Energy-saving tips

According to the April issue of CHANGING TIMES magazine, the cost of running an appliance such as a refrigerator, over its life span of 15 to 20 years, can exceed its purchase price by two to three times.

An appliance model that is energy efficient isn't necessarily the most expensive.

"Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings" by Alex Wilson compares estimated annual energy costs of products ranging from heat pumps to freezers. It also gives tips on home energy conservation.

The book is available from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 1001 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 535, Washington, D.C. 20036. The price is $6.95 plus $2 for shipping and handling.

Among Wilson's suggestions:

- Chest freezers are 10 to 15 percent more efficient than upright freezers. Manual defrost models consume 35 to 40 percent less electricity than comparable auto-defrost freezers.

A manual defrost refrigerator saves 50 percent more energy than an auto-defrost refrigerator. If you replace your 20-year-old refrigerator with an efficient model, you'll recoup the average $600 cost in five to eight years.

- If you're in the market for an air conditioner, look for one with an energy efficiency rating over 9 for a room unit and over 12 for central air.

If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it's probably energy efficient. Ratings a decade ago were 7 or 8. The best new models have ratings double that level.

- Dishwasher manufacturers have put low-water-cycle options in their products that can save $5 to $15 per year. These are not reflected in the EnergyGuide rating labels. Dishwashers with built-in heaters are a good buy because they let you keep your hot water thermostat lower.

- Front-load washing machines use one-third less water and less energy than top-load models.

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Stop smoking

These tips on how to stop smoking come from the book "The Last Puff" written by Dr. John Farquhar of Stanford University and Dr. Gene Spiller. The book contains 30 in-depth interviews with ex-smokers.

It isn't easy and it isn't always cheap.

Here are some suggestions printed in CHANGING TIMES magazine:

- Keep trying. Most people have to try seriously three or four times before they succeed.

- Ease up on yourself. Recognize that nicotine can be as addictive as heroin and cocaine.

- Understand how badly you're hooked. Consider nicotine gum combined with a formal stop-smoking program.

- Pick a firm quit date. Tell your friends and relatives. Don't taper down your cigarettes to just a few a day. When you're ready to quit, stop cold turkey.

- Live well. Plan activities and learn to relax. Exercise regularly and eat nutritiously. Avoid stress and if you slip, don't slide too far.