DIY tips to cut costs on your energy bill

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- With demand higher this summer, the Energy Information Administration is predicting a 5 percent increase in the average residential electricity bill.

Hiring a contractor to do basic projects can get expensive, but there are some that you can do yourself at home to help cut costs.

Ceiling Fan

It is commonly known that you can dial up the thermostat to 76 degrees to save 15 percent or more on your electric bill. To maintain the same level of comfort, try using a ceiling fan.

"Ceiling fans can cool the feels-like temperature in a room by up to 4 degrees," Home Depot's electrician Salvador Sosa said.

The experts at Home Depot say you can do it yourself in under an hour.

"It seems harder than it is. Most people get scared by the electrical wires," Sosa said.

The most important step is to go to your electrical panel and turn off the breaker before starting the project.

The electrician removes the cap, clicks the two white cords together, and the blue and black cords together.

If you are not using an existing light, you will need a work box or a stud brace to hold the fan secure to the ceiling. Add the shock absorbant plate, threading the wires through the hole. You may need to expose part of the wire before connecting them and always start with the ground wires first.

Then, twist the green with the bare copper wires, the white neutral wires together, and the blue to the two black wires. Cover each with wire caps. Twist the cover into place, add the bulbs and blades, and you're done!

The total cost is $39 versus about $150-$200 for a contractor to install it for you.

For more DIY tips on how to install a ceiling fan from Home Depot, click or tap here.

Occupational Sensors

Occupational sensors are a great way to save on your light bill, and it is only a three-step process.

Again, before you do anything, make sure to turn off the breaker to the fixture you will be working on.

Unscrew your existing light plate and connect the wires. First you hook up your ground - copper to green. Then connect the two black hot wires. Attach the sensor to the wall, replace the decorative face plate, and you're done.

"Anytime you're not using electricity, it saves you money. Those things are geared to turn off automatically," said Sosa.

A basic light plate will cost $16. A contractor will charge at least $50 to $75 just to come to your house.

If you're uncomfortable working with electricity, they have sensors that just screw into your existing light socket for $25.

For both of these projects, a no-contact voltage tester can help assure your safety.

Home Depot's website is a great resource for any concerns you may have, as well as many more DIY projects.
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