Use energy more efficiently
Cut your energy consumption (and your fuel bills) by using less electricity, gas and oil.
Close your curtains. In the winter, shut them when the sun goes down to prevent the heat from escaping. In the summer, keep them closed during the day to avoid overheating the house.
Shut all windows and doors. When the air conditioner is running or the heat is on, make sure all your windows and doors are closed, including doors to closets and unused rooms so you don’t spend money to cool or heat them.
Put in compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). They use less energy and last up to 10 times longer than regular bulbs. You can find CFLs in hardware stores (look for the Energy Star seal of approval) for around $8 each.
Try rechargeable batteries. They cost more―about $4 a battery and $20 for a charger―but they also last up to five years longer than disposable batteries, which contaminate the soil and groundwater around the landfills where they end up. Rechargeable batteries are available in hardware or office supply stores.
Turn down your thermostat. During the winter, turn it down a few degrees. If you have central air conditioning, turn the thermostat up a few degrees in the summer.
Unplug your electronics. If they’re plugged in, computers and entertainment equipment draw electricity even when they’re turned off. In fact, about 75 percent of the electricity home electronics use is consumed while they’re not even on. If they are plugged into one power strip, you can “unplug” with just one flick.