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6 energy-efficient home improvement projects

Hands holding energy rating house cutout © syda productions/

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You’ve heard the usual energy-saving advice: Buy only Energy Star-rated appliances, replace incandescent light bulbs with those curly fluorescents, shop for cheaper electric providers (if you can in your town). But numerous low-cost, energy-saving strategies escape homeowners’ attention.

Energy experts say about 35 percent of heating and cooling is lost through the roof, and more escapes through the walls, windows, doors and by air leaks. “Making your home energy-efficient means starting with the basics, and the most important of these are the proper sealing of air leaks and insulating sufficiently for your climate,” says Ronnie Kweller, who was spokeswoman for the Alliance to Save Energy in Washington, D.C., at the time of the interview. “Those steps can cut heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent.”

Here are some of the best bang-for-the-buck ways to save on home energy bills.

Financing home improvements can be easy with a personal loan. See your rate, how much you qualify for and payments on Bankrate.