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Simple Ways to Reduce Energy Costs

Electricians and Energy Topics
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As energy costs continue to rise and demand for energy increases, finding ways to reduce energy costs is an on-going battle. However, there are a few simple things that can be done to help.

Set computers and other electronics to their power-saving mode: Instead of shutting down a computer (or leaving it on) when it is not being used, turn on the sleep, or hibernate function. Sleep mode allows computers to use less electricity during any periods of inactivity, while the hibernate function can be set to activate after a predetermined period of time. This allows a computer to enter an energy-saving state of inactivity that can be turned off without having to reload the computer. Using the hibernate mode is also faster than having to reboot the computer every time you need to use it.

Make sure appliances are functioning efficiently: Check to see if the door seals on refrigerators and freezers are working. Place a dollar bill between the door gasket and the frame. If it slides out easily, it is time to replace the gasket. Set the refrigerator temperature between 38 to 42 degrees and the freezer at 0 to 5 degrees. If you use a dishwasher, wash only full loads of dishes, use short wash cycles, and turn off the heating feature and allow the dishes to air dry in the washer.

Use water efficiently: A low-flow showerhead and a low flow flushing toilet can greatly reduce energy costs by as much as fifty percent by limiting the amount of water that is consumed in a household. Not only do low flow shower heads reduce the amount of water used, but the water reduction also reduces the amount of energy needed to heat that water, since less is being used. Be sure to properly insulate electric water heaters and pipes (but not gas water heaters).

Use high-efficiency appliances: In the United States, Energy Star is a joint government program between the EPA and Department of Energy that promotes energy-efficient appliances. Most appliances with an Energy Star rating consume two to ten times less electricity than less efficient appliances. Although the initial costs for these appliances may be higher, but the savings will be realized in the form of lower electricity bills. In addition, most energy-efficient appliances are of a higher quality and much less noisy than older versions.

Set the temperature and leave it: In the summertime, set the thermostat to 78 degrees or more. Be sure to close the blinds and shades during the daytime or whenever the air conditioner is running in order to avoid the loss of cool air. In winter, set the thermostat to 68 degrees or less during the day and 55 degrees before going to sleep or leaving the house unoccupied. If it seems too cold, wear a sweater or blanket instead of raising the heat. Better yet, install programmable thermostats for an even better way to reduce energy costs.

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