Cutting your energy bill

FRESNO, Calif.

It turns out that powering your electronics can cost almost as much as powering your kitchen appliances. You may not realize that your set-top box is a major energy guzzler. It plus a high-definition DVR can actually use more energy than some refrigerators!

Consumer Reports says ask your cable company for a new box that meets Energy Star's 3.0 standards. Another money-saver -- setting your computer to sleep or hibernate when you're not using it.

Along with electronics, appliances account for 30 cents of every dollar you spend on electricity. When you're buying a new appliance, look for one with the Energy Star logo. The program has recently gotten stricter.

And always look to cut your heating and cooling costs, which account for around 40 percent of typical energy use. The most effective way to do that is to insulate your attic. Many attics don't have enough insulation. Cellulose insulation should be at least 8 inches thick and fiberglass or rock wool at least 11 inches. Also make sure that your ductwork is properly sealed, and eliminate any air leaks. And there are more energy tips. (All together they can add up to an average savings of $500 a year.


More energy-saving tips from Consumer Reports

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