smart spending

5 ways to slash home energy bills

Switch to energy efficient light bulbs and appliances
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Trade in standard incandescent light bulbs for more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.

"Every light bulb in your home should be replaced," according to John Porterfield, a residential energy analyst and energy auditor in Oak Park, Ill.

You should be more discriminating about swapping out older appliances for more energy-efficient counterparts.

"In most cases, replacing a perfectly good, working appliance will not save enough energy to pay for the replacement," Harley says.

"But when you are looking to replace the worn-out units that are near the end of their life, the added cost of the efficient appliance compared to a standard unit typically pays for itself in just a couple of years."

Look for the Energy Star logo when buying an appliance. The Energy Star Web site has listings for most types of appliances that include energy ratings.

"Even within the available Energy Star products, some can be much more efficient than others," Harley says.

SAVINGS: Harley estimates that replacing all standard light bulbs with CF bulbs and all appliances (washer/dryer, refrigerator) with Energy Star-qualified models would save the average family between $100 and $500 a year on electric bills.




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