Energy Bucks

10 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR ENERGY EFFICIENCY:

Maintaining an efficient heating system is an important step to conserving energy. Have your heating system serviced at least once every two years.
* For every one degree Fahrenheit you set your thermostat back, you can save 1-3% on your annual heating costs.
* Caulk, seal and weather-strip all seams, doorframes and openings to the outside to reduce air leaks. The biggest holes are most often found in the attic and the basement.
* Shut off heat to unused rooms and close the fireplace damper to seal air leaks.
* Make sure your attic, outer walls, ceilings and floors are all insulated to prevent heat escaping to the outdoors.
* Clean or replace filters on furnaces as directed by the manufacturer.

* Keep draperies and shades on windows that face south open during the day to let sunlight in. Close them at night to keep out the chill.
* Take showers instead of baths. Showers use 40% percent less hot water, but make sure you keep them short. A shower costs about 3 cents per minute if you have an electric water heater.
* Use toaster ovens and microwaves as much as possible. They use less than half the energy that ovens use.
* Turn off VCRs, stereos and TVs when not is use. Unplug them when you are away from home for any length of time.