Simple ways to lower energy costs

Last updated: December 19. 2013 8:23AM - 254 Views

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DAYTON — Late fall and winter mean colder temperatures along with higher energy usage and bills for most homeowners.

Heating and cooling account for almost half of the energy used in most homes. There are many ways to reduce your bills, including by making simple changes around the house and by ensuring you’re paying the lowest cost for your energy. These tips can help:

Check your costs. The fastest way to reduce costs is to see if changing electric suppliers can save you money. The Dayton area has Ohio’s highest electric costs. Check www.switchonohio.com for options and an apples-to-apples cost comparison of your current supplier and other choices. An average homeowner can save $300 or more each year by choosing an alternate supplier compared with their local utility. These substantial savings can be used to help fund energy-saving improvements throughout your home.

Check windows for cold air leaks. The most cost-effective way to fix leaky windows is to seal the entire window with a layer of plastic during the winter. New heat-shrinking films are airtight and easy to see through, and are easy to install. Also, check around doors and at locations where utilities (like pipes, cables and wires) enter the home.

Ensure you have adequate insulation. Insulation effectively reduces energy use and keeps your home comfortable all year long. Check for sufficient insulation in exterior walls, roofs, ceilings and floors above cold spaces. In the attic, be sure to not walk on the insulation, which reduces its ability to insulate.

Keep outdoor air conditioning and heat pump units clear of weeds or other debris. Keeping these clear allows air to circulate freely, lowering bills and reducing service calls.

Change personal habits to conserve energy. Turning off lights when leaving a room and lowering the thermostat by a few degrees offers significant savings during the winter season.

For more information on how to save money visit www.dukeenergyretail.com/savings.

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