Video Exclusive: Lower Your Heating Bill

Yes, it's still very much summer, but the cold weather will be here faster than you think.

And with the chilly air comes that inevitable heating bill -- a cost that could be as much as double what it was last year due to the huge run in oil over the last several months.

It pays to be prepared, so watch the video to see Carmen's tips and tools for making sure that heating bill is as low as it can be come winter.

For the first three months of 2009, homeowners can expect heating oil and natural gas prices nearly as much as 35 percent higher than they were during the comparable period this year. This is according to a US Department of Energy forecast released last week. Electricity could be 10 percent higher.

There are three simple steps homeowners can take to reduce these higher future utility bills:

Seal your home--According to the government’s ENERGY STAR program, the most cost-effective action homeowners can take to improve energy efficiency is sealing and insulating their homes. Sealing gaps and cracks with silicone caulk, such as GE Silicone II, and insulating the home can reduce total energy costs by up to 10 percent. Silicone is waterproof and permanently flexible, unlike acrylic caulk. And silicone won’t shrink or crack like acrylic. In addition to saving hundreds of dollars a year, caulking a typical home will reduce C02 emissions by 1,700 lbs.

Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)--CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy than regular incandescent bulbs. The price of CFLs has come way down. Many local utilities even distribute them for free. Replacing three incandescent bulbs with CFLs will pay for itself in a few years and reduce C02 emissions by 300 lbs.

Install low-flow showerheads--High efficiency showerheads can cut hot water demand by an estimated 40 percent. Installing a low-flow showerhead will save hundreds of dollars and reduce C02 emissions by 350 lb.

For more information, visit caulkyourhome.com. --John, Washington, D.C.

Posted on: 22 Jul 2008 12:16 P.M.