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Simple Steps to Save Money

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Simple Steps to take the chill off your winter energy bills

5 Tips to Live By

Saving money on your energy bill is easier than you think. By following some or all of the following energy saving tips, you'll see that conserving energy is not only good for the environment, it's good for your wallet.

Seal the Duct Work

In eight out of ten houses in the South, leaky ducts waste more energy than any other problem. To stop this energy loss, your ductwork should be made airtight -everywhere ducts attach to vents, each other and the heating/cooling unit. Use mastic (preferred) or foil tape. Some do-it-yourselfers can handle this job; other homeowners may want to hire a professional.

Install Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Every home has lights, and new compact fluorescent light bulbs can save a lot of energy. They cost more, but they last much longer than regular incandescent bulbs. In fact, compact fluorescents can save enough energy to pay for themselves twice.

Add Attic Insulation

About half of all homes have attics with insufficient insulation. A good rule of thumb is that if you have less than six inches of insulation, you need more. In general, you would benefit from up to 12 inches of attic insulation. Insulation is rated by "R-values." In the attic, you should insulate at least to R-30, or six to eight inches. Insulate walls as much as their thickness allows, and floors to at least R-19, or six inches. Cellulose insulation is recommended.

Wrap your Water Heater

In most homes, insulating your water heater and the pipes that lead to and from it is the single most cost effective improvement you can make. A water heater jacket can be purchased for as little as $10 to $15, and you can install it yourself.

Seal other Air Leaks

Air infiltration from the outside is another huge energy loser. In a drafty home, the air may "turn over" several times an hour, meaning that the home's entire volume of air must be reheated or recooled that often. A tight house sees a complete air exchange only once every two to three hours.

Caulking and weather-stripping are the keys, and here are some of the biggest offenders to look for:

Fireplaces. Caulk everywhere the brick or stone meets the walls and ceilings. Cover the opening with tight-fitting glass doors.

Attic Fans. If you have an attic fan that you don't use, seal the opening with a temporary or permanent cover.

Recessed Lights. A lot of heat can escape through the openings cut for recessed lights. Newer models can be covered with insulation. Older models require a makeshift cover like a bucket turned upside down in the attic.

Windows and Doors. Install weather-stripping on any that do not fit tightly.

Attic Entrances. Insulate and weather-strip any entrances from your home into the attic. With a little detective work, you may find a lot of other leaks. Feel for air coming in through cracks and around windows and doors. For a more sensitive test, hold a lighted candle near cracks.

Click Here for More Tips

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Home Energy Library -- Extensive information about how energy is used in your home.

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