How To Cut Down On Energy Costs

Everyone wants to save money, right? But knowing where and when to cut corners can be difficult. So let’s start with energy costs.  Here are some great tips from MSN and Trulia for saving on energy costs this summer.

  • Check for holes. Letting cool air escape through those tiny cracks can cause higher energy costs. Make sure the insulation around your doors and windows is updated, and don’t forget to check the attic. Most hardware stores sell an inexpensive plastic film that helps insulate, but caulking and foam are good alternatives too. If you’re using a window-unit air conditioner, make sure that it is tightly secured in the window and that air isn’t escaping around it.

  • Shutting doors and vents of unused rooms to make sure that cool air is only going where you need it to.

  • Keep the shades down and curtains closed. Letting sunlight into the house is what creates a greenhouse effect and essentially turns your home into a personal sauna. Keeping light out makes it easier for your AC unit to cool your home. Long-term owners may also want to consider planting trees and bushes near the windows of your home.

  • Clean your filters. Air conditioning filters are supposed to be cleaned once a month. You can clean filters by running them under water until all dust and residue is gone and then letting them air-dry.

  • Program your thermostat to save you money. Programmable thermostats save money on energy costs by allowing the temperature to rise during the day when no one is home, and can save up to 30% in energy costs a year.

  • Avoid using the oven if at all possible. Using the oven is a surefire way to heat up your house quickly, so consider using your grill more in the summer, or use this as an excuse for takeout!

  • Upgrade appliances and systems. Small scale: compact fluorescent lightbulbs are more energy efficient than most other types and they generate less heat. Large scale: if you can afford to upgrade older appliances like your refrigerator, washer, dryer, or dishwasher, doing so can save you a lot of money in the energy department. Also, buying Energy Star approved appliances makes you eligible for a tax break at the end of the year.

  • Turn off your AC unit when the weather is bearable. On days that it feels like 100 degrees outside, you should obviously have your air conditioning running, but if it’s overcast or breezy one day and the temperature is below 75 or so, consider turning the AC unit off to save on energy costs.

  • Turn off or unplug electronic devices when you’re not using them. Using power strips allows you to easily turn your electronics on and off when needed, which can help to really reduce your energy costs. This is easiest to do by turning off lights when you aren’t home, unplugging things like your TVs, computers, toaster, and other electronics that don’t need to be plugged in while you’re away.

To read energy saving tips from MSN and Trulia, check out their sites!

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