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Tips for cutting energy bills at home

September 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The average American household spends $2,200 a year on home energy bills, and plenty of people pay even more as the growing number of electronics in your home is pushing those figures even higher. But there are ways to save.

Today we spend as much money powering our electronic gizmos as we do our appliances, and that's part of the reason our energy bills are on the rise. So Eyewitness News teamed up with Consumer Reports to find ways to save all over your house.

If you're tired of your money getting sucked up by high energy bills, there's help. Consumer Reports Senior Editor Daniel DiClerico says there are ways to save all over your house.

"Start with your electronics. Powering them can cost nearly as much as powering your kitchen appliances," says DiClerico.

More than a third of homes now have multiple computers and half have three or more televisions. But you may not realize your set-top box is a major energy guzzler. That plus a high-definition DVR can actually use more energy than some refrigerators.

"One way to save: Ask your cable company for a new box that meets Energy Star's 3.0 standards," says DiClerico.

Another money-saver is setting your computer to sleep or hibernate when you're not using it.

"Along with electronics, appliances account for 30 cents of every dollar you spend on electricity," says DiClerico.

For savings, when you're buying a new appliance, look for one with the Energy Star logo. The program has recently gotten stricter. And always look to cut your heating and cooling costs, which account for around 40 percent of typical energy use.

"The most effective way to do this: Insulate your attic. Make sure your ductwork is properly sealed, and eliminate any air leaks," said DiClerico.

Consumer Reports says many attics don't have enough insulation. Cellulose insulation should be at least 8 inches think, and fiberglass or rock wool at least 11 inches.

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