Take advantage of energy rebates
Many states will reward you for making your home more energy efficient.
You could qualify for a rebate or tax break, whether your project is big or small.
In Florida, for example, you can qualify for up to $20,000 by installing solar panels that convert sunlight to electricity on your roof. The rebate for a less costly solar water heating system is a more modest $500.
If you live in New Jersey and replace your old washing machine with a new one from the state's list of energy-efficient washers, you'll qualify for a $50 to $75 rebate.
In Arizona, you could get up to $400 back for upgrading your air conditioning units.
For a complete list of what states have what programs, go to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
Just about anything you can do to make your home more energy efficient makes a lot of sense right now.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says families that use natural gas could see a 30% to 50% increase in their heating bills this winter. Those who burn fuel oil should expect to pay 50% to 100% more.