No matter how conscientious we are about trying to conserve energy, everyone at some time will use more energy than they are intending to. With the summer months fast approaching, the demand for energy will increase along with other fuel sources.

Power blackouts and brownouts will increase in the years to come according to the Alliance to Save Energy. So be prepared now to avoid any catastrophes and be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

There are a number of things homeowners can do to easily and comfortably lighten the power load in their homes and lower their energy bills too. These guidelines are recommended by the Alliance to Save Energy.

¨ Maintain your cooling system.

Cooling puts the greatest stress on your family’s energy bill and the power grid. Schedule an appointment with a professional to examine your system and provide it with maintenance and repairs if needed. Clean and replace your filters regularly.

¨ Install ENERGY STAR ceiling fans.

ENERGY STAR ceiling fans circulate the air more effectively and use less energy than other ceiling fans.

¨ Use the correct size air conditioner for your home or room.

Incorrect sized air conditioners can produce poor air quality and inflate your energy bills.

¨ Turn off all electricity using appliances and/or fixtures when not in use.

¨ Start converting all appliances to ENERGY STAR qualified products and cut your utility bills by thirty percent. You can find a list of qualified products at www.energystar.gov.

¨ Landscape your yard for energy efficiency by planting trees, dens shrubs, and vines around the home to not only beautify it but also providing shade in the summer and a wind break in the winter.

¨ Close your blinds and shades on south and west facing windows during the summer.

¨ Install a programmable thermostat so it will automatically adjust how your heating and cooling system will work while you are not typically at home.

¨ Adjust the times you do energy-intensive chores such as laundry and dishwashing until off-peak hours.

¨ Install energy efficient windows if you can afford it. New windows can reduce your heating and cooling expenses drastically while beautifying your home inside and out.

¨ Start replacing your incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. Just starting with replacing four bulbs that use about two-thirds less energy and last up to ten times longer saves $190 over the life of the bulbs.

¨ Switch to cold water washing of laundry instead of warm or hot water washing.