20 Ways to Cut Energy Bills

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Heating and Cleaning

7. Think you can't air-dry your clothes when the snow's falling? Indoor drying racks let you do just that, allowing you to keep the dial on your clothes dryer in the "off" position -- and eliminating a major electricity drain.

8. Twenty degrees or lower outdoors? Not a good time to use the fireplace -- you'll lose more heat up the chimney than you'll generate.

9. For a wood-burning fireplace or stove, try to chop logs to a diameter of from 4 to 6 inches. This increases the surface area exposed to the flame, so the fire will burn more efficiently and create more heat.

10. Install "furnace filter alarms," which make a whistling sound when they sense that the filters are dirty. Clean filters help your furnace run most efficiently.

11. Investigate a variable-speed direct-current motor to replace your furnace's regular motor. By pushing heat produced by the furnace throughout your house, a variable-speed motor lets your furnace operate on a lower fan speed 90 percent of the time, reducing electricity costs.

12. Buy a programmable thermostat, which automatically lowers the temperature when you don't need as much heat, such as at night when everyone's sleeping. According to Energy Star, the average household can save about $150 a year with this fix.

13. Consider making landscaping changes. Well-positioned deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter, allowing more sunlight to heat your home. They're just as beneficial in the summer, providing shade that cuts cooling costs.

Continued on page 3:  Upgrades, Fixes, and General Tips

 

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