ATLANTA – Industry analysts expect that high oil prices and the devastation of this year's hurricanes will drive up the cost of home heating fuels this winter, and that has many homeowners looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that heating homes with natural gas will cost 41 percent more this year, and homes heated with oil will see a 27 percent increase in cost.
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Southface is just one conservation advocacy group telling homeowners they can reduce these costs with measures as simple as plugging leaks in their homes. Southface says not only do leaks allow hot air to escape, but also let mold and other allergens come inside.
"We're wasting a lot of energy, which means wasted money," explains Sydney Roberts of Southface. "But the homeowners are also sacrificing comfort and health."
Dave White, an energy efficiency expert with Home Depot, says that consumers can reduce their home heating bills by as much as 25 percent simply by adding weather-stripping to doors and windows and installing energy efficient light bulbs and timers.
"All the cracks and crevices around your house that are leaking air — if you add them all up together — it could be equivalent of having a broken window in your house and all the air going right out that window," White said.