By Lou Young

LARCHMONT, N.Y. (CBS 2) — The chill of winter has found its way into under-insulated homes, sending utility bills through the roof as heating systems struggle to keep up.

However, experts said that instead of springing for a new heat system, a simple insulation job, a set of storm doors or some new windows could be a better solution.

“Normally, you would want to insulate your home first — create the envelope to reduce the amount of heat loss,” Marc Berman, of All Makes Heating & Air Conditioning Corporation, told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

Danielle Goldsmith is among those finding out that her house is bleeding heat.

Goldsmith told Young that she woke up one morning to find her kids with their hats and scarves on because of the cold air entering her home. On Tuesday, she was having an energy audit done to find ways to reduce the heat loss in her house.

It is estimated that as many 98 million U.S. homes are under-insulated — wasting 20 percent or more of the heat they’re generating. That waste can quickly add up the dollars on monthly energy bills.

Phil Price, of Pelham, had new insulation installed in his attic. For that, he will receive a $1,500 tax credit and lower utility bills, according to the installer.

“After I felt that cold breeze blowing through the house this year, I said ‘let’s do it,'” Price said.

Even with utility company rebates and tax credits, many improvements are very expensive — some costing thousands of dollars. However, experts said that until they are made, people’s money would continue to go up in smoke.

Comments (3)
  1. Richard says:

    Insulating is the biggest bang for your buck! I cut my heating bill in half by insulating.and caulking the gaps around my windows. I live in the Midwest and heat with natural gas. My house was built in 1920 and most of it had no insulation at all. The first year I lived there my gas bills totaled over $2600, the next year after insulating it was just a bit over $1300! MY insulation has already paid for itself! I’ve done a lot since, new furnace, 2 doors and a tank-less water heater. I’m on a budget now its $58 a month or $696 a year. Its going to take a long time for payback on those improvements. Before you make improvements check with you local utility companies for additional savings there is a lot of our Federal and State money out there besides the rebates.

  2. DaRealStory says:

    Let’s say you spend $6,000.00 on these “improvements” to your home. The government gives you a tax “credit” of $1,500.00 and you save $50.00 a month on utilities. Now couple that with the cost of the new loan that was required just so you could afford the upgrades and how much of a savings is this? How long do you really think it will take before you start seeing a savings each month? Years or decades perhaps. If these so called improvements could save you 200 bucks a month then it might be worth it years from now. The sales guy will tell you all sorts of stuff like it will increase the value of your home, or you’ll be more comfortable, or you’ll save money. Very few people are selling homes right now, a humidifier and small oil heater will make any winter better and when has anyone ever saved money by tossing it down the drain? I am willing to bet that you will be more comfortable with 6,000.00 in your pocket and so will the sales guy.

  3. Cupme says:

    Phil, your a sucker, see how much you really save after 12 months. Of course the sales guy is going to talk a good game, he’s the sales guy… Do you really expect him to tell you the truth? look just put plastic wrap on the inside of your windows even if you have double pane windows. You will never see a real savings on the home improvements but you will see your bank account get smaller. Improving your home right now is a big waste of money and only puts you more in debt. You will never make it up in monthly savings or by selling your home.

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