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Easy ways to keep skyrocketing energy prices in check

"We get calls all day long on what people can do to ensure they are not wasting heat and electricity," Paige said. "Once you get that energy-efficient unit and central air, make sure your thermostat is working, any filters that you need to replace are taken care off, [and] make sure there are not leaks. A check-up is always recommended because when a heating-and-cooling system is running as efficiently as possible, that is when you save money."

Other energy-saving tips are just as easy to implement.

Home Depot reported a major increase in the sale of those twisty, funny-looking light bulbs that are up to 75 times more energy efficient than standard incandescent lights. Replacing all the bulbs in a house can save homeowners a couple hundred dollars a year.

Other simple changes include using a programmable thermostat that will, on average, save about $100 a year.

Close blinds to block out the summer heat, especially on south-facing windows during the daytime.

Insulating the attic will keep the summer heat and winter cold from filtering through the roof and into the rest of the house.

Save electricity and reduce waste heat by shutting off lights and home electronics, especially computers, while not in use. With electronics, shut off not only televisions but also the cable television boxes.

Ryan also suggests unplugging cell-phone chargers when not in use.

"Unplug cell phone chargers, which give off more waste heat than you might imagine. Unplug these items or consider purchasing power management devices to eliminate electric consumption entirely when not in use," said Ryan.

In the kitchen, the biggest change to make is only running dishwashers when they are full. Also, air dry the clean dishes by turning the energy-saver switch on.

In the bathroom, use exhaust fans sparingly. Ryan said that in just one hour, an exhaust fan can remove a houseful of warmed or cooled air.

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