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Energy Efficiency

Celebrate National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

A few small changes can add up to big savings all year long

If you’ve resolved to spend less and save more in 2019, cutting back on a few regular expenses is a great place to start. January 10 is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, so we’ve rounded up a few of our best savings tips to help trim your electric bills without making major lifestyle changes.

Cut heating and cooling costs. A programmable thermostat is the place to start. It allows you to adjust the temperature when you’re out of the house, and many can learn (or be programmed to) your family’s patterns to know when it’s OK to move the temperature up and down without compromising comfort. And be sure to change filters frequently to keep your system clean and breathing freely.

Watch out for energy-draining appliances. Big appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers consume a lot of energy, so the next time you replace one of these appliances, upgrade to an energy-efficient Energy Star model. These units are designed to use much less energy than their older counterparts and often end up paying for themselves over time. Keep these appliances clean and well maintained to ensure optimal performance and efficiency.

Pull the plug. As we continue to be more and more “plugged in,” it should come as no surprise that we’re spending more on electricity to keep all of our devices charged and running. To keep costs reasonable, plug electronics into a power strip and turn it off when they’re not in use. Some newer power strips even include an auto shut-off feature for an added level of convenience, so there’s no excuse for wasted energy. Institute a weekly electronics-free family game night to make memories while trimming your electric bill.

Hit the lights. We all know to shut off the lights when leaving the room, but you also can make lightbulb swaps that increase energy efficiency. LED lights are the most efficient lighting available—and they last longer.

Downsize. Another easy way to conserve energy is to use small appliances such as microwaves, toasters or convection ovens. These smaller cooking appliances use one-third to one-half the energy of a full-size oven. Slow cookers are also a great option for savings.

Plan now for next December. The holidays are just behind us, which means many retailers will have discounted seasonal merchandise. Snag some marked-down LED strands to replace older, less efficient holiday lighting. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, over the course of 40 days, a strand of LEDs requires less than one-tenth the energy of incandescents over that same period.

Wipe out water wasters. Dripping faucets waste water—and electricity if it’s a hot water tap. Immediately repair any water leaks. To save more, take short showers instead of baths, and turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving. Run the dishwasher and clothes washer only for full loads to cut more costs.

Making just a few small changes can add up to big savings on your electric bill.