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2012-03-01 11:02:56
How to Cut Utility Costs in Your Home

Tame energy costs with these strategies:


Keep it clean
Clean air filters monthly for central air and individual window or wall units.  Dirt and dust hinder air flow, reducing efficiency.

Seal up the house
Cooled air can leak through cracks along window and door frames. Invest in some
caulk and weather-stripping to plug up these drafts.  A home that's properly insulated and sealed improves energy efficiency by up to 20 percent year-round, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.  (Insulation materials are also eligible for the 30 percent energy efficiency federal tax credit, up to $1,500 for all improvements combined.)

Change light bulbs
Swapping incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent (CFL) can cut a home's electric bill.  Switching one incandescent for a CFL saves $35 in energy costs over the projected 10-year life of the bulb.  CFLs use less energy than conventional bulbs and also generate less heat.

Unplug
Cell phone chargers, microwaves and the like devour energy - and generate heat - as long as they're attached to power source.  Standby power for appliances not in use typically accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of residential electricity use.  Plug those devices into a power strip you can turn off when not in use.

 

 

 

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