When determining the answer to “What price house can I afford“, one of the important things to consider in addition to that monthly mortgage payment is your utility bills. They can take a big chunk out of your budget if you’re not careful.

3 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient

The average family spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills, according to EnergyStar.gov, but many are paying a whole lot more. If you don’t want to be part of that group, consider these three ways of making your home more energy-efficient to help reduce the high costs of utility bills.

Get a Smart Thermostat

If your thermostat is adjusted too low during the warmer months of the year or too high when it’s cold out, it can have a huge impact on your energy bills as you probably know. Making your home more energy-efficient starts with developing the habit of keeping the temperature down or increasing the temperature of your home while you’re away depending on the season. Dropping it or raising it by only three to five degrees can make a significant difference in how much energy your home uses overall, dramatically impacting that monthly utility bill

Of course, this can be easier said than done, so you might want to invest in a smart thermostat. This device allows you to automate and monitor temperatures throughout your home. They can be controlled using your smartphone so that you can keep a close eye on the temperature and even cool it down in the summer or heat it up in the winter just before you walk in from a long day at work too. They can be controlled via smartphone apps and are often compatible with devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

 Upgrade the Insulation

 One of the most effective ways to make your house more energy-efficient is to add insulation. That helps prevent heat from escaping from ducts, doors, windows, and walls during the winter, potentially improving your home’s energy draw by as much as 30%. If you can’t afford to upgrade the insulation, doing things like adding draft guards to outside doors and sealing windows can help. Adding thermal shades not only helps to block summer sun, but it can help your home retain more heat in the winter.

Invest in Solar Panels

While the initial investment can be costly, getting solar panels installed can be one of the best things you can do for a more energy-efficient home, helping you to save significantly in the long run. They’ve become a popular way to generate electricity and heat hot water for homes, which not only brings savings but by promoting lower fossil fuel usage you might even qualify for annual tax incentives. While you might be tempted to find the cheapest deal possible, consider that the higher quality equipment you buy, the more likely it is to bring you the most savings over a couple of decades. That means the overall value for higher quality solar panels is actually much better, costing less over time.