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Simple Household Tools And Gadgets ($)

These easy at-home energy savers will instantly improve your home's energy-efficiency, and save money on your utility bill. A quick trip to the home improvement or hardware store will set you on your way.

  1. Weatherizers

    The gaps around the windows and doors in an average American house are the equivalent of a 3 foot by 3 foot hole in the wall! Caulk and weather-strip to seal off these air leaks.

    • Stop air from escaping under doors with "sweeps" or "shoes" attached to the bottom.

    • Use window putty to seal gaps around loose window panes.

    • Cover bare floors with padded rugs for added insulation.

    • Look for other air leaks you can seal, such as those around plumbing penetrations or ceiling-mounted lighting fixtures.

    • Better yet, call an energy rater who can test your house for hidden leaks with a "blower door." (See the section on long-term energy efficiency for details.)
  2. Compact fluorescent bulbs

    Lighting accounts for about 15 percent of household energy use. If you swap the five standard light bulbs you use most for energy-saving compact fluorescents, you can save roughly $60 each year on electricity. Make sure you use EnergyStar compact fluorescents, which are tested for quality and longevity.

  3. Water Heater Blankets

    Bundle up your water heater, especially if it's located in an unheated part of the house.

  4. Fresh Filters

    Keep your air-conditioning and heating systems properly maintained by changing air filters and keeping air conditioner coils clean.

  5. Low-Flow Showerheads and Faucet Aerators

    Replacing old models with new low-flow designs prevents the energy used to heat water from going down the drain.

Next: Long-Term Energy Efficiency

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