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It can be frustrating to see our energy bills climb month after month. Costs for electricity and gas are constantly on the rise, and paying the monthly bill is becoming more and more difficult. There are some small changes you can make to decrease the amount of energy used in your home and reduce your overall energy consumption.

First, many people have replaced their standard incandescent light bulbs for the more compact and energy efficient fluorescent ones. These new fluorescent light bulbs can last up to ten times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. Furthermore, fluorescent bulbs use a fraction of the electricity that standard light bulbs use. It is amazing that such a small change can have such a significant impact on electrical consumption and costs.

Another thing you can do to reduce the amount of energy consumption in your home is set the water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The water will be hot enough for washing, while not enough to scald. Also check to see if your dishwasher has a water heating mechanism. If not, you may need to set your water heater to whatever temperature the dishwasher manufacturer recommends. Either way, a setting your water heater to a lower temperature can save a lot of money on energy bills. Even a couple degrees can have a significant impact on the overall energy consumption of your home.

Make sure you HVAC system is running as efficiently as possible. Your heating and air conditioning units should be serviced annually. A qualified HVAC contractor should perform the inspection and any maintenance that needs to be done. It is also important for you to change the furnace air filters regularly in order for airflow to be constant and clean. An HVAC unit that is properly maintained will run at its optimum energy efficiency. You may also want to change your thermostat settings by a degree or two. Turning the air conditioner up a degree or two in the summer will use significantly less energy and be reflected on your energy bills. Conversely, turning the heat down a degree or two in the winter will have the same effect. Just that small change in temperature can keep your HVAC system running efficiently and save you money.

Install ceiling fans for year-round use. Ceiling fans help improve air circulation in a room and can make the room feel significantly cooler. In the winter months, operating a ceiling fan in reverse direction helps circulate the warm top layer of air to the ground. Having ceiling fans installed helps the HVAC system do its job by not having to work so hard to cool or heat the home.

There are many other ways you can reduce energy consumption in your home. Getting started with these simple steps can put you on a path to lower energy bills and a greener lifestyle.