Sometimes frugality can get a little out of hand, when we cut ourselves off from simple pleasures like our favorite latte at the mom and pop coffee shop we like to support.  But how mindful are we about things that could save us money in the long term, and not really put us out of our way?  Besides looking at purchasing the cheapest gas and electricity available. taking a look at reducing home energy costs is a great category for this kind of thinking.

Here are a few tips in this short (and useful) guide for reducing your energy costs at home.

Unplug What’s Not Needed

If you have any appliances that your seldom use, such as a second refrigerator in the garage or basement, unplug them. Your utility or electric bill may be $10 a month less.  Keep chargers unplugged until needed. In every home there are those little plastic devices used to charge digital cameras, cell phones, cordless tools, PDA’s and other gadgets. Unplug them to save energy.  Have your home theater equipment, televisions, and stereos connected to power strips and switch them off when not in use. Even when turned off, they continue to use the energy of up to a 100 Watt light bulb. Flip the power switch off.

Have Computers Set to Hibernate or Sleep

When you are not using your computer, have it set to sleep mode which uses less power during inactivity. Click on Control Panel to find management settings in Windows. For Mac PCs, find settings under system preference in Apple’s menu.  Set the computer to hibernate when inactive for 30 minutes. In the hibernate mode it will turn off in such a way that you will not have to reboot everything when you want to use it again. Save energy and time by having your computer hibernate instead of restarting each time. Shut down at the end of the day.

Control the Temperature in your Home

In winter, keep the thermostat set at 68 degrees or below during daytime hours and 55 degrees before bedtime of if you will be out all day. Set thermostat no lower than 78 degrees in summer.  Make use of sunlight. Leave blinds and shades open to the sunlight in the heating season. At night, close them to prevent heat loss through the windows. During summer, close blinds and draperies when air conditioning is in use.   You can purchase energy curtains or shades like cellular shades to help conserve heat in the winter, or keep rooms cooler in the summer.

Have your hot water temperature set from 120 to 130 degrees. You may run low on hot water, however, or use more to boost the hot water in the dishwasher. Wash dishes only when full.

Use Appliances More Efficiently

Keep refrigerator no lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Set freezer between 5 and 0 degrees.  Do not peek inside the oven more often than needed and do not preheat.  In the laundry, set washing machine to correct water level for the load size. Wash most things in cold water. Always use cold water to rinse.  Make sure your appliances have the best energy star ratings available, if possible.

We hope you found those simple tips above useful for energy cost reduction in your home.  Remember, just be mindful using this list and you can generate some serious savings in the long run, for things you really enjoy doing.

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