You could get upgraded insulation installed in all the walls of your home, or buy a new high-efficiency furnace and air conditioner. These improvementswould certainly reduce your energy costs – but they each require a significant investment.
What if you don't have the budget?
There are a lot of little things you can do to make a big difference in your heating or cooling bill. Here are just a few examples:
• Turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees in winter. (And turn it up a few notches in summer.) Chances are, you'll hardly notice the difference in comfort, and you'll cut your heating/cooling costs by about 5%.
• Do you need the air conditioner on all the time during the summer months? Consider turning it way up, or completely off at night, when it's cooler outside.
• Invest in a programmable thermostat. That way, you'll be able to set up a schedule that uses less heating/cooling energy while you’re out of the house.
• Let the sunshine in through windows in the winter (and block the sun where possible in the summer.) "Passive heat gain" can contribute to up to 20% of the heat in your home. Best of all, the sun is free.
• Use energy efficient lights throughout your home. These can cut the cost of lighting by up to 40%!
• Be careful with outside lights, which can use a lot of energy! Turn them off before you go to bed or, better still, use programmable outside lighting that can be set to turn off automatically.
These are just a few ideas for reducing your energy bill. If you do some research, you can probably discover many other ways to cut your costs. It's worth the effort!