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Save money on your energy bill

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The heat is on in Houston even though summer doesn't officially start until next Sunday. If you think it's too late to get your home ready for the hot temperatures, don't worry.

It's simple, it's inexpensive and it's going to save you big time. So where do you begin and how can you make your home energy efficient? We have an expert to help guide us. The projects were so easy, even I could do them.

"You want it to be just far enough down where it blocks the light," said Jim Dutton, home improvement expert.

Dutton said if you spend a little, you will save a lot. The key is finding out exactly where you are losing energy. First, inspect your home by checking windows, doors, floors, and ceilings.

"If you don't seal the house up, you are letting the energy flow out through the windows," said Dutton.

Dutton recommends an insulating foam to seal the area outside the home where air could be leaking. Small openings can be found around windows, doors and near plumbing. At one home, we found a gap near the AC duct. We shook the can and simply filled in the area.

The foam costs about $6 per can and could save you up to 20%.

"For sealing up all those nooks and crannies, it's a great product," said Dutton.

Next on our list is window film. Dutton said this product rejects about 70% of the sun's heat.

"So you still are getting all the light that you want, yet you are blocking all the heat," said Dutton.

We first measured the window, cut the film according to our size, then sprayed and applied like wall paper. We removed excess film and smoothed out the gaps.

"That's really easy," said Dutton.

The window film and kit costs about $45, but could save you up to 20% on your electric bill.

Our third project is to add an insulating blanket to our water heater. This project takes about ten minutes. Just be sure to cut away insulation from the burner and don't insulate the top of the water heater.

The blanket costs about $20 and will reduce your water heating cost by up to nine percent.

Finally, Dutton said if there is one thing you are going to do this summer, he says to replace your incandescent light bulbs with CFL light bulbs. It will start saving you money immediately.

"You will literally drop your electric bill 10 to 20 percent by changing out to compact fluorescents," said Dutton.

The price for a four-pack of CFL light bulbs is about $5. Dutton said you can save up to $70 a year and the bulbs last ten times longer.

All of these products can be found at your area home improvement store.

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