Higher fuel costs will likely lead to higher utility bills for homeowners across the U.S. this summer. But improving your home's energy efficiency can be as simple as kicking a few bad habits and starting a few good ones:
- Take more showers. Showers typically use less water than baths. You can save additional money by installing water-saving shower heads. This helps lower your heating bills by using less energy to heat less water.
- Run your heat-generating appliances - i.e., washers, dryers and ovens - during the cooler hours of the morning or evening. That eases the load on your air conditioning system in the summertime and actually helps heat your house during wintertime.
- Clean your dryer's lint filter after every load. Whenever possible, wait until you have a full load of clothes before washing and drying.
- Use the right stovetop burner for the right pan size to avoid wasted energy. Keep in mind that a flat-bottomed pan makes better contact and conducts heat more efficiently from the burner's element than a pot with a warped or round bottom.
- Think about switching out your old incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs emit roughly four times as many lumens per watt as an incandescent bulb - for example, a 25-watt fluorescent bulb provides as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb. Yet fluorescent bulbs last about ten times as long as incandescents.
- Set your thermostat a little higher than usual this summer - many experts recommend a setting of 78 degrees Farenheit.
- Keep the drapes and curtains closed on the sunny side of the house to block out all that excess heat.
- Use an exhaust fan to pull excess heat and humidity from warmer areas of the house, such as the bathroom and the kitchen.
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