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5 Ways to Start Saving Energy Today

The old saying "never put off until tomorrow what you can do today" is as true for energy conservation as it is for anything else. Big projects, such as a furnace upgrade or adding insulation, can be expensive and may take some time to complete. However, there are a number of simple, low-cost measures you can take that will reduce your energy costs starting today.

1. Adjust the thermostat. Adjusting temperatures at night or when you're not at home to save on heating and cooling is one of the most effective ways to lower your energy bills. If you have a Wi-Fi programmable thermostat, you can program it to match your schedule or easily adjust temperatures remotely using your mobile device.

2. Change a lightbulb. Those old incandescent bulbs are burning up your energy budget, literally, wasting most of their energy as heat. High-efficiency LEDs use 75 percent less energy and last much longer. All it takes is a quick trip to your local retailer.

3. Cook up energy savings. When you make dinner tonight, think about how you're using energy. Cover pots and pans; food will cook more efficiently. Match pots and pans to the size of the burner and make sure the burners are clean. Heat foods in the microwave if possible; it's more energy efficient than using the stovetop or range.

4. Pull the plug. Many electronic devices continue to draw power when you're not using them. Unplug chargers when they're not charging anything. Also, pull the plug on electric devices in your home that get little use. Advanced power strips are a smart upgrade. They automatically cut power to devices not in use, while quickly powering them back up when you need them.

5. Air dry your laundry. Doing laundry? Why not air dry your clothes? You'll save on the cost to run the dryer and air drying will help keep your clothes looking new today, and tomorrow.

Take a closer look at your home and your lifestyle and you'll likely find more ways to save energy. Are lights left on in empty rooms? Do you really need that 20-minute shower? A few small changes could make a big difference.

Consider hiring a qualified professional to perform an energy assessment of your home. You'll get a targeted set of recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of your home and make it more comfortable.

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