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You can make many improvements yourself, such as sealing small cracks, insulating and applying weather stripping. For assistance in making these changes, click here. If you are unsure about exactly how to go about your project, numerous videos available on the internet may be helpful. To get started, click here to view weather stripping-related videos.

If you would prefer to hire someone to do the work, see Ten Questions to Ask Your Contractor for assistance in finding the right person for the job.

If your improvement project involves purchasing equipment of any kind, it is important to select the most energy efficient version possible. In some instances, rebates or tax credits will help lower the costs of your project.

During tax years 2009 and 2010, the Federal home energy efficiency tax credit will cover 30% of the cost of purchasing EnergyStar rated equipment such as HVAC appliances and hot water heaters. However, not all EnergyStar equipment qualifies for the tax credit, so before you purchase, please check www.EnergyStar.gov for a list of equipment eligible for the tax credit. NOTE: This credit was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2010 but was extended in a modified version. For more information on this, please click here.

Utilities often offer rebates for energy efficient upgrades on items ranging from refrigerators to water heaters. Each utility is different, so it is important to check with your electric and gas provider.