As the temperatures drop, it’s a good time to think about how to keep your home comfortable without a dramatic increase in the heating bill. Did you know that heating/cooling is the largest energy expense for most homes, accounting for 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home (according to the U.S. Department of Energy)?

The Department of Energy offers several tips on how to improve the efficiency of your house. Here are a few easy ways to save money and energy this winter:

Install a programmable thermostat. By regulating your home and lowering the desired temperature when you’re asleep or not home, you can save significantly. This is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to lower your energy bills each month.

Maintain your HVAC system. Your air conditioner and furnace can lose their efficiency when they’re not maintained. Have your system serviced professionally every 12 months and make sure to clean filters monthly and replace them periodically. Check air ducts and heating pipes to make sure they’re sealed and air vents to ensure nothing is blocking them.

Take advantage of natural solar heating. In West- and South-facing rooms where you have natural light, open the blinds or curtains to naturally heat the home. To keep the heat inside, make sure to close them at night.

Add insulation or seals. Up to 25 percent of the home’s heat is lost through cracks and holes! Make sure to seal any areas and add insulation to your attic and walls.

Seal ducts in unheated areas. If your crawlspace or attic has any air ducts, make sure they are sealed properly.

Turn on ceiling fans. Hot air rises, so turn on your ceiling fans (on reverse) to blow any warm air down to the area where you live day to day. You’ll feel more comfortable and might be able to lower your heat by a degree or two.

Put down rugs on hard-surface floors. Rugs on tile or hardwood flooring can help insulate the home and keep your toes warm when you’re walking around barefoot!

Buy ENERGY STAR products. If you do invest in a new furnace, make it ENERGY STAR. These products meet the strictest energy-efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For residents of the southern half of the United States, U.S. South ENERGY STAR furnaces are up to 12 percent more efficient than standard models. Those for the colder, northern states are up to 16 percent more efficient than their baseline counterparts.

Of course, if you’re considering purchasing a new home at Trilogy, you’ll be happy to know that our SheaSolar homes offer a suite of energy-efficient features that can help to reduce monthly utility bills. Contact your Community Representative to learn more about what’s included in our beautiful homes in the Trilogy community you’re considering. We’re very proud of our commitment to green living and we know it matters to you, too!