Invest in upgrades if possible
Heat is often lost in homes due to air leaks and bad insulation. A leaky foundation and an attic are often culprits where heat can escape from a home. Upgrading windows to Energy Star rated efficient products can be expensive but can be worth it in the savings of heat costs as well as qualifying for grants and or rebates on your taxes.
If you do not want to spend money on an energy audit, do some simple tests yourself to check for common areas for air leaks near electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, mouldings, windows and door frames. You can light a stick of incense and watch to see where the smoke flows horizontally to find leaks. A little caulking or installing good weather stripping can go a long way on a short budget as well.
Evaluate your appliances
If you are looking into purchasing new appliances, you will want to look into those that have Energy Star ratings. They are extremely efficient and some washing machines can use 50 percent less water than standard models. They also have water heaters that take up less space, last longer and use 50 percent less energy. Using these type of appliances can save you hundreds possibly thousands of dollars over a year on your billing costs.
Update your furnace
Energy Star rated gas furnaces can be very costly but you be able to receive reimbursements from making the conversion. Get some estimates from local appliance providers and do the math before you make the switch. A cheaper alternative may be to install programmable thermostats in your home. If you set the temperature on average 5 degrees lower while you sleep at night or while you are away from your home during the day, you can save on heating costs.
Hot water can be expensive so why not switch the temperature dial on the washing machine to cold no matter what you are washing? Many detergent brands are catching on to this trend offering cold water formulas and need less water to wash clothing. Give your dryer a break when possible also and consider using drying racks. Monitor the time you spend in the shower and the temperature. Quicker, colder showers can help reduce heating bills as well.