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Tips on how to cut your energy bills

November 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
More than 80 percent of homeowners are using energy-efficient light bulbs, but that's not the only way to save energy around your home. Here are a few tax credits and other tips that can help you save on your energy bills."You can probably cut your energy costs by 20 percent or more by adding insulation and energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment," said Consumer Reports' Dan DiClerico.

You can save even more if you qualify for federal energy tax credits due to expire at the end of the year. You can get a 30 percent tax credit of up to $1,500 on energy-efficiency improvements like insulation, sealing air leaks, and more reflective roofing.

"There are also federal energy tax credits available until 2017 for renewable energy systems, such as geothermal heat pumps and small wind turbines," said DiClerico.

You can also save energy by making simple changes around your own home.

"Five to 10 percent of your home's electricity goes to devices that continue to draw power even when they're not in use," said DiClerico.

So whenever possible, unplug devices like your coffeemaker and your cell phone after it's fully charged.

Plus, adjusting thermostat temperatures by five to 10 degrees at night and when you're not home can trim as much as 20 percent off your heating and cooling bills.

Consumer Reports says another energy-saver is to change the viewing mode on your TV. In the store, TVs are usually set with the brightness turned up high. But at home you can switch to the mode called "home use," which is more energy-efficient.