Winter is in full swing, and I am hearing friends and family members talking about their electricity bills. The last bill amount I heard was just about $400.00! I know we have had some extremely cold weather...but I would die if my electric bill was anywhere near that amount!

I started thinking about some little things that can be done around my house to be a bit more energy efficient. It won't totally eliminate an expense, but anything these days would help, right? By using less energy to accomplish the same tasks, you can cut down on energy waste in your house and save some money. Here are some of the best recommendations for making your house or place of business more energy-efficient.

  1. Change light bulbs to LEDs.
  2. Wash clothes in cold water if possible.
  3. Clean or replace all filters in your home regularly. Dirty filters make your system work harder and run longer than necessary.
  4. Use the microwave instead of your stove when cooking.
  5. Defrost the refrigerator and freezer before ice buildup becomes 1/4-inch thick to ensure your appliances are running efficiently.
  6. During warmer months, close blinds, shades and drapes on the sunny side of your home to help keep your home's temperature cooler and reduce the work for you AC. Open shades during cooler months to let the sun warm your home.
  7. Leave the oven door closed while baking! Every time you peek, the temperature can drop 25 F, making your oven use more energy to bring the temperature back up.
  8. Use natural light when possible.
  9. Control your fixtures with a photocell or a timer to assure dusk-to-dawn only operation of your outdoor lights.
  10. Don't leave your electronics on all day long. Only turn on your computer, monitor, printer and fax machine when you need them.
  11. Using the ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.
  12. Refrigerators and freezers actually operate most efficiently when full, so keep your refrigerator and freezer as full as possible (using water bottles if nothing else). Be careful about overfilling them as this will reduce airflow and cause the appliance to work harder.
  13. Turn off heated dry on your dishwasher and air dry instead.
  14. Set the refrigerator temperature to the manufacturer's recommendation to avoid excessive cooling and wasting energy.
  15. Don't leave bathroom or kitchen ventilation fans running longer than necessary. They replace inside air with outside.
  16. When you can, think about replacing your windows. If your home has single-pane windows, consider replacing them with more energy efficient windows, or adding solar shades or tinting film.
  17. Install a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature according to your schedule.
  18. Turn off the lights when they're not in use. Lighting accounts for about 12% of a typical residential utility bill.
  19. Don't leave mobile phones plugged in overnight. It only takes a couple of hours to charge.
  20. Turn off the oven a few minutes before cooking time runs out. Your food will continue to cook without using the extra electricity.
  21. Watch appliance placement. Avoid placing appliances that give off heat, such as lamps or TVs, near a thermostat.
  22. Dress for the weather. When you're at home, dress in warm clothing in the winter and cooler clothing in the summer to stay comfortable without making your heater and AC work harder.

By doing even a few of these things could reduce your power bill. We still have a few more months of winter, so grab a sweatshirt and socks, and grab a blanket when you hunker down to watch that movie tonight!

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LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.

Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.

Gallery Credit: Anuradha Varanasi

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