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NEWS | Oct. 27, 2010

How to celebrate National Energy Awareness Month

By 628th Civil Engineer Squadron Energy Management Office

Public agencies, utilities and major companies offer many programs for exploring energy options. Energy efficient lights, water saving gadgets and power-miser appliances are often available with generous rebates.

These programs help save the environment, natural resources and your budget. The following suggestions will increase your home's comfort level while saving energy and money. As National Energy Awareness Month comes to a close this October, use these tips to continue raking in the savings all year long.
· Check the lights: New bulbs bring quality lighting and use a fraction of the electricity of incandescent bulbs. New compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, are often cooler bulbs. They do not produce as much heat and are safer to use around curtains and children.

· Watch the water: A running toilet is annoying and wasteful. A dripping water faucet not only keeps people awake, it also uses hot water causing the water heater to cycle on and off, which wastes energy. A cracked or leaking pipe in the house wastes water and creates a breeding ground for mosquitoes and can damage the home walls or foundation.

· Max out on insulation: On the first chilly October day, run your hand around the windows. Feel where cold air may be coming in. Add weather-stripping or plastic winter window seals available at home improvement stores. If cold air is coming up along the wallboards, check to see if house has settled and opened a gap between the foundation and walls. Add caulk, weather-stripping or foam core insulation to fill the gaps. This easy chore can dramatically increase home comfort, lower utility bills and keep out bugs.

· Try closing the curtains on dark days and keep them open on sunny days. This easy chore takes advantage of natural sunlight to heat the home. Solar energy is free and easy to for anyone use to heat their home.

· Invest for comfort: Thermal or electric blankets make for more comfortable sleep at lower room temperatures. Try installing automatic thermostats. They can save enough energy to pay for themselves in a season and keep things comfortable in daytime hours. Also, motion switches in bathrooms and utility rooms are a plus. The inexpensive switches turn on when someone enters the room, and they turn off when its empty.

· Do a walk-through of your house, watching for energy wasters. Dripping faucets and a draft on a winter day are obvious energy wasters. Everyone knows their house better than anyone, so make it work for energy saving.