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LOWER YOUR BILLS WITH THESE HOME IMPROVEMENTS

The following types of home improvements will help make your home more energy efficient so you can save money.

Insulation

Insulation helps regulate the transfer of heat from your home to the outside. With proper insulation levels, your home will stay cooler when it's hot outside and warmer when the weather turns cold. Your heating and cooling systems will have to work less, and you'll spend less money on gas, electricity, or oil.

The easiest and most effective place to add insulation is in the attic. Before installing, determine what type of insulation is already present. The most common types are fiberglass, cellulose, rigid foam, rock wool and spray foam. Visit the EnergyStar site for a list of recommended insulation levels. Insulation is most efficient when air is not moving around it, so before installing more insulation, make sure you seal any air leaks.

Weatherproofing

Weatherproofing your home is also an easy upgrade that can make a big difference in your heating and cooling bills. Fix and seal holes, put new weather stripping on all outside doors, caulk pipes and wires and make sure your windows are properly sealed. These little items can add up to big savings.

New Windows

While a more major investment, new windows can dramatically lower your energy bills while also making your home look better. And according to Remodeling magazine's 2004 Cost vs. Value report, new windows recoup approximately 80% of their cost if you ever sell your home.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Refrigerators, clothes dryers and washers, furnaces, water heaters and dishwashers are all appliances that can add up to lots of money on your energy bill if they aren't efficient. If you are considering replacing any appliances, check the energy rating. The least expensive refrigerator may actually cost more over time than a mid-priced energy-efficient model.

Small Changes, Big Savings

Even little upgrades, including high-efficiency showerheads, faucet aerators, fluorescent light bulbs and low water toilets can make a big difference in your monthly home-related bills.