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Green Week: How to Lower Your Utility Bill

To round out Green Week on CNBC, Carmen highlighted on Friday one of the most visible ways to take some of the sting out of your utility bills – solar panels.

But while you can save on the monthly electric bill, solar is still an initially cost-prohibitive way to power your home. According to CNBC’s Jim Goldman, who filed a report for the show, most homeowners still have to spend at least $20,000 to install the panels.

There’s good news on the horizon, though. Federal and state tax credits are easing the solar panel pain and now consumers have the option to lease the technology for a lower price. Also, the cost of solar panels is expected to decrease 50% between 2006 to 2012.

But if you still don’t have the money – or inclination – to install huge panels on your roof, there are other little ways you can cut back on your utility bills. Holter Graham, co-host of the new show Wa$ted on the eco-friendly channel Planet Green, offered two tips to save energy.

1. Break out the blowdryer. If you don’t have professionally insulated doors and windows, don’t worry. By just using some tape along the edges and then going over it with a hairdryer, you can create tight, almost invisible seal to keep out the cold air this winter.

2. Get down and dirty. Your air conditioner and your refrigerator are two major energy-sucking appliances that can get clogged up with dust and dirt. Take a minute to remove the filter from your AC unit, run it under cold water and then let it dry to get rid of all the dust particles. Once or twice a year you should also get behind the fridge and dust off the coils. These simple tasks will make both appliances do their jobs better and save you money in the process.

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