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(NewsUSA) - If we all had Leo DiCaprio's millions, we too could spend a small fortune powering our mansions with solar panels without having to worry whether the investment would ultimately wind up cutting our energy bills or not. But we don't have Leo's millions. (Sigh.)
Which means not only won't homeowners likely also be purchasing a $3,000 energy-efficient toilet anytime soon -- what's a celeb's L.A. mansion without at least one, right? -- but that they've got to look for more realistic ways to shave their heating bills this winter.
"Many of us don't realize how much we are needlessly spending to keep warm," says Bankrate.com.
Read on for some expert tips -- including one slightly weird one.
* Adjust door thresholds. Popular Mechanics magazine uses the word "sneaky" to describe this money-saver. The theory being, if you can see daylight beneath your front door, it means the indoor air -- which, remember, you're paying to heat -- is escaping outside. "A little light in the corners is okay, but don't raise the threshold so high that it interferes with opening and closing the door."
* Use ceiling fans shrewdly. Here's one from the "Simple Little Tricks Department": "[Running fans] clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months," advises U.S. News & World Report. (For those who've permanently fled New York winters for Florida, say, try to contain your desire to gloat to those shoveling snow back home long enough to recall the opposite applies in warm climes.)
* Make certain your attic is properly ventilated. Homeowners are practically begging for higher energy bills if there's not what Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence, calls "a continual flow of air to protect the efficiency of your attic's insulation." Working against achieving that: the dreaded excess moisture build-up that clings to your roof's underside in winter from seemingly benign sources -- i.e., appliances, showers and cooking vapors -- before ultimately soaking the insulation when the condensed moisture falls.
Joplin's choice for heading off the problem is the Cobra Ridge Vent by GAF (www.gaf.com), North America's largest roofing manufacturer, because of its ability to "naturally promote ridge ventilation without electricity."
* One word: "plastic." Okay, here's the weird one. Jim Rogers has apparently seen so many poorly fitted windows in his time as president of the Energy Audit Institute that he advocates covering windows and sliding patio doors with clear plastic film. "Just by using that plastic," he's said, "you're going to save about 14 percent on your heating bill."
Sure, but tell that to your decorator.