Rachel Ray's 12 Ways to Save on your Electric Bill

No one enjoys opening their electric bill each month as energy costs continue to soar. Here are some easy tips - some you may have heard of, some not - that will help you save on your electric bill. Many tips do require small purchases but think of them as investments toward an energy efficient home.

Get a programmable thermostat. These devices (approximately $100) can save 20-30% on your bill. Program the heat to get cooler while you are sleeping and during the day if no one is home.

Buy energy star-rated units if you are in the market for new appliances. Refrigerators that are older then 15 years especially use a lot of electricity, so it may be time for a new one.

If you don't have en energy star dryer, reduce the dryer cycle time by up to 20 minutes by throwing 2 dry wash cloths in with the wet clothes in the dryer.

Skip the heat dry option on your dishwasher - if you buy a product like Jet Dry, you can just open your dishwasher door to dry the dishes without spots.

Use only cold washes for your clothes - you won't notice the difference and you will save money. Run a hot bleach load for whites occasionally if you must.

Unplug your electronics when not in use - even when turned off, if they are plugged in they are still draining electricity.

Ceiling fans not only cool in the summer but when you reverse fans in colder months, help distribute heat!

Ask your energy company for a free audit. They will list where you are using electricity inefficiently - leaky ducts, etc.

The fluorescent bulbs you keep reading about really are the way to go for lighting your home. They use up to 75% less energy and last 10 times longer. They may be more expensive than traditional bulbs up front, but they pay off down the road

Purchase an in expensive hot water jacket (about $10 at Home Depot) for your water heater.

Low flow faucet and shower heads provide significant savings. We have them in our house and while I griped initially, you get used to it - I promise!

Home improvements like sealing up leaks around windows and door frames and properly insulating your attic will provide significant savings in the long run.

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