Energy is a must. Whether we use it to power our lights and appliances or to heat/cool the house, energy is something that we absolutely must have, in most instances. The self- sufficient home that generates its own power from solar panels and recycles its own water is priced out of reach for most people, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a few simple changes right now to reduce our energy usage and costs. Here is a list of things anyone can do, right now, to cut energy costs with little effort and little or no expenditure:
Replace incandescent light bulbs– Incandescent light bulbs are much cheaper than fluorescent bulbs, but they consume multiple times more energy for the same brightness level. Compact fluorescent bulbs do cost significantly more, but the savings will be noticed immediately and the bulbs last much longer. They produce little heat and the energy savings easily pays for the higher cost of the bulbs in a short time.
Lower the temperature on your hot water heater– Hot water heaters are an energy hog and most families have the temperature set much higher than necessary. Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater down to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit and you will realize immediate energy savings.
Lower your home thermostat for heating or raise it for cooling– Adjusting the temperature on your heating/cooling thermostat can make a big difference. There is no need to go to extremes- just a small adjustment of about two degrees will make a noticeable difference in your utility bills without making anyone uncomfortable.
Unplug rechargeable appliances– Don’t leave your laptop computer, electric razor, or other appliance plugged in on a continuous basis. If the device is fully charged, pull the plug and use it until it needs charged again. Leaving these items plugged in continuously wastes energy.
Shop for a less expensive energy provider– If you happen to live in a state where the electricity is deregulated and you are free to choose your own service, make sure to periodically check for special offers and lower rates from competitors. Of all the items mentioned above, this one has the greatest potential to save money. A reduction in price from, say, 10 cents per kilowatt hour down to 8 cents per kilowatt hour will cut your electric bill by 20 percent- a savings greater than all of the above suggestions combined.
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