When it comes to energy efficiency it seems that we do not really know where to start. It seems that we are really afraid of how much we will have to spend to become more efficient.

We ask ourselves some basic questions such as: Where do I start and how should I do it? Will I have to replace my heating and cooling unit? The answer really is no.

There are a few simple tips that you can practice and you can begin to save money and cut your utility bills. No matter what season of the year we are in, it is always a great idea to follow these few tips to keep your energy cost down.

Lighting accounts for about 11 percent of a home’s energy usage. You can switch to CFL’s to help you save money. An ENERGY STAR qualified CFL uses about 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb.

These bulbs do not produce as much heat as a traditional bulb and they also last up to 10 times longer. Although they are more expensive, they will save money over the life of the bulb.

Filling the cracks
Go around and check for cracks around the doors and windows. Invest in a tube of caulking or silicone for about $2. It is very easy to find the cracks around doors and windows you can feel the air move in and out, and you can see some daylight through some of these cracks.

Use caulk around windows, dryer vents, fans and other openings in your walls. Check all the doors for cracks.
It is always wise to add that little bit of extra weather stripping around the doors for about $4 dollars a roll this is not a bad investment. Also, check for air movement around your switches and receptacles. You can find sealing kits for receptacles and outlets for around $2.

Apply weather strip around your attic stairs. You can also install an insulator box around your attic stairs. A kit cost around $40. Doing these simple steps will save you around $200 a year on your utilities!

Programmable thermostats
At around $40 dollars a programmable thermostat makes it a bigger investment but can save you up to $180 a year.

You can program these thermostats to kick on and off according to your lifestyle. This will let the unit run less. While no one is around keeping the temperature to a moderate level and adjust to a more comfortable setting when there are family members at home.

Sealing ductwork
Before it is too hot in the attic it is not a bad idea to check your ducts for leaks. You can buy foiled back tape for around $6 a roll and a bucket of mastic for around $12 a bucket.

Turn your unit on and inspect the ducts for any air escaping. Not only will this keep air escaping into your attic it will also keep hotter air from invading your ducts and your ducts will blow cooler air. Properly sealed ductwork can save you up to $170 a year.

Water heater insulation
Blankets are not just for keeping people warm. A water heater blanket will save you in water heating cost. It helps keep in the heat so your water stays hotter longer keeping your heater running less to help you cut down on energy cost. You can choose a blanket with an insulating value of about R-8 for about $20. This alone could save you around $70 per year. Also, try keeping your thermostat around 120 degrees.

These are just a few simple low-cost things that you can do to become more energy efficient and to help you save money.

Author's Bio: 

A writer from age 14 with a great passion for words. Changing the world one post at a time.