Q:

How do you save money on your electric bill?

A:

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To save money on electricity, install motion sensors or timers on lights, purchase Energy Star appliances, clean the dryer's lint trap, change the furnace filter regularly and clean refrigerator coils. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFL bulbs and unplugging electronics when they are not in use also decreases electricity costs.

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Utilizing smart metering programs can also save money on electricity. These programs offer decreased rates for electricity used during off-peak hours. Smart metering also allows the power company to shut off major appliances in homes for short times if the power grid is close to becoming overloaded. Since smart metering programs vary by area, it is best to contact a local power company for details.

If the home uses an air conditioner, perform basic maintenance every year to enhance its efficiency, including lubricating the motor, cleaning the unit and changing the filter. If the air conditioning unit is in direct sunlight, consider planting a shrub or tree nearby or installing an awning over it, as air conditioners in direct sunlight use 10 percent more electricity. To increase a water heater's efficiency, drain it, and flush out any sediment in the bottom. If the water heater is warm to touch, wrap it in an insulating blanket to avoid heat loss.

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