MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: 5 energy saving tips

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Summer heat could hit any day, so now's the time to figure out how you can cut costs on your power bill.

Here is a list of the top five things in your house that are sucking dollars out of your wallet.

1.  Almost half your power bill is heating and cooling costs. Dirt on the outside of the unit is costing you money.

"The better the coils can transfer air across then the more efficient it's going to operate," said Mike Wade, CEO of See Logix.

Dirt strains the fan too, so keep the unit clean.

Changing your filter helps clean air move more freely throughout the system, but dirt can get by the filter, building up on the cooling coil. Gently scrape away the gunk to help your system run better.

Also, consider a programmable thermostat - it will allow you to manage the run time.

2.  14 percent of your monthly statement fuels the hot water tank. You'll quickly recover the cost of pipe insulation on your power bill.

"Wrap the hot water tank with a traditional insulation jacket," said Wade.

Lower temperatures pull less power. And if you're going out of town, Wade says to turn off the hot water tank at the breaker.

3.  Everyday appliances account for another 14% of your electric bill. With laundry, skip the hot water. You won't pay to heat the water, plus:

"Cold water will help your clothes last longer and intensifies color," said See Logix co-founder, Helen Reed.

Bulky items extend your dryer cycle, so hang those up.

As for the refrigerator, clean behind and underneath it.

"Clean the grill under here because if that gets blocked with food or dust, that will break up the airflow for the refrigerator," said Reed.

4.  Turn off the lights and switch to CFLs.

"Put an energy sensor on your switch, so when you do leave the room, especially if you've got children, then the lights will automatically go off," said Reed.

5.  Entertainment systems use power even when they're off. Power strips solve that issue with one click of a button.

Cleaning each entertainment component can save money too. Dust buildup will only make them work harder.

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