Ideas to cut energy bills

It costs more than $2,200 a year in energy bills to run the average American home, and more than half of that is for heating and cooling.

The experts at personal finance company Wallet Hub have this advice for lowering those bills:

1. Get an energy audit. You’ll have an easier time sealing an energy leak if you know where it is, and an auditor can show you.

2. Replace all of your incandescent light bulbs with LEDs—even if they’re not burned out yet. They’re wasting more money in energy costs than you’ll waste by replacing them before they’re spent.

3. Use caulk to seal cracks and gaps around windows.

4. Add attic insulation and make sure it’s property attached.

5. Learn about the energy use of your appliances. The more you understand about energy, the less of it you’ll waste.

6. If you’re planning to move to a newly built home, choose and architect or builder who is committed to “green building” and energy efficiency. Many green building strategies don’t cost any more when they’re incorporated during construction—like making energy-efficient choices for the direction the house faces and where the windows are placed.

7. Replace outdated furnaces and air conditioning systems with updated models that are designed to work more efficiently, waste less energy and save you money.

8. When you replace appliances, look at more than the price tag. Consider how much it will cost you each year to operate the equipment. Often, the savings on your energy bill will more than make up for the slightly higher price you pay for more efficient models.

9. If you’re remodeling your home, make energy efficiency as high a priority as more visible upgrades like a beautiful granite countertop or new cabinets. You can’t “see” energy efficiency, so it’s too often out of sight, out of mind.