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Let's face it, we all have bad habits, but we might not always realize how much they can affect our monthly household energy consumption. Read on to see if you're guilty of any of these energy-wasting routines and how to shake them.

1. Running your dishwasher half-full

While you might just be trying to stay on top of your dirty dishes, running your dishwasher before it's full could be costing you. Your dishwasher uses the same amount of water and electricity regardless of how many dishes are inside, so try and wait until it's full before running a load to reduce waste or wash smaller loads by hand.

2. Overfilling your refrigerator

If you have an older model of refrigerator, keeping it packed with food can prevent cool air from circulating and can block the vents at the top of the fridge where cold air is released. Aim to keep your fridge about three-quarters full and find out how you can strategically stock it to help boost its efficiency.

3. Blasting the heat when you're not home

Did you know that more energy is needed to keep your home a consistent temperature than to heat it back up after you've turned down your thermostat? That's because your home will lose energy more slowly when the temperature inside drops below normal levels.

To help reduce your energy consumption, turn down your thermostat by a few degrees before leaving the house and at night. You can even install a programmable thermostat and let it do the work for you, just be sure not to turn the heat down too low to prevent pipes from freezing.

4. Pre-heating your oven too early

If you're letting your oven pre-heat long before you're ready to use it, you're likely wasting more energy than you realize. Try prepping your food before your oven reaches its set temperature and reduce the urge to peek inside while your food's cooking; the temperature drops every time you open the oven door.

5. Blocking your heating vents

Making your home more efficient could be as simple as rearranging the furniture. By moving furniture away from your heating vents, like couches and even curtains, hot air can circulate freely and your furnace won't have to work as hard to heat your home.

By changing a few simple household habits, you can help make your home more efficient and cut down on your carbon footprint. Find more tips for reducing your home energy consumption.

Sources: HGTV, How Stuff Works, Department of Energy

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