It’s no secret that heating and cooling expenses are the largest energy suckers in your home or office; by some estimates they can be responsible for up to 54% of your utility bill.

Making sure your HVAC is regularly serviced and running efficiently is important to keeping costs down. But did you know that the type of lighting you use or the kind of windows you have installed can also run up your bill?

Certain light fixtures can produce more heat than others, causing the air conditioner to work longer to maintain a specific temperature. And leaky windowsills or jalousie windows that allow small amounts of air to escape can make it harder to keep your house warm than if you have insulated window panes.

Other things to consider:

  • Appliances – whenever you buy or replace an appliance, choose an energy-efficient model. While higher in price initially, these models save you money in the long run by using less electricity to operate.
  • Lifestyle – many folks underestimate the importance of the thermostat dial. You can save money by setting the temperature as high as you can comfortably stand it in the summer and as low as you can take it in the winter. When leaving for an extended period of time, adjust the dial accordingly so you are not constantly heating or cooling an empty house.
  • Maintenance – get in the habit of checking and replacing filters on a regular basis. Also, make sure that air vents, radiators and the like are not blocked by furniture or drapes.
  • Drapes and blinds – put them to work for you by keeping them open or closed to take advantage of the sun and the seasons. In the winter, open the drapes during the day to allow the sun in, effectively warming up the room. In the summer, keep the sun’s heat out by keeping blinds closed.
  • Landscaping – the home’s perimeter can affect the interior. For example, a well-placed tree and plants at the windows can provide some shade, helping to reduce air conditioning costs.

By using a whole house approach, you can save from 20 – 50% on energy expenses. This is particularly important to remember when adding onto or remodeling a home.