10 Simple Ideas To
Cut Your Energy Bill

With energy costs on the rise, here are 10 ways to simply improve your home's energy efficiency.


Programmable thermostat

Purchase a programmable thermostat (Walmart, $150) and set your temperature to go up while you are away or asleep during the summer and down while you are away or asleep during the winter. By simply setting your thermostat down (or up) you can save hundreds of dollars a year.


Weather stripping and caulking

Weatherstripping and caulking

Ensuring that your windows are properly caulked and your doors have good weather stripping (The Home Depot, $7) can help keep cold drafts and warm air from seeping into your home. And thankfully, this is a quick, inexpensive DIY you could complete in less than a weekend!


Unplug appliances

Stand mixer

When you are not using appliances, especially in the kitchen, unplug them. If you only use your stand mixer (Bed Bath and Beyond, $450) once a week, for example, there is no reason for it to be drawing energy 24/7, so get in the habit of unplugging appliances when you are done.




If you have the money, replace your windows with energy efficient windows. But if you don't, consider adding a storm window (Lowe's, $109) to your existing windows as an added layer of protection from winds and drafts.


Switch out your light bulbs

Light bulbs

Change your incandescent light bulbs out for CFL's (compact fluorescent lamps). CFL's (The Home Depot, $7) are better than they used to be. Plus, the bulbs will last for years.




Especially if you have an older home, spending a little money and time to add extra insulation (Ace Hardware, $41) in your attic space can end up saving you money in the long run.


Energy Star appliances

LG refrigerator

Upgrading your appliances to Energy Star appliances, like this LG refrigerator (Sears, $3,200), can save a bundle on energy every year. Also consider replacing other appliances like your stove, dishwasher, water heater, A/C unit, heater and even washer and dryer with Energy Star appliances. Not only will you save on energy, but many states offer rebates on new Energy Star appliances to help defray your initial cost.


Lower the thermostat

water heater

Lower not only your home thermostat, but also your water heater thermostat (Lowe's, $285). A water heater set higher than 120 degrees wastes a lot of energy and also creates a burn hazard for children. So even though it might take a few extra minutes to get your kitchen faucet water really hot, it will be worth the savings to lower your thermostat.


Remember what your mother told you

Shower timer

Turn off lights when you leave the room, shut the door behind you and don't take long showers. And getting a shower timer can help everyone in the family accomplish this goal (Conservation Mart, $21). It might not seem like a lot, but small and simple changes can make a difference in the long run and bring your total energy costs down.


New water-efficient washing machine

Washing machine

Consider buying a front-loading, energy-efficient washing machine (Best Buy, $800). Front-loading machines use substantially less water and energy than top-loading machines. Plus they tend to be more effective at removing water from clothes which will, in turn, shorten your dry cycle.

More house fun

Learn how LG appliances can help make your house a home by visiting Life's Good House.

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MORE: Share this on Twitter:. which was produced inhouse by of The Washington Post graphics staff It replaces an earlier version that was created a couple of months ago by our friends at The new Pinocchio Tracker has a fun feature: It brings up quotes and asks you to guess how many Pinocchios it received from The Fact Checker Then you can find out if your ruling matches ours--and see why we decided the statement was faulty As before the Pinocchio Tracker will take you to every column that examined a statement by a GOP candidate President Obama or Vice President Biden It will also show you the average Pinocchio rating each person has receivedEnjoy Follow Fact Checker on and Get the latest campaign news on voiceover of atelevision ad by the New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has weighed in dramatically in the House special election to replace former Rep Jesse Jackson Jr. with his political action committee Independence USA on the race target former Rep Debbie Halvorson who had taken pro-gun stands as a Democrat from a largely rural district but is now trying to make a comeback in a more urban area of the state These ads are hard-hitting and negative with similar themes The messages has been further reinforced through Lets check their accuracy (All are variations on the theme expressed in the text above)The FactsAs is typical with negative ads there is a big difference between the literal text of the ad and the images and messages that it sends For instance the ad notes that as a member of Congress Halvorson an A rating from the NRA Then the ad describes some of the NRAs positions on proposed gun laws while displaying a photograph of HalvorsonThe implication particularly to a casual viewer watching the ad is that these NRA positions are also Halvorsons current positions But her stand on guns has evolved particularly on background checks says she backs: "Stiff penalties for straw buyers; universal background checks and registration of all firearms; making sure that background checks work so people do not fall through the cracks in the national database; ending the gun show loophole"On the campaign trail Halvorson has while maintaining and on restricting the size of ammunition magazines The NRA has not made an endorsement in this race and certainly Halvorsons current stand on universal background checks would not please the organization (We did not get a response from an NRA spokesman) On its Web site the lobbying arm of the NRA that says universal background checks "turn traditional innocent conduct into a criminal offense"Stefan Friedman a spokesman for the Independence USA said that "the ad is crystal clear that it is the NRA that opposes background checks" Friedman noted that Halvorson as a state lawmaker when the Illinois Senate to make buyers at gun shows undergo background checks and was never a co-sponsor of a similar bill in the House "Considering the NRA tends to not hand out A+ ratings to candidates who support background checks and closing gun loopholes perhaps she should come clean if shes always supported background checks and closing gun loopholes or if this is just an election-year conversion" he saidRegarding the bill that Halvorson co-sponsored the ad is referring to HR 179 the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act which would make state permits to carry a concealed firearm valid in other states that permit concealed weaponsThe bill went nowhere during her term in office but (with the support of 43 Democrats) in in 2011 though it was never taken up by the Senate The ads reference to "some criminals" carrying concealed guns across state lines refers to the fact that different states have different rules for obtaining a permit Thus a state such as Ohio which (such as two assaults within five years) would have to allow someone from a state with lesser standards to carry a weapon if they arrived in Ohio with a valid permit But heres the rub: The only state that prohibits any concealed weapons is Illinois though the law leaving its future in limbo If Illinois did approve a law allowing concealed weapons at this point it is unclear that it would adopt rules as restrictive as say Ohio In fact the initial news release on this ad incorrectly said that this bill "would allow criminals to carry loaded hidden guns in Chicago" Thats wrong but Friedman says it was an error in the release and never ran in an ad The Pinocchio TestThese ads cut very close to the line The description of the NRA positions are correct but the photograph of Halvorson suggests guilt by association even though she has since distanced herself from the NRA and taken a more nuanced approach toward potential gun restrictions in her current race Moreover the ad conjures up the image of criminals entering the state with hidden guns even though the bill she co-sponsored has never become law and its possible impact on Illinois residents is unclearTwo Pinocchios()Check out our candidate Follow The Fact Checker on and friend us on . screech! 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