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BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogEnergy costs make up a significant portion of household costs in the US. In fact, some households spend as much as 7% of their annual income on energy costs. These trends aren’t helped by the ever-growing number of electronic devices we all use daily. In light of that, there’s a growing interest in ways to reduce household energy waste. Repairs If your house isn’t brand new, it’s probably already started settling. That settling process creates numerous gaps and cracks around your house that drive up heating and cooling costs. You usually notice it in the form of drafts near doors and windows. Gaps also show up around your foundation and where the walls meet the roof. A tube of caulk will make short work of small gaps and cracks around windows and doors. Installing new weather stripping around your doors and windows helps as well. Expanding foam can pick up the slack on larger gaps and around pipes. If your furnace or AC unit seems to be straining, make an appointment for heating/cooling repairs or maintenance. Behavioral Changes Most people don’t realize it, but they own behaviors actually generate a lot of energy waste. You can slash that waste with some basic changes in behavior. Push heat-generating activities like laundry drying and baking into the late evening during the summer. Electricity often costs less in the evening and it takes pressure off your A/C unit. Wash small loads of dishes by hand. Water heating typically costs less than running a dishwasher for an hour. Unplug electronic devices you aren’t actually using, like computers and TVs. They often leach power by going into a standby mode. Upgrades You can also use upgrades to cut energy waste. Look for the Energy Star emblem on new appliances, computers, and even televisions. They often use substantially less power than similar appliances and electronics. You can also upgrade to smart power strips that turn off power to devices that you aren’t using. Another area where most houses can use an upgrade is the insulation. Dropping another layer of insulation in the attic improves how well the living spaces hold heat or cool air. Consider throwing an insulation jacket on your water heater and foam insulation on your water pipes. It cuts down unnecessary radiant heating and helps protect pipes from freezing. Energy waste isn’t something you must accept. You can take small steps with behavior changes and basic repairs. You take things up a notch with extra insulation and upgrades to appliances and electronics. Big or small, every change reduces your energy waste.