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How to conserve electricity

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Energy-saving light bulb
Switching your light bulbs will save electricity
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Use these tips how to conserve electricity and reduce your power usage

The costs of wasting energy can be huge, both for the environment and for your wallet. The cost of energy often increases over time, especially for residents of large cities.

As you see your bills creeping up, don't sweat it--use these tips to learn how to conserve electricity. With countless new energy-saving products available, it's easier than ever to lower your bill.

Energy STAR

One thing to look for when shopping for large appliances is the Energy STAR logo. Products with this blue logo must meet specific standards for conserving electricity, and they can bring your energy bill down considerably.

Next time you go shopping for a washer, dryer, refrigerator, or dishwasher, select one with this logo to save power.

Programmable Thermostat

Using a programmable thermostat is another simple way to conserve electricity. In fact, using a climate control thermostat can save you $180 in the course of a year. 

These units allow you to program the temperature for times when you are away from home, which helps use minimal electricity while you are away for the day or on vacation. For example, you can set your air conditioning to bring the temperature way up during the day, but then to cool off right before you return home.

Light Bulbs

A very easy way to save electricity is to use energy-saving light bulbs, which not only cut down on power usage, but last tens of thousands of more hours than traditional bulbs. These have been around for years, but they are much less expensive now.

Like traditional light bulbs, they come in a large range of sizes, shapes, wattage, and colors. Two types of energy-friendly bulbs exist: fluorescent and LED. According to the Department of Energy, "Replacing regular light bulbs with LEDs could potentially save 190 terawatt-hours annually--the equivalent of lighting over 95 million homes."

Windows

In the warmer seasons, turn off your air conditioning and open your windows to bring in a natural breeze. If you don't have screens on your windows, be sure to install them to prevent insects from flying in.

Conversely, if the temperature is very hot outside and the sun is beaming, keep your drapes closed as much as possible, especially mid-day. If possible, select insulated or black-out drapes to add to the energy savings. This helps your house stay cooler and not use as much electricity to keep the temperature down.

Solar Power

If you want to find additional ways to cut back, consider using solar energy. This technology is still in its infancy for residential homes and can be pricey, so converting your whole home to solar power is not reasonable for most people. Instead, buy smaller items that use solar energy, such as a solar-powered floodlight for your home.

Unplugging

Whenever you are done using an electrical device such as a toaster, hair dryer, or printer, unplug it from the outlet. Some products don't completely shut off and use something called "phantom power," which allows them to start back up quickly. While the amount of electricity they suck is small, it can add up over time.



If you prefer not to unplug devices all the time, one option is to use a power bar that can turn them off completely whenever you choose (perfect for overnight or if you plan to go out of town).

While some of these tips involve buying new products, there are some easy ways to conserve power without spending a dime. Once you start using these new products or strategies, keep tabs on your energy bill each month and look closely to see if you start notice any changes. Don't forget to keep seasonality in mind, as your electricity usage will diminish in winter months if you use gas for your heating.

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