MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Cheap ways to lower your energy bill

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Cicadas aren't the only things buzzing in our area - 90-degree days have air conditioners working overtime and raising your power bill. Here are a few gadgets that will pay for themselves and bring your bill under control.

One house owner implemented simple, inexpensive changes to keep his power bill low. Last month alone, the bill on his 3500 square foot house was only $92.

"Air leaks are a major problem, even in newer homes," said Andy Farmer, manager at Va Energy Sense.

Farmer bought the house in 2008. One of the first things he did was spray foam to seal the outlets.

"There were gaps, and the first winter we were here we could feel cool air coming through."

Then he installed foam gaskets to further seal the outlets.

"These are a small, inexpensive device that fits over the switch plate. Cover it up, and you've got a good seal," said Farmer.

Farmer uses a smart power strip for his entertainment center. When he shuts the TV off, it kills the power going into the TV and other components.

"You plug the TV into here, when you power up the TV it turns on the stereo, so that you're not using the vampire load into the stereo when it's not needed," said Farmer.

The extra port is for things like DVRs that you don't want to shut down. The smart strip only costs $20 to $30 - money you could recoop in a year.

For those of you who forget to change your air filter, Farmer has the solution.

"There are devices called filter whistles, and you install this on your filter, and once it reaches fifty percent block it will start whistling."

Many devices pull power even when they are turned off. A "Kill a Watt" will show you how much power you're using - letting you know which items should be unplugged when not in use.

The State of Virginia has a goal to reduce energy consumption by 10%. And there are many other inexpensive ways to do it.

Here are some links to additional information:

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