Area experts share tips on saving money, energy

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Money is tight for many families this summer as gas prices and food costs steadily escalate.

Here's advice from local experts who attended the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce's Women in Business luncheon Tuesday. Panel experts included Robert Beier, the regional team leader of energy services at Georgia Power; Judy Reville, the division manager of AAA Auto Club South in Augusta; and Jennifer Bowen, the vice president of public relations for the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

CUT ENERGY COSTS

- Change the air-conditioning filter.

- Look for duct leaks in your attic and home to reduce heating and air costs.

- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees in summer and 68 degrees in winter.

- In a commercial building, adjust the thermostat to 85 or 90 degrees in the summer and 55 or 60 degrees in the winter when no one is in the building.

- Keep your doors and windows closed.

- Grow shade. Plants can shield your home from the sun's rays.

- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use 14 watts as opposed to 60 watts by incandescent light bulbs.

- Set your water heater at 120 degrees.

REDUCE GAS COSTS

- Get routine vehicle maintenance checkups to get the best gas mileage.

- Put air in your tires.

- Lighten your vehicle load. Get rid of boxes that are weighing down your car.

- Avoid frequent starting and stopping while driving.

- Slow down. The faster you travel, the more fuel you use.

- Shop around to get the best gas prices.

- Use the vehicle that provides the best mileage.

- Plan your schedule to complete errands in one trip.

- Calculate your fuel costs before your vacation or trip.

REDUCE TRAVEL COSTS

- Find hotels that offer free breakfast or have a kitchen to prepare meals.

- Select hotels that are close to your vacation attractions.

- Search for all-inclusive packages.

VACATION AT HOME

- Check into a hotel and explore Augusta attractions.

- Find deals such as the Augusta Gallery Pass.


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