Inexpensive tips for lowering your energy bill

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Published: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 12:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 12:12 p.m.

Here are some things you can do to slash your energy bill this winter; some take only a minute and don't require any upfront investment:

Make sure the damper is closed when the fireplace is not in use and that it's a tight seal, says David Lupberger, home improvement expert for ServiceMagic.com, a free service to connect homeowners with prescreened contractors. You don't want the heat in the house to escape through the chimney, he says.

Energy Star qualified CFLs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer, according to Energy Star.

Use a power strip for things that don't need to be on when you're not at home. For the computer, Harley says don't use the screen saver; turn the monitor off or put the whole computer in stand by.

Also unplug cell phone chargers when the phones aren't charging, he says. The same rule applies for hand-held vacuums.

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