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Save Energy Without Investing A Dime

It’s easy to walk over and bump the thermostat down during the dog days of summer to try and beat the heat. However, as most people already know, using more energy to stay cool is also more expensive. With recent high temperatures, everyone has been looking for ways to beat the heat without opening their wallet.

What most people seem to forget is that we have power over our electricity use. There are several free things people can do to cut energy costs without investing a dime. These tips might not pack as big of an efficiency punch as upgrade investments, but in this economy, every little bit counts! Try using these tips the next time you’re tempted to touch the thermostat:

  1. Avoid using large household appliances and equipment that create additional heat inside your home during the hottest portion of the day.
  2. Heating water takes up 12 percent of your home’s energy use. Set your water heater temperature no higher than 120°F. For households with only 1 or 2 members, a 115°F setting works.
  3. Drain 1-2 gallons from the bottom of your water heater each year to keep sediment from building up and making your equipment work harder.
  4. Since hot water costs more, wash clothes in cold water unless clothing is very dirty and only run full loads of laundry. If you must do smaller loads of laundry, adjust the water level in the washing machine to match the load size, especially when using hot water.
  5. Minimize clothes drying time and avoid drying clothes during the heat of the day to avoid additional heat in your home. When you do dry clothes, dry consecutive loads to harvest heat remaining in the dryer from the previous load.
  6. Limit shower length to 5-7 minutes and don’t let water run while you are shaving or brushing your teeth.
  7. Set your thermostats to 78°F during summer months.
  8. Have ceiling paddle fans? Run them on medium to blow cool air down in the summer. Better air circulation will keep your HVAC system from working overtime.
  9. Don’t make your fridge work too hard—clean your refrigerator coils every year and make sure gaskets around the door seal tightly. You can also set the temperature between 34°-37°F and leave the freezer between 0°-5°F. Keep the freezer full—frozen food helps your freezer stay cool.
  10. When cooking, keep the lids on pots to help foods cook faster. Let hot food cool off before placing it in the refrigerator and use your microwave for cooking when possible.
  11. Check your furnace or air conditioner (AC) filter each month and clean or replace it as needed. Dirty filters block airflow through your heating and cooling systems, increasing your energy bill and shortening the equipment’s life.  When heating or cooling, keep windows locked.
  12. During hot months, keep window coverings and shades closed on the south, east, and west windows of your home to keep excess heat out.

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