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Making a few small lifestyle changes can add up and help you decrease your energy bills. With heating being the single biggest contributor to a home’s energy expense, these changes may make a significant difference in your costs as the temperature drops. We recommend starting with these tips:

Set your thermostat to 68 degrees. PPL offers a programmable one for purchase on our website at 30 percent off retail price. Go to our online Marketplace www.pplelectricsavings.com

Check all of your vents to be sure they are free from obstruction. This includes items children or pets may have placed on top of a vent or dirty filters. Anything obstructing your vent will cause your system to use more energy to push the air through.

Close your fireplace damper if you are not using it. Leaving it open is like having a window open.

Use insulated drapes or curtains. In the winter, keep them open on the south facing side of your house to allow sunlight in and closed at night.

Water temperature can also affect your energy costs. Lower the temperature in your water heater from the typical 140 degrees to 120 degrees. Most people don’t realize that the largest cost related to running a washing machine is heating the water. Try to do a few loads in cold water and air dry your clothes in the warmer months.

Another issue you may not realize or think about is something called standby power or vampire power. This relates to the power used by appliances when they are plugged in but not in use. So while an appliance may be turned off, it continually draws electricity all day. Consider these two options to decrease your energy use.

Buy a power strip with a switch. You can plug in all of your like appliances into one strip and turn off the switch when not in use. Some examples of like appliances are a computer, printer and shedder in a home office or a television and gaming center in a family room.

Unplug all appliances that aren’t used regularly, such as a toaster oven or space heater. Unplug cellphones, tablets and laptops after they are fully charged because they will still draw energy when plugged in.

Lighting accounts for 20 percent of your monthly energy use. You can get immediate results by switching all of your bulbs inside and outside of your home from incandescent to LED bulbs. An added bonus to using LED bulbs is you are helping the environment. Every 60 watt bulb replaced with an LED bulb saves you $4 a year. That’s $160 per year for a home with 40 bulbs.

Finally, you can take a free online energy assessment on our website. Go to www.pplelectricsavings.com/onlineassessment. We provide you with an assessment and energy saving recommendations and offers customized to your home. You can even receive a free energy efficiency kit. And those with a qualifying income, we will perform an in-home audit and provide free energy improvement recommendations. Some homes even qualify for a new refrigerator, water heater and heating and cooling system repairs or replacement.

Remember saving money on your energy costs doesn’t have to be difficult or uncomfortable. We invite you to try these simple ways to save money and reduce your daily power consumption.

(Witter is regional affairs director for PPL.)

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