heat and cold right out. Simple caulking and weather-stripping will take care of most of these problems. Insulating your walls and ceilings can save 25% of your home heating bill.

5) Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner so they rum more efficiently.

6) Turn off electronic devices such as a television, DVD player, stereo, computer, hairdryer, and cell phone chargers when you’?re not using them. Even when turned off, many of these things use energy so unplug electronics from the wall when not in use. Keeping electronics on standby mode is costing you more than $30 a year. Instead, plug everything into a surge protector and turn that off at the main switch when not in use. The energy used to keep display clocks lit and memory chips working accounts for 5 percent of total domestic energy consumption. Unplugging a computer every night can save up to $80 per year. Instead of charging a phone overnight, do so when you are still awake and unplug it when it’s done.

7) Buy energy efficient appliances. Look for the Energy Star label since they are the most efficient models.

8) Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket.

9) Only run your dishwasher when there?’s a full load and use the energy-saving setting.

10) Use less hot water by installing a low flow showerhead and washing clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot. It takes a lot of energy to heat water.

11) Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible.

12) Buy recycled paper products. They take less 70 to 90% less energy to make.

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