Cut Your Energy Costs

August 30, 2009 3:29:05 PM PDT
Stacey Bergman is serious about cutting energy costs. She's replaced old appliances with more energy-efficient ones. She got a new hot water heater, too. And she's opted for more energy-efficient CFLS. Stacey Bergman said: "Our bills have gone down."

Stacey Bergman is serious about cutting energy costs. She's replaced old appliances with more energy-efficient ones. She got a new hot water heater, too. And she's opted for more energy-efficient cfls.

Stacey Bergman said: "Our bills have gone down."

Consumer Reports' Dan Diclerico said those are all good moves. But there's even more you can do to cut your energy bills.

Dan DiClerico, Consumer Reports said: "Roughly 50 percent of residential energy bills go towards heating and cooling."

Consumer Reports said you can save about $550 dollars a year in energy costs if you know where to look. First - focus on eliminating any leaks around doors, windows, and electrical outlets.

Dan DiClerico, Consumer Reports said: "You can check for air leaks with an incense stick. First, turn on an exhaust fan in your home. Then, light the stick, and hold it up to any openings. If smoke starts to blow horizontally, you've got a leak."

Next, the insulation.

A consumer reports' survey found only 12 percent of homeowners have added or upgraded their insulation in the last three years.

Dan DiClerico, Consumer Reports said: "A good place to start is in the attic. Look for missing insulation where heat can escape, including above the attic hatch door."

Also, make sure your existing insulation is thick enough. For fiberglass or rock wool, you want at least 11 inches of insulation. For cellulose, you want eight inches or more. And don't forget to insulate your plumbing and ductwork, too.

Dan DiClerico, Consumer Reports said: "In our survey, only five percent of people insulated their heating and cooling ductwork. Now it could cost you about $500 dollars to hire someone to do your ducts, but you could end up saving $400 dollars a year."

Also consider having a home-energy audit done to spot any other inefficiency you might miss. Some utility companies offer them for free.

How you wash your laundry can add up to more energy savings, too. It turns out only 38 percent of people surveyed by consumer reports always wash their clothes in cold water. That can save you up to 60 dollars a year.

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