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October is Energy Awareness Month

Just as some foods contain hidden calories - so you gain weight without intending to cheat on your diet - you could be using electricity when you don't need or want to. The solution: Survey every electric appliance, plug and light fixture in your home or business to learn whether you're using them in the most efficient way.


Here's how to start:


  • Lightbulbs - Although few incandescent lights (the traditional bulbs) are for sale in stores any more, you might still have a few stragglers in lamps or ceiling fixtures. Replace them with CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) or long-lasting LEDs (light-emitting diodes).


  • Unoccupied rooms - Get your family and co-workers in the habit of turning lights off when they leave a room (unless it's a safety hazard). Don't leave porch lights or landscape lighting on during the day. Install times, photo cells or occupancy sensors that will turn lights on and off.


  • Thermostat - Install a programmable thermostat that will kick the heat up in the morning right before you wake up; scale it back when everybody leaves; crank it back on when it's time for the family to return home and ease it lower at bedtime. Many businesses and schools already use programmable thermostats to regulate temperatures throughout the day and save money.


  • Windows - Caulk around windows, electrical outlets and the points where cables and pipes come into the house.


  • Insulation - Over time, attic and slab insulation can diminish or fall away from the surface it was meant to protect. Check your insulation at least once a year and add or replace it as needed.


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