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Energy Saving Tips for Your Home

The rising costs of food and energy mean that many families are trying to save money. While some methods of saving money, such as refinancing your home, can be drastic, there are plenty of small things you can do to save money on what is probably one of your biggest expenses, your electric bill. These are ten tips that can help reduce this monthly expense.

1. Start by turning off light bulbs and appliances when they're not being used. While this seems to be standard advice, it is estimated that 40% of a typical energy bill is for items that are not being used, but still consuming electricity.

2. Check and replace the weather stripping around your doors and windows. Weather stripping can wear out and become damaged over time, so it is necessary to do this check at least once a year. Weather sealing kits cost less than $20 at most hardware stores, are easy to use, and you'll typically see your money back within a month or two.

3. Quit using your dryer. It's estimated that an electric dryer will add about $25 a month to an electric bill. In the summer, the dryer will produce heat that your air conditioner will then have to work more to cool down, driving your bill up even more. If the weather is warm outside, use a clothesline.

4. Unplug the TV, or at least connect it to a power strip that can be easily switched off when the TV is not being used. It is estimated that large screen televisions will increase a typical electric bill by about 10%. About 40% of this power is being used when the television is plugged in but not actually switched on.

5. Consider setting the thermostat on your air conditioner a few degrees higher. Raising the temperature of a house from 72 to 78 degrees can save a homeowner or renter about 15% off their electric bill. If you don't like the idea of raising the temperature of your house so much all at one time, move the thermostat up one degree a week. Every degree you go up can save about 2% off an electric bill.

6. Purchase a programmable thermostat. They cost around $75, and they aren't too hard to install yourself. Set the air conditioner to keep the house at about 82 degrees when everyone is at work and school. This alone can help a family to save about 20% on its electric bill. Keeping the temperature steady will ensure that electronics will not be damaged by the temperature extremes that a house can experience when an air conditioner is simply turned off. Best of all, your family will never notice the difference.

7. Adjust the thermostat on your water heater. Heating water is the second biggest user of energy in a house (heating and cooling air is the first). Setting your thermostat a few degrees cooler will save you money, and it's safer if you live with small children.

8. Think about turning off your heating and cooling system at night. Open windows if the house is too hot, or consider electric blankets if the house is too cold. There's no point in heating and cooling so much space at night when no one is using it.

9. Keep up with regular maintenance on your heating and cooling system, water heater, and other appliances. Replacing filters regularly helps any system to operate more efficiently. Have an HVAC technician check your heating and cooling system at least once a year, and get it cleaned regularly. You should clear weeds and other debris from around the outside air conditioning unit regularly. Inefficient air conditioning systems, electric dryers, and water heaters can raise an electric bill nearly 10%.

10. Buy a jacket for your water heater. Wrapping your water heater in an insulating jacket costs only a few dollar and takes minutes, but it can improve the efficiency of your unit by up to 35%.

Saving money by lowering your utility bills is a smart and easy way to free up cash to pay for other expenses or pay off debt. Try any of these suggestions and see how much you can save. Take the extra funds and put them away for an emergency fund like a savings account.