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Save on Energy Costs

By Alexa Connelly
March 01, 2012

US households spend almost $2,000 a year on home utility bills, and pretty much everywhere you look around your home, you could be making savings – for example simply by lowering your heating thermostat overnight when you’re tucked up under the blankets. Pushing down your overnight thermostat setting so it’s 10 degrees lower than during the day can cut your heating bill by 10%. Reducing it one degree during the day will add further to the piggy bank.

You can also lower your water heater thermostat (120 degrees is recommended), while upping the temperature at which your air conditioning kicks in, installing a solar-power attic fan and using room fans instead of the whole AC unit. Other ways you can make energy saving in the home include:

  • Switching off lights in unused rooms, using feewer lights in rooms you are occupying, replacing old-style incandescent bulbs with the new fluorsecnt bulbs, and replacing low-power outdoor lighting with solar garden lights.
  • Switching off extrension leads and devices you normally leave in stand-by mode. Unless they’re disconnected, they’re using energy. What about computers? Turn them off if they’d be idle for more than two hours (and the monitor is off after 20)
  • Improving insulation. Drafts, single-pane windows, uninsulated attics, rood voids and wall cavities, all add to your heating bills. You can save up to the equivalent of two months’ worth of bills every year by having your home properly insulated.
  • Replacing appliances with energy-efficient alternatives. Most kitchen and laundry appliances (but not stoves) must have stickers showing where they rate on the energy usage scale and how much they cost to run. Compare different models and makes. Get more information, including details of available tax credits from the Government’s www.energystar.gov.site.
  • Reducing the amount of time and water used in showers and baths.
  • Visiting www.energysavers.gov where you can also download a fantastically useful 36-booklet crammed with energy sacing information (click on the “TIPS” link). Also available in Spanish. Or order from 1-800-472-4549

It’s a good idea to conduct your own informal energy audit of your home, going from room to room, inspecting appliances, insulation, lighting and thermostat settings, so you can identify the best opportunities to make big savings.

Being energy-wise is often a state of mind. It’s easy to overlook opportunities to save. There are two improtant things you can do that can make a big difference. First, post sticky notes by switches, appliances and in your car to jog memory. Second, and perhaps most important, educate others, especially children – you’ll be teaching them a valuable lesson for the rest of their lives.

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