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If you’re spending more time at home, as well as accommodating more family members than usual under your roof, you may be seeing an increase in your utility bills. But don’t despair! There are several simple strategies you can implement to save on energy costs, even with a house full of people—just make sure everyone’s on board and follows suit!

1. Lower/raise your thermostat. Heating and cooling is typically a home’s biggest expense. If you’ve got the heat on, lower the thermostat by a couple of degrees, and do the opposite if you’re running the air conditioning—raise the temperature a degree or two. According to the Department of Energy, you’ll save about 3 percent for every degree you lower/raise…that adds up quickly! A programmable smart thermostat will make this a seamless process as you can set it to automatically readjust during certain times of the day.

2. Decrease oven usage. Don’t turn the oven on to cook a small meal or warm something up. Use a toaster oven, outdoor grill, slow cooker or microwave instead. When you do need to use the oven, avoid opening the oven door as much as possible; every time you do, heat is released and the cooking time is extended. Of course, the best idea of all, is to add a couple of cold dishes to your dinner schedule. Consider a weekly “sandwich night” or integrate some healthy but satisfying salad mains to your repertoire.

3. Don’t overtax the fridge. Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible by encouraging family members not to open the door for random perusing. Grab all the items you’ll need for a dish in one shot, instead of going back and forth. You’ll also save energy costs associated with your fridge by letting leftovers cool off on the counter before putting them away.

4. Maximize laundry time. There are a few tricks that will help you save on energy costs related to doing laundry as well. For instance, use the maximum spin time when you can to remove as much moisture as possible in order to cut back on drying time. You can also make your dryer more efficient by cleaning the lint screen to improve air circulation. Get in the habit of using the dryer sensor to let you know when clothes are done, as opposed to setting a specific dry-time.

Source: Consumer Reports

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