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5 Ways to Slash Energy Bills

  1. Get Audited: For $250 to $800, an energy auditor will do a detailed diagnosis of your home, identifying problems and possible solutions. Find auditors via the Building Performance Institute (bpi.org) or Residential Energy Services Network (resnet.us) – and ask your utility provider if an audit qualifies you for a rebate.
  2. Break Out the Caulking Gun: A $5 tube of caulk is a prudent first step. When new windows are unavoidable, it’s worth spending an extra $5 to $10 a square foot for an energy efficient type: it will reduce your heating and cooling bills by up to 20%. Talk to your installer about adding sufficient flashing, which is the material that’s applied around the window edges for waterproofing.
  3. Line Your Ducts: Try Aeroseal, a process in which technicians blow sealant into ducts, filling cracks from the inside. It costs about $1,500 but could slice half that sum off annual utility bills. For a cheaper option, DIYers can cover accessible ducts with less than $300 worth of metal tape or mastic sealant.
  4. Wash with Care: Need a new washer? A front-loading model is a good choice. It may cost $500 or so more than a basic top-loader, but it will use roughly half the water, require less energy and detergent, and be gentler on clothes. Not ready to replace what you have? Most of the energy used in washing goes to heating the water, so stick with a cold or warm water setting.
  5. Keep the Furnace Burning: Look for an Energy Star – certified model, which could cut power bills by more than $200 a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. They keep the whole HVAC system running efficiently by having it serviced annually and by changing the air filter every few months.
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