7 Simple Ways to Reduce Energy Bills ...

Energy costs can soar during the winter and summer months, however, there are practical ways to reduce energy bills. Like most people, you probably have a monthly budget or spending plan. This spending plan takes into account common expenses, such as your housing, transportation, food, entertainment and utilities. Sometimes, you may not have enough cash to make ends meet, and you have to cut back in certain areas. If high energy costs have you singing the blues, here are seven ways to reduce energy bills.

1. Inspect Your HVAC Unit

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If you need ways to reduce energy bills, start by having your HVAC system inspected by a professional heating and air company. Problems such as poor ventilation or leaky ducts can increase your energy costs by as much as 20%. Inspections are relatively cheap - they cost around $50. With a properly working unit, you can save on energy each month.

2. Get a New Thermostat

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If you’re not home during the day, there is no reason to have your heat or air conditioning on full blast for several hours. There is a better approach. Purchase a programmable thermostat and you can reduce your energy bill by as much as $180 a year. Program the unit to turn off when you're not home, and then set the unit to turn back on about an hour before you come home.

3. Buy New Appliances

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Maybe you’re in the market for a new refrigerator or dishwasher. If so, purchase energy-efficient appliances. Granted, this might result in a more expensive purchase. However, you can reduce your energy bill in the long run. And with energy-efficient appliances, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit.

4. Seal up Cracks

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Cracks or breaks around your windows, doors, electrical outlets and chimney can create a steady draft of cold air. This draft makes your heat work harder, thus increasing your energy bills. Use weatherstripping to close gaps around your doors and windows, and seal cracks in the wall with caulk. Improving the installation of your house can reduce your energy costs by as much as 20%.

5. Purchase Different Light Bulbs

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Incandescent light bulbs use a lot of energy. However, compact fluorescent bulbs and LED light bulbs use less energy. This reduces your energy cost. What's more, these light bulbs have a longer lifespan. With a 10-year life, you also save money on bulb replacement.

6. Close Your Blinds

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You may prefer natural sunlight, but in the summertime, this light can raise the temperature inside your home. Use fans and close your blinds during the heat of the day. This approach helps your home maintain a comfortable temperature. Plus, it reduces the amount of energy your air conditioning uses.

7. Unplug Electrical Items

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Electrical devices use energy as long as they’re attached to a power outlet - even in the off mode. Unplug certain items after use to save on energy. This can include your cell phone charger, your microwave oven, your radio and lamps. This can reduce your energy bills by 5% to 10%.

No one is thrilled to receive a high electric bill. And if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, a higher than normal bill can cripple your finances. Put the above suggestions into play and you'll notice a significant difference in your bill. What steps have you taken to lower your energy bills?

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