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As fuel prices rise, saving money on energy has become more important than ever. Here’s how to take a more frugal approach to your energy use:

• Turn down the water temperature. If you have to dilute your hot water with cold to prevent scalding yourself, adjust your water heater.

• Insulate your electrical outlets. This helps prevent a rush of cold air from flowing into the house. Most electric companies provide insulating foam pads.

• Caulk your windows. And when spring comes, take the caulking off and put it in a plastic bag to be used again. Cover extremely drafty windows with plastic sheets.

• Use a heater jacket to insulate your hot water pipes and your water heaters. Remember: only if you’ve got an older heater with no insulation of its own.

• Wash your dishes correctly. Fill the basin with hot water when you do your dishes. You’ll use less water and save on all that heat for water that would just go down the drain as you rinse.

• Do not use the dry cycle on your dishwasher. Open the door and let them air dry.

• Vacuum the coils behind your refrigerator every four to six months. This helps to cut electrical use and will cut down on the noise your refrigerator spews.
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