Cut down on heating and cooling costs this year with these six tips.

Keeping your home cool and warm as seasons change throughout the year can be an expensive endeavor. According to Energy Star, the average household in America spends roughly $2,060 each year on home utilities alone. And while this expense category includes internet, cable, phone lines, trash, and other services, a big chunk of that number is often attributed to heating and cooling. Cut down on heating and cooling costs this year with these six tips.

Use a Space Heater

Heating the entire house can be unnecessarily expensive, particularly if you only use a fraction of the space at any given time. Instead, invest in an energy-efficient space heater and keep it in the room you spend the most time in. Most space heaters will have wheels, so it’s easy to move them across rooms. When shopping for space heaters, look for a unit that balances energy efficiency and cost. Features, such as a timer or built-in thermostat, give you better control over the machine at all times and prevent it from running when you don’t need it to.

Take Care of Your Furnace

The majority of households in the U.S. use some type of furnace to keep their home warm. Unfortunately, not many folks pay close attention to their furnace’s condition. Over time, your furnace’s parts wear out and clog. The furnace filters, for instance, can accumulate dirt and debris, which prevents air from passing through the system and forces your furnace to work harder to regulate indoor temperatures. Make it a point to replace your air filters at least once every six months.

Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat

Your old thermostat might still be working, but it could be costing you hundreds of dollars every year. Older thermostat models are not as efficient as smart or programmable ones in today’s market. Energy Star’s program estimates that households can save almost $200 per year simply by using a programmable thermostat. If you have the funds for it, going for a smart thermostat, which is slightly more expensive than programmable ones, can pay off more over the long run. Some utility providers may even issue you a rebate if you upgrade to a smart thermostat, such as a Nest or Ecobee.

Control Your Doors and Windows

Knowing when to open and close your windows and doors can be a simple, zero-cost trick to regulate indoor temperatures. During the summertime when indoor temperatures are high, you’ll want to keep your windows and doors open during the early morning and late evening hours to bring cool air inside. Once it starts to get too hot, close the apertures to prevent cool air from leaking out and hot air from getting in. During wintertime, keep doors and windows closed during early morning and late evening hours to prevent cool air from entering your home.

Choose Your Indoor Activities Wisely

Hot summer days can get even hotter if you decide to start baking or cooking in the middle of the day. The heat produced can linger inside for hours. The same goes for other common household chores, such as running your dishwasher or laundry washer/dryer. If you need to get any of these chores done, do so in the early morning and late evening hours when temperatures are lower. Do the opposite come wintertime. Heat your home by running these appliances at peak times when temperatures are at their lowest.

Wear More or Less Clothing

Wearing more layers of clothing keeps you warm and fewer layers keep you cool and breezy. Know what fabrics to wear during hot/cold weather. Winter-appropriate fabrics include cotton, faux leather, wool, and fleece. Meanwhile, breathable fabrics including linen, rayon, and denim are advised for summer temperatures. Consider investing in a mattress comforter as well for the winter season. Rather than keep your heating system running overnight, wear additional layers of clothing and stay underneath the comforter to retain body heat.

Final Thoughts

Regulating indoor temperatures is a matter of actually caring about the issue. No improvements can be made if you don’t take the issue seriously. If you wish to save on heating and cooling costs each year, the six aforementioned tips come as the most economic ways to do so.