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A good time to check home energy usage

Courtesy BEC

October is National Energy Awareness Month, a national effort to underscore how central energy is to our national prosperity, security, and environmental well-being. So, what can you do to celebrate? Consider making a few easy energy efficient changes around your home.
• Replace incandescent bulbs around with more energy efficient CFLs or LEDs. CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last about 10 times longer. LED lamps offer similar savings and have an even longer life.
• Consider installing a programmable thermostat. In the winter, set it to 68. Program it to drop a few degrees when you are away and to kick on shortly before you get home. Heating an empty home is a waste of energy and money. For every degree you lower your thermostat you save about 2 percent off your heating bill.
• Where possible, unplug energy vampires like electronics. The Department of Energy estimates that the average U.S. household spends $100 per year to power devices while they are turned off but remain in standby mode.
• Turn off home office equipment when it is not in use.
• Set the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will still give you plenty of hot water for showers.
• Reducing air leaks from your home will cut down on uncomfortable drafts and could cut 10 percent from your household's monthly energy bill. The most common places where air escapes homes are around plumbing penetrations, fireplaces, doors, windows, vents and electrical outlets. Caulk and weather-strip all doors and windows.
• If your home has window air conditioners, cover them to prevent cold air from leaking into your home.
• Install low-flow showerheads and faucets.
You can also visit www.TogetherWeSave.com for tips on how making little changes around your home can add up to serious money in your pocket.