2006-09-14 / Editorial

Conserve energy:

Most of us don't have any choice when it comes to paying the high price of energy.

Energy is expensive whether we are filling up the car at the pump, buying heating oil, or turning on the lights at home.

There is no relief in sight. Most sources of alternative energy such as solar and wind power require major investments and do not make sense for the average homeowner. The only alternative-energy source vehicles on the road today are hybrids. Even with the tax rebate, it will take a number of years before they lower your cost of transportation.

So what should you do? Conserve. It's easier than you think and can really save some big bucks.

Winter and the heating season are just ahead so now is the time to make your home weather tight. Caulk around your windows to stem air leakage. Make sure your doors close tightly. Have your furnace cleaned and tuned so it operates efficiently. Fix that fireplace damper. Do you have plenty of insulation in your walls and ceiling and the floor between the basement or crawl space? Keep your thermostat a couple of degrees cooler and wear a sweater.

There are other simple things to do at home to save money. Turn off lights in rooms not in use and use energy efficient light bulbs. Only run the dishwasher and clothes washer with full loads. Use a solar dryer, better known as a clothesline, instead of the dryer whenever possible. Fix leaky faucets. Put an insulating blanket on your hot water heater and pipe insulation on the hot water pipes.

And your car? Walk if possible instead of driving. Or ride a bike. You'll save money and be in better health. Keep your car's tires inflated to the proper pressure and have your engine tuned. Drive the speed limit - especially on the highway.

Conserving energy requires a slight modification to your lifestyle but it really works. In the end, you'll be saving money where it counts.

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