AKRON, Ohio -- People like saving energy. Especially their own.
That's why people love tips that don't require a lot of effort but still help trim their energy bills. They may not make a big difference individually, but even baby steps add up to some pretty big strides.
Here are 10 things you can do right now to cut down on your heating and power costs. And you won't break the bank or much of a sweat.
1. Lock the windows. Even when a window is closed, a little space remains between the sashes where air can leak in. Simply locking the window pulls the sashes tightly together.
2. Unplug. Many appliances, electronics and other electrical devices -- even cellphone chargers -- draw power even when they're turned off. Unplugging them when they're not in use eliminates this vampire power drain.
Granted, that's not always easy or even possible to do. But where it's practical, you can plug more than one device -- say, your TV and DVD player -- into an accessible power strip. With the flip of just the strip's power switch, you cut the power to everything plugged into it.
3. Wash in cold. If you're used to washing with warm water, you can probably switch to cold without noticing a difference. And no matter what temperature you wash your clothes in, you can always rinse in cold. You'll save on the energy that would have gone into heating the water.
There's a bonus: Cold water saves wear on your clothes, so they'll last longer.
I wouldn't suggest abandoning hot-water washes altogether, though. I'd still use hot for towels, bedding, underwear and laundry with oily stains.
Want to save even more? Skip the dryer and hang the clothes to dry.
4. Dim the lights. A dimmer works by reducing the power flowing to a lamp or light fixture. If you don't need full brightness, turn the lights down a little.
One note: Not all compact fluorescent bulbs work with dimmers. If you use CFLs, check the package to make sure you're buying the dimmable kind.
Oh, and take Dad's advice: Turn off any lights you don't need.