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Save money at home this summer

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					Simple solutions to save money at home this summer (ARA) - As summer rolls around, you may find yourself getting that familiar anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach. No, not just because it is time to slip into a swimsuit (that's an entirely different issue to contend with). You're probably getting antsy thinking about all the money you are going to spend at home while the kids are on summer vacation. But shake off those blues and face the sunshine. Hannah Keeley, lifestyle expert and host of the PBS program "Hannah, Help Me!" offers easy ways to cut costs and still enjoy a cool, comfortable summer with your family. Be appliance "smart." Clothes dryers are notorious for sucking up a lot of the energy used in your home. Pull out the heavier items, such as blankets, towels and blue jeans, and let them hang dry on a line outside or even over the doors inside of your home. Dishwashers are a great convenience, but that convenience comes at a price. Don't run your machine unless it is completely full. Also, consider opening the door of your dishwasher when it hits the drying cycle so your dishes air dry and you save money. Re-think your routine and old habits. No need to take long showers after a day at the pool or beach. Pick up a timer and set a time limit for every person in the family (yes, even the teenagers). Five minutes per person should do, not to mention help prevent your family from pouring money down the drain. Turn off the water when conditioning hair, shaving or brushing teeth to further conserve energy. Even when they are not in use, electronics like stereos, TVs and DVD players continue to drain energy. Those commonly found, bulky "wall wart" plugs that feel warm to the touch even if the device is turned off are costing you money. Plug all electronic equipment into power strips and simply switch them off when not in use, or if your family is away from home, and you'll see instant savings on your electric bill. And turn off those computer monitors when not in use. Stay Cool. For every degree you raise your thermostat in the summer, you can cut cooling costs up to six percent, depending on your lifestyle, system settings and local climate. Install a programmable thermostat to help conserve energy and save money on your cooling bills with very little effort on your part. You might also consider installing a variable speed air handler, such as those offered by American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning, which reduces moisture levels in the air so you can keep the thermostat at a higher setting and still feel comfortable. Keeley reminds us that in just a few simple steps, you can have more fun, enjoy your family, and save some serious money this summer. "And it all starts at home," Keeley says.

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posted:5/26/2009
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