Do-it-yourself home-energy audit

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Money Management International's Guide to Energy-Efficient Summer Savings for Your Home

Having an interest in conserving energy isn't only about saving money, but that extra cash sure is a nice reward for helping the planet, Cate Williams, vice president of financial literacy at Money Management International (MMI) said. At MMI our mission is to improve lives through financial education. We offer budgeting advice to an average of 40 thousand consumers per month. This month we are helping consumers beat the heat while combating the high cost of energy. To perform a home energy audit, ask yourself the following questions.

Are you being light bright? Consider switching to energy smart light bulbs and energy saving power strips. They use less electricity and will help you save on your electric bill.

Do you own energy efficient appliances? Check your appliances to make sure they are not wasting energy and your money. Test the rubber-like seal around the door of your refrigerator by closing the door on a dollar bill. If the dollar slides out easily, your refrigerator may be leaking cold air into the house. Energy Star appliances, which are approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy, can save you up to $700 per year according to .

Is your thermostat working when you're not around? Letting your AC run when you are not at home can rack up your bill. A good rule of thumb for when you are not at home is to turn your AC five degrees higher than you normally have it set. If you are willing to make the initial investment, a programmable thermostat can save you money in the long run.

Is your yard going green? Landscaping is a fun summer project that can provide shade and wind barriers for your home while you give back to the earth. Worried about your water bill? Try watering at night to cut back on evaporation.

During hot summer months having an energy-efficient home can save you money.