• Keep furniture away from heat and air conditioning vents.
• Make sure blinds, drapes and shades are closed during the day in the summer to block out the sun. However, in the winter you should leave them open so the sun can heat your home.
• Install a programmable thermostat.
• Change the air filter in your furnace routinely to keep it running efficiently.
• Use ceiling fans instead of the air conditioner. Ceiling fans are cheaper to operate and circulating air feels cooler.
• Insulate your house and attic properly.
• Replace old windows with energy efficient ones.
• Choose high-efficiency appliances. For example, high-efficiency washers use half the water as a standard model. Also, wash clothes in cold water to save about $63 a year.
• Be sure to use low-flow faucets and shower heads to save on water bills.
• Use LED lights. LEDs are one of today’s most energy-efficient lights. LED light bulbs last longer, are more durable and offer comparable or better light quality.
• Turn off lights, appliances and electronics not in use. Use a power strip that can turn off multiple items at once.
• Catch air leaks by caulking, sealing and weather-stripping them.
• Consider alternate forms of energy. For example, solar energy can help save the environment and money.
Remember, your home is one of your biggest investments and it's important to make sure it's running efficiently and cared for by trusted professionals. BBB can always help, with lists of BBB Accredited Businesses in different industries (heating contractors, landscapers, appliance dealers, plumbing contractors, window companies, etc.) and BBB Business Reviews on one's you're considering. Contact your BBB by visiting www.bbb.org or calling (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.
John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.