Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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August 1, 2011

Lower your cooling costs in summer heat

7 tips for conserving energy

BIRMINGHAM — The summer heat wave burning up most of the country is sending power bills soaring. Use these easy tips to cool down your energy costs and your home.

Landscaping. If your yard is in desperate need of a facelift, consider landscaping options that will also benefit your wallet. Creating shade can vastly improve your cooling costs as it prevents your home from heating up under the sun.  Consider this an eco-friendly version of closing your curtains and blinds.  

More: Record high, low temperatures by state

Roofing. It is no surprise that lighter colored roofing surfaces or those with special coatings tend to reflect more of the sun’s heat, which helps to reduce your energy costs throughout the summer while also improving overall efficiency. 

Filters. It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it. Keeping your air filters clean and changing them out on a regular basis (about once a month) will significantly improve air circulation and cooling effectiveness.  

Upgrade insulation. It may not be the first improvement to come to mind, but adding additional attic insulation is an inexpensive way to lower energy bills by keeping heat from entering in the summer and escaping during the winter.

Solar energy.  If you’re building a new home or it is simply the time for a new air conditioning unit, consider a solar-ready option. Although initially costly, the overall savings will abound and the tax-deduction is a nice incentive.

Programmable thermostat. Utilizing your programmable thermostat can save you up to $150 per year on your electric bill. This type of thermostat raises or lowers temperature settings automatically so that you don’t have to remember. Building a temperature schedule based on when you’re out of the house is a great way to start.

Company website. Taking a quick trip to the World Wide Web and visiting your electric company’s website can turn you on to great money-saving tips that are customized to your energy usage. 

Information from usnews.com, energy.gov and Kiplinger.com

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Columns
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    If you're looking for ways to lower your heating bill and make your home more energy efficient this winter, now is a good time to act. Make certain home improvements before the end of 2011, and you can claim a federal tax credit when you file next year.

    December 13, 2011 1 Photo

  • DangerousToys10.jpg SLIDESHOW: 10 most dangerous toys As you shop for the kids and grandkids this holiday season, keep an eye out for potentially dangerous toys. The nonprofit consumer watchdog group World Against Toys Causing Harm, or WATCH, has released its annual list of the 10 worst toys.

    December 8, 2011

  • kindle-fire.jpg Guide to this year's hottest gift: The tablet

    Tablet computers and e-readers are extremely popular and are expected to be strong sellers this holiday season despite a weak economy.  But the array of models and brands can confound many potential gift-givers. Check out this guide to tablet-giving on any budget.

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  • thanksgiving.jpg So much turkey! Thanksgiving by the numbers

    This Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will gather to eat, celebrate and give thanks. The U.S. Census Bureau has put the holiday in perspective with some key facts and figures about Turkey Day and all its trimmings.

    November 23, 2011 1 Photo

  • candycorn.jpg In sugar shock? 5 things to do with leftover Halloween candy

    When Halloween is over and your kids are still candy-eating zombies, you may want to get the sugary temptations out of their sight (and yours.) So what do you do with the leftover treats? Here are some ideas.

    November 7, 2011 1 Photo

  • Texting, driving Study: Drivers think texting is dangerous, but still do it

    Almost all motorists believe texting while driving is dangerous, but more than a third of them do it anyway, according to a study released Monday.

    October 5, 2011 1 Photo 1 Link

  • 092211_banned-books.jpg Tips to help parents judge books for children

    While the book-protesting actions of motivated parents and school boards make headlines, what gets lost in the shuffle is what goes on in each of our homes. As Banned Books Week begins, one librarian offers tips for parents weighing what kind of reading material to share with their children.

    September 26, 2011 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Bill-Gates.jpg List of richest people in America released

    The economy may be down, but the wealth of America’s richest is up by 12 percent, to nearly $1.53 trillion, Forbes magazine said this week in unveiling its list of the 400 wealthiest people in the country.

    September 23, 2011 3 Photos

  • Let's play ball without scandals

    The Big 12 announced a TV deal with Fox that would bring in more than $1 billion over 13 years.

    Recent scandals reveal college football is ethically challenged and inadequately regulated.

    August 29, 2011

  • Garden sprinkler How to conserve water during drought

    In a time of drought, you can do your part by following these steps to conserve water both indoors and outdoors.

    August 5, 2011 2 Photos

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