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Keeping Lid On Home Heating Costs

Energy experts warn Americans had better prepare to shell out much more money to heat their homes this winter, due to seemingly ever-rising fuel costs.

But there are ways to keep your heating tab from going through the roof.

Danny Lipford, host of "Today's Homeowner," visits The Early Show with pointers on how to conserve both energy and the money in your wallet.

Among them:

Have Your Furnace Serviced

Your heat source is the biggest user of energy in your home during the winter. It only makes sense that your system should run as efficiently as possible. Having the heating system serviced and changing the filter regularly will ensure the system is operating as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.

Lower Temperature of Thermostat

For every degree that you lower the temperature in your home, you will save 2-3 percent of your total heating bill. You can adjust the temperature manually or install a programmable thermostat to do this automatically.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan on low, running clockwise, will re-circulate the warmer air that rises to the upper areas of your rooms. Recycling this air will make your rooms more comfortable.

Lower Water Heater Temperature

Your water heater works 24 hours a day to provide you with instant hot water when needed. Lowering this temperature will make your water heater work less, saving you money.

Insulate Water Pipes

Hot water pipes that are not insulated will start losing BTU's as soon as the water leaves your water heater. Insulating these lines with readily available "pipe wrap" will decrease the cost of heating your water.

Add Insulation to the Attic

Almost every attic needs more insulation. Plastic encapsulated insulation batts make installing additional insulation "itch free" and safer for the DIYer (Do-It-Yourselfer). All homes need at least 12-14 inches of insulation.

Seal Gaps & Cracks

Small cracks around windows, hose bibs and doors allow cold air to infiltrate the home, resulting in a more expensive effort to keep temperatures comfortable within the home. Sealing these cracks with exterior caulk or foam will make it easier and cheaper to heat your home this winter.

Insulate Your Windows

If new, insulated windows are not in your budget, consider applying an inexpensive window insulation kit. Kits contains double-stick tape and a thin plastic film that, when installed on the interior of your window, creates an air cushion to block cold air.

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