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A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep

Going on a diet this January? Opening a savings account? Joining a gym?

Here’s another resolution—and it might be easier to keep for longer than two weeks: Do one thing a month that will make your home more energy efficient.

Here are 12 ideas:

January: Get into the habit of turning your thermostat down by about 10 degrees before your family turns in for the night or leaves home in the morning. You can save as much as 1 percent on heating for every degree you lower the heat for eight consecutive hours.

February: Pull your refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum or dust its condenser and coils. Clean coils prevent your fridge’s working parts from overheating.

March: Spring for an annual inspection of your air-conditioning system. It can keep your central AC running smoothly and efficiently all summer.

April: Hire a licensed electrician to inspect your home’s wiring system—not every year, but at least once a decade.

May: Wash your windows—inside and out—and open the drapes. The sun can’t warm and brighten your rooms if it can’t find its way through grimy windowpanes.

June: Trim your hedges. Overgrown shrubs and trees can shade your windows too much and keep the sunlight from warming up your home come winter.

July: Grill your dinner outside and serve fresh, cold salads as side dishes. Giving your stovetop and oven a rest also gives your air-conditioning system a break on hot days.

August: Start running your clothes washer, dryer and dishwasher after dark. That will keep the heat and humidity out of the air—and help out your electric cooperative, too.

September: Get that heating and air-conditioning tech back to your house for a heating inspection. A tuneup can save you as much as 5 percent on your heating bill.

October: Close off your masonry fireplace and resolve not to use it anymore. Every time you use it, your home’s heated air flies up the chimney.

November: Seal air leaks around windows, doors and other openings—such as the place where cables and wires come into the wall from the outside—with caulk and weatherstripping.

December: Replace your old holiday lights with LED fixtures, which last years longer and use far less energy.