Is your bill too high?

How warm do you keep your house in the winter? 

Typically, turning down your thermostat just three degrees can reduce your bill by 10%. Also, consider using a programmable thermostat that can automatically lower your heat when you're not at home.

Space heaters can be expensive to operate. 

When shopping for space heaters, note the wattage: The higher the wattage, the more it will cost to run. A 1,500-watt unit that runs continuously in the winter will add about $130 to your monthly electric bill.

Electricity use can change from month to month.

Did you recently entertain more visitors than normal? Did you buy a new computer or a high-definition flat-screen TV? Those new TVs, especially the big ones, can really cause your meter to spin.

Are you being attacked by vampire appliances?

Cable boxes, TVs, DVD players, game consoles, etc. -- even when turned off -- all continue to draw electricity if they are plugged directly into your wall outlets. Instead, plug them into a surge suppressor and switch the surge suppressor off when these items are not in use.

Hot water can be costly.

Lower your water heater setting to 120-degrees. If it's located in an unheated garage, purchase a water-heater blanket. Is a hot-water faucet leaking? Is your water heater functioning properly? Both issues can cost you money. Yearly maintenance is recommended.

Are you using incandescent light bulbs?

If so, consider switching to LEDs. Although a bit more expensive to purchase, they last much longer than incandescent bulbs, and draw much less power.

Holidays can sure impact your electric bill.

Consider all the extra lights that are on during the holidays. And the cooking ... your oven is probably on more than it's off! LED Christmas lights draw much less power and are cool to-the-touch.

Do you need all of these things on -- all the time?

Are you heating your garage all year long? Are you running a half-empty refrigerator freezer out there? Do you have electric heat tapes around your plumbing?

Make sure the meter reading used for billing is correct.

You can read your own meter and compare it with the reading shown on your bill. It's rare, but mistakes do happen. How to read your own meter.

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