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Lower Your Home Electricity Bill

Here are some tips from EcoMedia for saving electricity, which in turn could help you lower your electricity bill.

Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) - Change the six bulbs you use most in your house to compact fluorescents. CFLs are 80 percent more efficient than conventional bulbs. Each CFL will keep half a ton of carbon dioxide out of the air over its lifetime. And while compact fluorescents are initially more expensive than the incandescent bulbs you may be used to using, they last ten times as long, and replacing six bulbs can save you an average of $36 per year in electricity costs.

Turn off the lights - Turn off lights and other electrical appliances such as televisions and radios when you're not using them. This is a no-brainer, but it's surprising how many times we forget. Install automatic timers for lights that people in your house frequently forget to flick off when leaving a room. Use dimmers where you can. The same goes for any outdoor lights. Don't leave outdoor security lights on all night or during the day. Install a timer or sensor.

Buy energy-efficient products - When buying new appliances or electronics, shop for the highest energy-efficiency rating. Look for a yellow and black Energy Guide label on the product. This compares the energy use for that model against similar models. New energy-efficient models may cost more initially, but have a lower operating cost over their lifetimes. The most energy-efficient models carry the Energy Star label, which identifies products that use 20-40 percent less energy than standard new products. According to the EPA, the typical American household can save about $400 per year in energy bills with products that carry the Energy Star. Did you know your refrigerator typically accounts for up to 20 percent of your electric bill? On the average, new refrigerators and freezers are about 75 percent more efficient than those made 30 years ago, so investing in a state-of-the-art refrigerator can cut hundreds of dollars from your electric bill during its lifetime. Find the most efficient electronics and appliances in the U.S. at Top Ten USA, a nonprofit that identifies the best of the Energy Star products.

Unplug seldom-used appliances - Do you have an extra refrigerator in the basement or garage that contains just a few items? You may save around $10 every month on your utility bill by unplugging it.

Unplug your chargers when you're not charging - Every house is full of little plastic power supplies to charge cell phones, PDA's, digital cameras, cordless tools and other personal gadgets. Keep them unplugged until you need them, even if they're not in use (as they're still sucking energy), and you'll save on your annual energy bill.

Use power strips - Use power strips to switch off televisions, home theater equipment, and stereos when you're not using them. Even when you think these products are off, together, their "standby" consumption can be equivalent to that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously. With several electronics plugged into a power strip, you can turn everything off at once with the flip of a switch. Also, most power strips double as a surge protector.

Use sunlight wisely - During the heating season, leave shades and blinds open on sunny days, but close them at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows. Close shades and blinds during the summer or when the air conditioner is in use or will be in use later in the day.


The content above was provided by EcoMedia - A CBS Company.


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