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Easy ways to save on energy costs
Over the past year, we’ve all spent more time than usual at home—which may mean you’ve paid more attention to your utility bills than in previous years. If you’ve noticed a creep upward, here are some easy ways to help keep your energy costs down.
Use energy-efficient light bulbs—CFL and LED bulbs offer more energy efficiency than incandescent bulbs. CFLs are the more budget-friendly choice and use about 75 percent less energy compared with incandescents (LEDs use about 80 percent less energy but are still expensive to buy, although prices are coming down).
Use Energy Star-rated products—Those stickers you see on appliances have helped users save more than $30 million dollars on utility costs and reduce greenhouse gases. An Energy Star-rated appliance can cut bills for that product by 30 percent.
Change your furnace filter—Experts say you should change your furnace filter once a month. It will not only help extend the life of your furnace, it’ll lower energy costs. And as a bonus, the air quality in your home will be more comfortable for allergy sufferers and healthier for everyone.
Clean your dryer’s lint screen and duct—According to the Consumer Energy Center, a clogged lint screen can increase your dryer’s electrical use by 30 percent, or $25 a year. A blocked dryer duct will not only make your dryer less efficient, it’s a fire hazard. You should clean your lint screen after every load…and the duct yearly.
Unplug electronics when not in use—The Department of Energy estimates that when small electronics (toaster, coffeepot, etc.) are plugged in and turned off, they continue to suck an additional $100 worth of electricity per year. Unplug them when not in use or plug them into a power strip and turn off the strip until needed.
Close your curtains in the summer—Here’s a super-basic, super-easy tip to end on. In the summer, keep your curtains closed during the day to prevent the sunlight from heating up your home. This simple step can reduce incoming heat by as much as 30 percent.
When you were young and your parents yelled, “Turn off the lights when you leave the room! Is our name Edison?” they weren’t just being cranky. The fact is every little bit does add up…to bigger savings. Try some of these easy ideas for reducing energy costs and see if your utility bills don’t start inching downward.