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Lower your utility bills with a free energy audit

November 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
At this time of year, as temperatures go down, the thermostat goes up. And so do the energy bills. But a free home energy audit by your utility company could help you lower your bills.

An auditor will go through the home, pointing out all the places you can save energy and in turn save money. The fireplace is a common spot overlooked.

"Making sure that it's closed and I didn't realize that it was open all night. So here I got the heater on and all this money is going out the door," said Long Beach resident Gloria Bradley, who had an auditor come out to her home.

She was also advised to keep the refrigerator as full as possible.

Utility companies like SoCal Edison offer the energy audit at no cost to their customers. An auditor can come to the home or it can be done over the phone or online.

"We've seen saving through different programs that we offer, anywhere from 10 percent all the way to 30 percent savings on your energy bill," said Richard Genece, residential portfolio manager of energy efficiency programs for Southern California Edison.

There's no reason you can't do a home energy audit yourself and then pick up the products at a local home improvement store like Home Depot. One new product that's affordable and can help you save energy is dimmable LED lighting.

"They have come down in price... like a 40-watt (or) 9-watt bulb is only $9.97 and lasts 50,000 hours so that's the last bulb you're ever going to buy," said Arnold Chaparro, a Home Depot store manager.

And if you do some energy upgrades in your home, you may qualify for some substantial rebates. SoCal Edison offers two energy upgrade programs - a basic package and an advanced package. Homeowners could get up to $1,000 in rebates on the basic program and up to $4,000 on the advanced plan.

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