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Looking for ways to cut your winter energy bills?

With heating prices increasing, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that home heating oil, natural gas, and electricity will cost roughly 10% more this winter than last. Getting your home ready for this winter season is important.

You’re probably familiar with the fundamentals such as sealing leaky windows and turning your thermostat down at night but are you aware of some recent products that can chop high heating bills more easily or effectively?

1. Remote programmable thermostats – Programmable thermostats are a must-have. They allow you to automatically turn down the heat at night and when you’re out, shedding up to 10% off your energy costs. The most up-to-date versions go one step further. They connect to the Internet so you can regulate the heat remotely.

2. Storm windows that go inside, not out – If your windows are older and drafty, but you’re not willing to pay out up to $1,000 each to put in energy-efficient replacements, there’s a new option: interior storm windows. The windows have an aluminum frame that spring-load to fit your window. Normally they cost as much as or less than outside storm windows and are just as energy saving.

3. Thermal leak detector – Current models accurately pinpoint where energy seepage is happening. The two most common trouble spots are around outlets and light fixtures. Once you have identified the problem areas either you or a professional can seal them.

4. More efficient attic insulation – New insulation material such as spray foam and cellulose is more energy-efficient and friendlier to your health and the environment. Updating the insulation in your attic and caulking cracks can save you up to 30% on energy expenses and if you complete it by Dec. 31 you will be eligible for a federal tax credit of 30% of the total you spent, up to $1,500.