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How to Save Big on Your Heating Bill

Fall is just around the corner, which means colder weather and higher electricity bills.

But you can avoid some of that cost with some inexpensive and easy fixes. John DeSilvia, host of DIY Network's "10 Grand in Your Hand," shared his top tips for keeping your home - and your wallet - insulated this season.

DeSilvia explained whether you're putting in a $50,000 solar panel system or adding $50 worth of insulation, chances are the government will help foot the bill if you do it before December 31, 2010.

Manufacturers and retailers are another source of incentives, especially for energy-efficient appliances. Rebates usually range from $50 to $500 and might cover dishwashers, freezers, furnaces and boilers, heat pumps, refrigerators, room air-conditioners, washers, and water heaters.

Under proposed legislation, "Silver Star" rebates would cover 50 percent of the total costs up to $3,000 of various energy-efficiency projects, including adding insulation, sealing ducts, sealing and upgrading windows, roofing, and heating and cooling equipment.

"Gold Star" rebates would award $3,000 to homeowners who pay for a full energy audit and follow through on its recommendations to boost the overall energy efficiency of their home by at least 20 percent.

For more information, go to EnergySavers.gov or EfficiencyFirst.org.

DeSilvia Suggests These Fixes:

1. Energy Star Qualified Compact Flourescent Light Bulbs

If every American home replaced just one light with a light that's earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars.
Changing out one regular bulb to a Compact Fluorescent Bulb can save you more than $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime.
Bulb costs about $5.00 but uses about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and lasts up to 10 times longer.
Bulb produces about 75 percent less heat, so it's safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling

Product information website:
For more information on Compact Flourescent Bulbs, click here.

2. Water Saver Shower Head

If you have a fixture pre-dated 1992 you will want to replace it because older showerheads have a flow rate of 5.5 gallons per minute.
You can lower your water heater costs by using and wasting less hot water in your home.
For maximum efficiency select a shower head with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute.
You can purchase quality low flow fixtures for as low as $10-$20 a piece and achieve water savings between 25-60 percent.
In addition fixing a leaky faucet is easy as well…one drop of water per second can add up to 165 gallons of lost water a month, tha'ts more than one person uses in a two week period

Product Information for website:
For more information on energy saving shower heads, click here.

3. Insulate your Water Pipes with Pipe Sleeves

Insulating your hot water pipes reduces heat loss and can raise water temperature 2ºF-4ºF hotter than uninsulated pipes can deliver, allowing for a lower water temperature setting.
You also won't have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on a faucet or showerhead, which helps conserve water.
Pipe sleeves - made with polyethylene or neoprene foam and presented in a wide variety of sizes - are an excellent option. Choose a pipe sleeve that is at least about 3/4 inch thick or R-4. Piple sleeves are easy to install and very effective.
Before installing the insulation, remove dirt or grease from the pipes and allow the pipes to dry.
You should match the pipe sleeves with the pipe's outside diameter to get a snug fit.
To secure the insulation to the pipe, use wire or tape, or clamp it with a cable. If more than one sleeve is needed, you must duct tape the seam where the pipes meet.

Product Information for website:
For more information on Pipe Sleeves, click here.

4. Change out your furnace filters

When it comes to furnace filters the attitude of most homeowners is usually out of sight out of mind, but this procrastination can lead to costly problems.
Neglected furnace filters can lead to three unwanted outcomes
Paying higher monthly energy bills
Your family breaths in dirty, dusty unhealthy air
Your home consumes more natural resources.
A dirty furnace filter can increase your heating bill by 25 percent and can cost you hundreds of dollars in higher energy bills each year not to mention the wear and tear on your furnace.

Product Information for website:
For more information on Furnace Filters, click here.

5. Space Heaters

While lowering your thermostat in the winter months and adding a programmable timer helps take the chill out of a cool autumn evening without having to turn on the furance or you can lower your heating bill in the winter because space heaters are a great way to add warmth to specific rooms without having to heat the whole house.
Nearly all units produce the same amount of heat, and the differences lie in safety features, convenience features, reliability and the way the heat is directed.
While there are propane, gas and electric models to choose from, Consumer Reports prefers the electric models with thermostats as they prove to be a bit safer and more consistent than the other choices.
Also while our model is small for display purposes you'll want decide on the size of your space heater in relation to the areas in your home you want to heat.
The products are widely available at Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and regional appliance dealers. Prices range from $25 - $140.

Product Information for Website:
For more information on space heaters, go to Consumer Search.com's space heater page or space heater review page.

6. Low E Window Film

1/3 of our home energy is lost through or doors and windows.
While most of us know about caulking and weatherstripping our windows and doors….some of you may want to think about Low E window Film.
This adhesive coating can boost the efficiency of your current windows by reflecting sunlight .
These window films offer the most cost effective and least labor intensive ways to decrease energy loss through your windows.
Some window films can reflect as much as 70-80 percent of the solar heat that would otherwise pass through a window pane, while others can retain approximately 55 percent of interior heat.

Product Information for Website:
For more information on Low E Window Films, click here.

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