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Ways To Save Energy At Home. Simple Energy Saving Tricks.

Compact fluorescent bulbs are among the top six ways to lower your electricity bill.

Here are the top six ways to lower your electricity bill today.

When it comes to saving money and the environment, electricity  use in the home is one of the easiest places to start.

According to studies done by the Department of Energy, the average sized American home uses about three times more energy than homes of the 1960's. The reasons for this are many, including larger home size,  but an explosion in the number of electronics and plug in gadgets are the main cause. Also, thanks to central air and heating, we now expect our homes to remain a constant temperature year round.

We expect all this year round comfort, but many homes that were built in earlier times simply do not have enough insulation. Even those homes  built more recently may still be needing additional sealing and weatherproofing to be fully efficient.

Top Way To Reduce Your Electricity Bill #1. Lights

To start saving energy in your home you can begin with the easy things. You can replace all of your bulbs with compact fluorescents in an hour or two. There are now compact fluorescent bulbs which produce whatever shade of light you prefer, from bright white to soft white. There are even yellow bug lights, and CF bulbs come in every size and shape, including those mini lights used in chandeliers and small lamps. 

By replacing all of your bulbs with compact fluorescent ones, you can expect to lower your home electricity bill up to 7%. If you want the ultimate in energy efficiency, convert your lights to LED ones. For more about how much money LED lights save vs. CFL and incandescent, see: LED Bulb Advantages

Top Way To Lower Your Energy Bill #2. Programmable Thermostats     

  Example Of Energy Saving Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is a great way to save up to 50% on your heating and cooling bill. The newer ones are easy to use and program, and if you work away from home on any kind of a regular schedule they can really make a difference in your electricity bill. Since heating and cooling accounts for over half of your electricity use, expect to save as much as 25% overall.

How to use a programmable thermostat: For example, if you and your spouse are away from home roughly from eight in the morning until four in the evening, you can set the programmable thermostat to allow the home to get warmer in the summer while you are gone or cooler in the winter, then to start to cool off or heat up just before you come home. For those areas where electricity costs vary by time of day you may save more money with a programmable thermostat, by warming or cooling the house more during certain off peak times.

Top Way To Cut Your Electricity Bill #3. Insulate The Water Heater      A Water Heater Insulating Jacket.

Installing a hot water heater jacket is one of the top ways to cut your electricity bill without spending a lot of money. For the modest sum of about twenty to thirty dollars, you can buy an insulating jacket for your hot water heater. Even the most efficient hot water heaters loose much of their heat through their metal exterior. You can expect to save up to $100 per year simply by installing a hot water insulating blanket. That's not to shabby for something that costs so little to purchse. If you are ready for a new hot water heater and have natural gas or propane, consider an on demand hot water heater, such as those made by a Rinnai. These demand water heaters only work when you need them, and can save a homeowner up to a third or more on their hot water heating costs. Hot water heating can account for  as much as one fourth of your electricity bill, if you use an electric hot water heater.

Top Ways To Cut Your Electricity Bill #4. Insulate and Cool Off The Attic      Rolls of Radiant Barrier Insulation.

One of the top ways to reduce your electricity bill in summer is to cool off your attic. During the summertime, your home gains much of its heat from the ceiling, through transfer from a hot attic. One of the best ways to solve this problem is to add more insulation. Blown-in insulation is one of the easiest ways to insulate an attic. Cellulose insulation is a "green product" since it is made of recycled newspaper and it is fire and bug resistant since it has been treated with the natural mineral borate. Radiant barrier insulation, such a the product "Reflectix" can also help keep your attic cooler by reflecting radiant heat from your hot roof.  Radiant barrier insulation can be easily added to your attic by stapling it between the rafters up against the underside of the roof.  See related article: Radiant Barrier Insulation

Adding a solar powered attic fan can help get hot air out of the attic.  See article: Solar Powered Attic Fans

Top Ways To Reduce Your Electricity Bill #5. Stop Window Heat Transfer      Energy Saving Solar Screens On A Home

Among the top ways to cut your electricity bill is to cut the heat gain from your windows in summertime and also reduce heat loss through them in  winter.

As much as a quarter of your home's heat load comes through windows, according to the Energy Star website.

If you cannot afford new, double pane, insulated windows you can seal the ones you have and add insulated drapes that cover the entire window. To cut down on summer heat gain, consider adding solar screens that block up to 80% of the sun's heat from hitting the glass. These run in the neighborhood of around eighty bucks per window. To save money you can just install them on the windows that get the most sun.

If you live in a cold climate, the simple act of repainting your home a few shades darker in color can reduce your heating costs by allowing your home to absorb more solar energy. Likewise, in warm climates, painting the home a shade of white can significantly reduce cooling costs. Which way to go depends on your climate.

Top Ways To Reduce Your Energy Bill #6. Vampire or Phantom Loads     Example Of A Phantom Load, Satellite TV Box Draws 40 Watts When Off.

See "How Much Do Phantom Loads Cost Us?"

According to the DOE, vampire loads or phantom loads, caused by  appliances and devices that appear to be off, but are still drawing power, account for over three billion dollars or seven percent of U.S. electricity use. If seven percent of your home energy bill is wasted due to phantom loads, then getting rid of them is definitely a good way to reduce your home electricity bill.

To find these energy wasters, use a device such as the Kill-A-Watt  power meter to find  how much energy each appliance in your home is using when dormant, then put those things on a power strip that you can turn off. The simple act of putting your entire entertainment center's electronics on a power strip and turning it off when you are not using it, can save as much as $300 a year. Look around your home and determine if you really need to have all the things plugged in that are using energy while dormant. If you have a second fridge in the garage, unplug it. It won't kill the weekend mechanic to have to walk into the house to get a cold beer from the kitchen. Put things such as garden water fountains on a timer or switch, so it they are not running when all the time. Look around your home, chances are that even in the greenest of homes there are still some ways to cut the electricity bill further. 

When it comes to TV accessories such as DVD players and computer peripherals such as printers and scanners, there is no need for them to be on when your computer or TV is not being used. A smart power strip, or "smart strip", turns these devices  off when your computer does not need them. Smart strips typically have a couple "always on" outlets for modems, etc.

By lowering your thermostat and installing a programmable one, insulating windows and doors, installing compact fluorescent lights and other measures as described above you should be able to dramatically cut your electricity bill throughout the year.

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