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Easy changes to save energy 

When looking at electric bills, many people focus on the total dollar amount of the bill. In trying to manage your energy costs, focus on energy use instead. While you don’t have control over the cost of the energy, you can control how much energy you use.

Start by setting some goals: instead of thinking about your bill in terms of dollars, think about it in terms of kilowatt-hours. A kilowatt-hour is the unit of energy used for most electric bills. Review your monthly kWh use and set goals to use less energy than the month before. Check your results on your next bill. 

Power off 

When looking for energy savings, remember that “off” is the most efficient setting. Turning off lights is a classic strategy, especially if your lighting is incandescent. Consider switching to energy-saving LED lightbulbs. 

Computers and gaming systems can waste energy even in sleep mode. The higher the wattage and the more hours the device is on, the more energy used. Laptops use the least energy, followed by personal computers. Gaming consoles typically use less energy than gaming PCs. Don’t forget to turn off the monitor as well. 

You can lower your energy use even more with smart power strips, which cut power to devices that are not in use. Installing smart power strips is an easy way to ensure devices are completely turned off and not drawing power. 

Adjust the temp 

When it comes to lowering your energy use, the settings on your thermostat are another great focal point. The closer you can keep the indoor temperature to the outdoor temperature, the more you will save. You want to protect your home from damage in extreme heat and cold, but if you can turn the temperature down a few degrees in winter and up in summer, you will save on energy costs. 

MIRANDA BOUTELLE writes on energy efficiency for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. 

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