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Tips for Saving Energy (& $$$) this Holiday Season

Lower electricity costs and increase safety with LED holiday lights. LED technology (Light Emitting Diode) for holiday lighting is a smart choice. They use 10 times less energy than incandescent mini lights, 100 times less energy than standard bulbs, last more than 50,000 hours, and are safer because they’re virtually indestructible and cool—safe to the touch and eliminate fire concerns. They are easily strung and don’t overload a typical household electrical circuit. If a bulb burns out, other bulbs will stay lit, so you can easily replace the bad bulb.

Further maximize holiday lighting savings with timers. Limit light displays to no more than six evening hours daily. Leaving lights on 24 hours will quadruple your energy costs—and create four times the pollution. Also, untended incandescent lights can cause fires, so always unplug your interior holiday lights before going to bed or leaving the house.

Unplug the video games and turn off the millionth broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life – and read your favorite holiday story instead. Your children may appreciate your attention and time, and you will be saving energy in the process.

Teach personal finance to your children in these difficult economic times — conduct a home energy audit together. Locate everywhere that you are needlessly wasting energy AND money. Minor changes can capture precious dollars that could be better spent for other needs.

In the spirit of Kwanzaa—the African-American spiritual week of remembering, reassessing, recommitting, and rejoicing –reassess your power consumption, recommit to energy-efficient practices, and rejoice in the savings.

Once you’ve lit the Chanukah menorah, spin a dreidel by candlelight – it uses no energy! By the eighth night, you may not need any electric lights at all!

Switch to solar generated energy.  For as little as $1000 down you can move to solar energy for 2010.

Heat your home at 68 degrees or cooler with the thermostat fan switch on “auto.” To save even more, lower your thermostat to 65 degrees or cooler at bedtime or when you’re away from home. Don’t forget to wear cozy sweaters to stay warm!

Clean or change your A/C filter once a month. Many homes use strip heating in their air conditioning units, which have to work harder to heat the house. A clogged filter makes your A/C work harder than it has to.

Reduce hot water temperature. Set your water heater to the “normal” setting or 120 degrees, unless the owner’s manual for your dishwasher requires a higher setting.

Seal up leaks. Caulk leaks around windows and doors. Look for places where you have pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. Caulk works best on small gaps. Your hardware store should have products to close the larger gaps.