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What’s the Use? Slaying Home Energy Vampires

If you’re looking for a simple way to make some quick cash, turn your focus to saving on energy costs at home. Many people don’t think of the impact of plugging another device into the electrical outlet at home, but over time, your home could be costing you hundreds of dollars a year more than necessary. Consider some of the following tips, and start putting that money back into your pocket.

1. Get Rid of the Phantom Load

Stereos, TVs, computers, and a number of other home electronics and appliances use energy when plugged in but not turned on. It’s estimated that this “phantom load” takes up almost 6 percent of your household energy consumption.’s help center explains that the typical household may spend $100 each year for this energy waste. Walk through your home, and identify any electronic devices that could be unplugged when you’re not using them. To make it easier, plug these items into a power strip so you can press one button to turn them all off at the same time.

2. Change Your Light Bulbs

The second easiest thing you can do is change out your inefficient light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) and LED lights are affordable and comparable the regular bulb option. This advanced lighting uses less energy, generates less heat and lasts longer than standard incandescent light bulbs.

3. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Unless your family can remember to turn the thermostat up and down throughout the day, a programmable unit is a good option. You program the thermostat to adjust the heating and cooling depending on the time of day. There’s no reason to heat or cool a house significantly if there are no people in it during the daylight hours. You can keep the house cooler at night and have the thermostat warm up the house before you get out of bed.

4. Upgrade Your Appliances to Energy-Efficient Models

When it’s time to replace major appliances, make sure to look for those with the EPA Energy Star label. These appliances have been tested and rated to use between 10 to 50 percent less energy. For example, according to Energy Star’s website, their star-rated refrigerator uses the same energy as a 60 watt incandescent light bulb continually left on.

5. Use Fans to Circulate the Air

A few inexpensive fans placed around the home will help to disperse the warm or cool air throughout the house. Many homes have hot spots where the air doesn’t circulate, so you turn the thermostat up or down to make the space comfortable. With the air moving throughout the house, you can keep the thermostat on a consistent temperature that makes the whole house feel comfortable. Ceiling fans can make a big difference year round. Setting them to pull the air up from the floor in the summer helps disperse the cool air that settles to the floor. The fans push air down from the ceiling in the winter to disperse the warm air that rises.

6. Create Your Own Shade

The Daily Green states that planting trees and shrubs around the house to produce some natural shade can be a real cost-saving activity. Your summer electric bill could be reduced by 40 percent with properly placed shade. You can beautify your landscape while making a big impact on your energy consumption.

How have you saved costs on energy use? Tell us in the comments!

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