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Photo via Energy.gov.

Summer is upon us!  This means more time outdoors, perhaps more time at home as the kids will be out for vacation, putting away sweaters and blankets in the linen cabinet, and finally making use of the pool.  It also means the rise in temperatures will have us looking for ways to keep cool at home, without having sky-high energy bills.

Taking energy-saving measures isn’t as complicated as one might think.  Though one may think it’s just a small impact, with more and more people aware and proactive about reducing energy consumption, the effect can be tremendous.  Not to mention the impact you’ll have in decreasing your energy bill.  All these benefits provide incentive to take some time to incorporate these tips into your daily energy habits.

Here are some easy, little-to-no-cost suggestions to reduce energy at home:

energy_saving_bulb– Turn off all electricity such as lights, fans, computers, monitors, TVs and entertainment centers when no one is in the room.

– Use efficient lighting systems.  LEDs and compact fluorescent light bulbs do make a difference.  With a little more initial investment, you can install occupancy sensors to detect when no one is in a room to automatically turn the lights off.  This is especially convenient if you have kids at home, or perhaps a forgetful family member, and you’ll be saving much more in the long run.

– Use power strips for home electronics such as TVs and DVD players, as they still draw up energy when in standby mode.  Simply turn off the power strip when not in use, as keeping these on standby can increase your electricity bill by up to 8%.

– Use a programmable thermostat to auto-manage the heating and cooling systems efficiently.  During summer months, set the air conditioner to only switch on above 74-75°F.  Use a ceiling fan to allow you to raise the thermostat several degrees higher.  Turn off any fans when no one is in the room, as these don’t do much to maintain air temperature, but are only meant to help keep bodies cool when present.

Savannah Collections Luxury Furniture Henredon Baker furniture

Photo via Green Packs.

– Reduce the amount of time for showers, and if possible, use low-flow showerheads.  Avoid taking baths if not necessary.

– Check that all of your home’s windows and doors are closed when the air conditioning or heater is on.  Ensure any cracks are sealed.  Close the curtains and blinds to prevent heat gain from the windows.

– Wash only full loads when using the dishwasher, or doing laundry.  Air dry clothes whenever possible.

Consistently apply these energy-saving tips, and you may just have a pleasant surprise with your next month’s energy bill.  Although energy efficiency upgrades may be expensive in the beginning, the overall energy reduction and inevitable bill savings will offset any initial expenses.