As winter closes in, it brings the inevitable upward creep of utility bill costs. But when homeowners invest wisely in products and take other steps to weatherize, many of these costs can be controlled, lowered or even eliminated—totaling as much as 10 percent to 30 percent, according to the National Plan for Energy Efficiency from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
To determine a household's biggest energy drains and decide the best course of action for lowering bills, some homeowners choose to have an energy audit. These can be performed for a fee or in some cases they are free of charge. For example, New York offers a Home Performance with Energy Star comprehensive home energy assessment, free for most New Yorkers.
Wherever the home's location, research is likely to pay off: There are often rebates, low-interest loans, cash-back incentives or grants available to make energy efficient upgrades and home improvements.
What follows are suggestions from experts in 10 categories that can reduce the dreaded winter utility bills. We'll begin with the obvious, then jump into some less anticipated energy fixes and upgrades that can make a difference.
—By Colleen Kane
Posted 6 Nov. 2013
Follow her on Twitter @ColleenKane.