Homeowners Taking Action to Conserve Energy Costs this Winter

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ServiceMagic® reports a 32 percent increase in online consumers’ energy conservation tasks.

Americans have heard the warnings that energy costs are on the rise and they’re taking action. Some are addressing the issue with small fixes but many are thinking longer-term

In the face of higher energy costs many Americans are choosing not to sacrifice comfort but instead are taking matters into their own hands. ServiceMagic, Inc., http://www.servicemagic.com, a national Web based business that connects consumers with prescreened and customer-rated residential contractors, reports a 32 percent increase in online consumer service requests related to energy conservation during the fall of 2005 as compared to 2004. Projects ranged from adding insulation to installing new doors and windows to servicing and replacing central heating systems.

“Americans have heard the warnings that energy costs are on the rise and they’re taking action. Some are addressing the issue with small fixes but many are thinking longer-term,” said Rodney Rice, co-CEO of ServiceMagic. “We continue to see consumers using our service to hire prescreened contractors to help them make their homes more energy efficient. From simple improvements like adding weather-stripping around windows and doors to more involved improvements like replacing older windows with double-pane, energy efficient ones, homeowners are doing their part to eliminate wasted energy and money.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American household spends $1,500 annually on energy bills – a number that may go up as much as 50 percent this year. Almost half of that energy goes to heating and cooling the home. On average, homes heated with natural gas will see the biggest increase in energy costs this winter with a 41 percent increase, according to the Energy Information Administration, followed by oil with a 27 percent increase and households heated by electricity will see a 5 percent increase this winter. However, should colder weather prevail, expenditures could be significantly higher.

Taking action to conserve energy will not only lower monthly energy bills, but may help around tax time as well. Many homeowners may not realize that when tax season comes, they can benefit from their energy conservation efforts. Earlier this year, Congress passed the first comprehensive energy bill that will help American families save energy and money at tax time. Homeowners may be eligible to receive the following credits.

Up to 30 percent of the cost, or up to $2,000, for installing solar-powered hot-water systems used exclusively for purposes other than heating swimming pools and hot tubs.

Up to $500 on the amount spent to upgrade thermostats, to caulk leaks, or to stop energy waste.

Up to $200 credit for installation of new exterior windows.

Up to $300 credit for purchases of a highly efficient central air conditioner, heat pump or water heater.

Up to $150 for installation of a highly efficient furnace or boiler.


ServiceMagic®, Inc., headquartered in Golden, Colo., is the nation's leading online marketplace

connecting homeowners with prescreened and customer-rated home service professionals. Using

proprietary technology to match consumer service requests with local service professionals in real time, the company addresses more than 500 different home service needs that range from simple home repairs and maintenance to complete home remodeling projects. ServiceMagic is an operating business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI). For more information visit http://www.servicemagic.com.

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Elaine Schoch
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