Energy savers for your home

FRESNO, Calif.

Gina Lamparella wanted her home to be more energy-efficient. So she replaced her windows, put in a more efficient heating system, and added insulation to the attic.

"We hope to definitely save money, especially in the winter, on our energy bills."

Consumer Reports' Dan Diclerico has taken a closer look at ways to slash your energy bills.

"You can probably cut your energy costs by 20 percent or more by adding insulation and energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment," Diclerico said.

And you can save even more if you qualify for Federal Energy Tax Credits due to expire at the end of the year. You can get a 30 percent tax credit of up to $1,500 on energy-efficiency improvements like insulation, sealing air leaks, and more reflective roofing.

"There are also federal energy tax credits available until 2017 for renewable energy systems, such as geothermal heat pumps and small wind turbines," Diclerico said.

But you can also save energy by making simple changes around your own home.

"Five to 10 percent of your home's electricity goes to devices that continue to draw power even when they're not in use."

So whenever possible, unplug devices like your coffeemaker and your cell phone after it's fully charged.

And last but not least, adjust thermostat temperatures by five to 10 degrees at night and when you're not home. That can trim as much as 20 percent off your heating and cooling bills.

Consumer Reports says another energy-saver is to change the viewing mode on your TV. In the store, TVs are usually set with the brightness turned up high. But at home you can switch to the mode called "home use," which is more energy-efficient.

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