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A few simple things to cut winter utility bills

Sunday - 11/6/2011, 8:40am  ET

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Caulking, weather stripping, and CFL light bults can help you save money on your winter heating bills. (WTOP Photo/Max Smith)

WASHINGTON - Those leaves piling up in your yard should serve as a reminder that winter is coming, and along with winter comes the cost of heating your home. But there are a few things you can do to save some money on your winter utility bills.

Rebuilding Together Alexandria recently held an event where volunteers gathered to help nearly 100 low-income families save on their winter bills by doing a few simple things.

They shared five energy efficient home tips that anybody can easily do around the home:

  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees: The Department of Energy says every 10 degree reduction in water temperature can save between 3 and 5 percent in energy costs.

  • Replaced incandescent light bulbs with CFLs: Compact fluorescent bulbs can cost as little as $6 and can last up to 12 times longer. They can save you up to $50 on electric bills over the life of the bulb.

  • Install foam gaskets for electrical outlets: Foam pieces can be inserted under the face plates of outlets and switches on external walls, helping to keep the warm air in and the cool air out of your home.

  • Cover air conditioning and hot water tanks: Covering window and wall-mounted air conditioning units during the winter months can help keep a home warmer. Putting a three-inch insulating jacket on a hot water tank can save up to $40 a year.

  • Caulk around doors and windows: Caulking and weather stripping can cut energy use, and save you nearly $200 a year.

WTOP's Max Smith contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)