Lower your electric bill


Scared of a huge power bill this winter?  Well, you don't have to compromise your cozy, warm home to keep your costs down.

First, you should watch out for vampire electronics.  These are things like phone chargers, TVs, and coffee makers which suck power even when they're only on standby, and consume $10 billion of energy a year. Use timers and smart power strips to control their power use.

Did you know there are peak power hours? Using more electricity from 6 to 10 a.m., and 3 to 9 p.m. and can cost 30 to 60 percent more than off-peak, which are usually weekends and holidays. Limit use during peak hours by saving chores for the weekends.

Last, buy energy-star appliances. Not only will they save you money, but many power companies offer rebates for buying them. Be sure to check with your company to see if you qualify.

The Department of Energy has tips on saving energy year-round and a list of energy-saving appliances.  Check them out at energy.gov.