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Many households could save 20-30 percent on their household energy bills by implementing energy efficiency improvements Typically appliances are responsible for about 20% of your energy bills. Refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, dryers Hot water heaters, dishwashers, and ranges and ovens are the primary energy-using appliances in most households. Some simple tips for keeping down your power bill. In the Winter/Summer. Computers, Monitors & TVs: These units are ravenous users of energy. Some even use energy even when they are turned off.

Turn off all equipment every night, especially monitors and printers.

Consider attaching all electronic devices in a room into one power strip: simply switch off the power strip after shutting down your computer to shut down unused electronic devices. During cooler months, keep the draperies and shades on your south exposure open in the daytime, to allow the sunlight to enter and provide warmth, Conversely, in the hotter months, close them. Vacuum the return air ducts in walls and ceilings. Change air filters every six months.

If you do not have energy efficient windows, install exterior or interior storm windows, which can reduce heat loss through the windows by 25%-50%. Ideally, the windows feature weather stripping at moveable joints; strong, durable materials; and interlocking or overlapping joints. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows that leak air. Bright Idea Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFLs) bulbs, this is a great $avings place to begin. A little at a time. The $avings is significant. They use to 60% less energy on average and last about 10 times longer than incandescent lights. note: Incandescent bulbs do not put our heat, as do conventional bulbs, so do not use for winter protection of pipes, etc. Homes that incorporate these features not only use less electricity, but also stay cooler in the summer because less heat is being generated by lights. Light bulbs also create uneven heat loads in your home, which makes constant and even temperature control harder to achieve. Rely on natural lighting by opening blinds and shades. Turn off lights when you leave the room. In the Bathroom & Laundry room: Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. Ideally use your clothes dryer after 9:00 PM, Turn off kitchen, bath and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after cooking or bathing. Utility Room/Appliances: Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater; 115 degrees is comfortable for most users. Make sure your appliances and heating and cooling systems are properly maintained. Check manuals for maintenance frequency.

Clean or replace filters on furnaces every three months, or more often, if necessary.

Older appliances which are not energy efficient are even worse at wasting energy. When replacing your appliances, make certain to purchase appliances that are "Energy efficient"

In the Living room: Keep your fireplace damper closed with it is not in use. (Tip: place a colored ribbon on the handle, so you know what position it is in) If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue. In the Kitchen: Use a microwave oven or a toaster oven when cooking smaller meals instead of using a conventional electric range or oven. Vacuum the coils of your refrigerator regularly. Refrigerators consume a high amount of energy, and a routine coil cleaning can keep them running at their most energy efficient levels. Landscaping: A well-designed landscape not only can add beauty to your home but it also can reduce your heating and cooling costs. On average, landscaping for energy efficiency provides enough energy savings to return an initial investment in less than 8 years.

Properly selected and placed landscaping can provide excellent wind protection, or windbreaks, which will reduce heating costs considerably. Furthermore, the benefits from these windbreaks will increase as the trees and shrubs mature.

Basically, a windbreak can lower the wind chill near your home. Wind chill occurs when wind speed lowers the outside temperature. For example, if the outside temperature is 10°F (-12°C) and the wind speed is 20 miles per hour (32 kilometers per hour), the wind chill is -24°F (-31°C). A windbreak will reduce wind speed for a distance of as much as 30 times the windbreak's height. But for maximum protection, plant your windbreak at a distance from your home of two to five times the mature height of the trees. more...

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