How energy-efficient is your home?  While you can hire a professional to do an energy audit, you can first assess the energy efficiency of your home on your own, to find out where you might be losing the energy throughout the home and where you might be able to boost the efficiency throughout your home with these fixes.

Many programmable and 'smart' thermostats are available to keep your home comfortable without wasting energy

Control Your Thermostat Settings: When evaluating your home's energy use, start with your thermostat.  Can you program it? By having a thermostat that can be programmed, you’re able to save additional money in your energy bill. This is because when you have it lower at night, or while you’re away during the day, you’re not wasting heat or air conditioning on a home where no one is using it.

By adjusting temperatures on your thermostat at certain times, you’re more able to control the temperature and your energy costs.  There are some 'smart' thermostats that you can even control from your phone.

Check for Drafts:  Inspect your home for drafts .  This is much easier in cold weather because cold air is easier to detect than warm.  Look to see where cool air tends to come in and where it might be going out. These areas are mostly found around doors, windows and vents throughout the home. Passing a lighted candle around a window or door frame and watching for a flickering flame is a good way to check.  You can reduce the drafts in these areas when you seal around them. You want to make sure that each place has a tight fit, so that no drafts can get in or out of the home. Replacing Light Bulbs:  If you’re still using the old incandescent bulbs, then you might want to consider upgrading to the new energy-efficient types that are out there light compact fluorescents or other alternatives. Not only do they use less electricity but they are able to last much longer than the traditional bulbs. They can save you a lot of money in the long run, even if it is a little at a time. Regularly Replace Your Filters:  When you regularly replace the filters you’re able to get more out of the energy bill that you pay. This is because your furnace is not working as hard to pump the heat or cold air throughout your home. It is able to have a smooth running transaction and get this air where it needs to go without doing double the work.  And if your kitchen exhaust vent has a filter, either replace or clean it regularly. Checking the Rating of Appliances:  Your appliances can say a lot about the energy that comes in and out of your home. Not only should you have newer, more updated appliances that can save money but you’re able to get rid of old appliances that seem to run all the time and cause your energy bill to go way up. Always check for an EnergyStar label on the appliances that you’re considering purchasing.  Look for high-efficiency washers and dishwashers that have power saving settings like being able to switch off the heated dry cycle.  If you're going to leave the dishes in overnight, you probably don't need the dry cycle. When you’re ready to improve your home’s energy efficiency even more, talk to us about our exterior remodeling products such as siding, windows and roofing that are able to really make a difference when placed on your home. We are an exterior home remodeling company for the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, and we specialize in energy-efficient home improvements. Check out our Pinterest site for some green remodeling ideas.