You could get upgraded insulation installed in all the walls of your home, or buy a new high-efficiency furnace and air conditioner. These improvements would 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!
Thinking of Moving? Two Things You Need to Know
If you're thinking of making a move within the next few months, there are two important things you need to know.
The first is the market value of your current property. That's the amount your home will likely sell for on today's market. When you know its market value, you'll have a better idea of how much money will be available to invest in a new home.
The second is an overview of what's available on the market. Which of the homes currently available for sale meet your criteria with respect to type of home, special features (such as a big kitchen or pool), neighbourhood, etc? How much are these homes selling for?
With those two pieces of information, you'll be able to make a better decision.