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8 money saving home improvements

As energy costs rise, you might be looking for ways to be more energy-efficient without breaking the bank. Here are eight money-smart moves to consider when making home renovations.

1. ANYTHING LOW-FLOW
In addition to saving water, low-flow fixtures will save you more than a buck or two. Inexpensive and easily installed, low-flow fixtures can reduce your home water consumption by as much as 50 percent and can save you up to $145 per year, according to Energy Star, a government program that promotes energy-efficiency. Low-flow showerheads cost about $20 at home improvement stores.

2. FIBERGLASS INSULATION
Insulation keeps your house warm in the winter, cool in the summer and reduces heating and cooling costs by as much as 20 percent, according to Green Energy Solutions, Inc., a company that specializes in retrofitting buildings to make them more energy-efficient. You can pick up a roll of insulation for about $15 at home improvement stores.

3. COMPACT FLOURESCENT LIGHT BULBS
Fluorescent bulbs last four to 10 times longer than regular light bulbs. While they’re more expensive initially, you’ll save about $6 per year on energy bills, according to Energy Star.

4. A CLEAN DISHWASHER
Modern dishwashers use an average of 5.8 gallons of water per cycle, while older models can use as much as 10 gallons per cycle. According to Energy Star, you could save around $8 per year in energy costs by making this upgrade. Or, you could clean and repair your current washer if it’s only a few years old. Check out this guide from Better Homes and Gardens to learn how to maintain your dishwasher.

5. A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
Programmable thermostats have become popular due to their energy- and money-saving benefits. When used properly, this device can save users up to $150 per year, and it’s generally more accurate than a regular thermostat, according to Energy Star.

6. WEATHER STRIPPING
You might be surprised to find how much money you could save by patching up that draft in your kitchen or bedroom. In homes that haven’t been weather stripped, air leaks account for 30 to 40 percent of heating and cooling loss, according to Energy Star. Weather stripping materials start for as little as $5 at home improvement stores.

7. A TANKLESS WATER HEATER
Tankless water heaters allow users to shave 20 percent off their water bill. In addition to lasting five to 10 years longer than tank heaters, tankless heaters never run out of hot water. Plus, you get a federal tax rebate if you purchase one, according to Energy Star.

8. CEILING FANS
A ceiling fan will help keep your home at a comfortable temperature while reducing your energy bill by about $15 per year, according to Energy Star. Ceiling fans are priced at about $50 at home improvement stores

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