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Slash Your Energy Bills

These 6 simple home improvements could save you up to $1,000 a year

1. Plug wall openings

Spend: $7

Save: Up to $150 a year

About 15 percent of air leakage in the average home occurs through wall openings. Spray insulating foam sealant ($4 a can) around holes for outdoor faucets and wiring, and install foam gaskets ($3 for a package of 10) around indoor electric outlets and light switches.

2. Weatherize windows and doors

Spend: $50 to $100

Save: Up to $200 a year

A few $5 tubes of water-based acrylic caulk can seal tiny leaks around windows and doors. For another $40 to $70, apply weather stripping to door frames. And $15 will buy you enough plastic shrink film to cover 10 older, single-pane windows.

3. Update your thermostat

Spend: $80

Save: Up to $200 a year

Do you like your house to stay nippy at night but feel toasty when you wake up? A programmable thermostat — one that you set to adjust temperatures automatically — can cut 20 percent from heating and cooling bills, according to Consumer Reports.

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