Simple tips to slash your energy bill


Energy efficiency expert Marcus Barnum says it's easy to check your house to see if you are wasting energy. About three times a year, inspect your home and make quick changes to lower your energy bill.

First, use your ceiling fans -- even during the winter.

"One of the most under-utilized applicance in the home is the ceiling fan because hot air rises, cold air falls," Barnum said, "so in the summer time make sure your blades are facing the correct way so the cold air can be coming on you for increased comfort level; conversely in the wintertime, you want to reverse the switch so that you can mix the air and you're not over utilizing your HVAC system."

Barnum says this adjustment can save you 10 to 15 percent on your heating or cooling bill.

Tip No. 2: If you don't have a programmable thermometer, buy one. If you don't use it, set it. A small programmable thermostat will run $40 to $80 bucks but it could save you up to 25 percent on your energy bill.

Tip No. 3: Check your vents with a digital thermometer; that way, you know exactly what temperature is blowing out.

"Typically I like to see anywhere from 54 degrees to 62 degrees." Barnum said. "But if 70 degrees is coming out - no wonder my bills are running because that thing is trying to catch up and get me cooler but I'm not getting cooler; so that lets me know there's a breech somewhere withiin the HVAC system."

Another way to save money is by checking your doors. If you can see a wide gap in this door jam, any cool or hot air in the house is escaping. You can easily attach weather stripping to your door to fix this problem.

"It will save up to 10 percent on your heating and cooling cost just by this simple fix. It comes with adhesive on the back, peel it off like a sticker, and you can just measure it out, cut the length that you need and stick it on accordingly," Barnum said.

And finally a simple way to cut your energy bill: change your light bulbs to energy star rated bulbs. They are more expensive but your investment will pay off.

"The incandescent bulbs -- the old bulbs -- put off so much heat and it takes more energy to run and light up," Barnum said.

Barnum says replacing your bulbs can knock about 5 percent off of your cooling bill. Just another way to help bring down your bill.

Another way to save on your energy bill is to check your home's insulation. Ninety-percent of homes are under insulated. When properly maintained it could reduce your utility costs by a whopping 35 percent.

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