\u200bManaging the household budget not only helps homeowners monitor what they spend. It can also reveal ways to save money. One of the ways you can save hundreds of dollars each year is by taking control of your home’s energy costs. There a many ways this can be done, but we’ll take a look at five very common and easy to implement ideas. Use a programmable thermostat. Many homes may already have programmable thermostats installed. Using it properly is the key to reducing energy usage and costs. A programmable thermostat can be set to keep temperatures comfortable during the times most needed. But, more importantly, it can be used to adjust settings while you’re away from home or at bedtime. To get the greatest benefit from a programmable thermostat make sure you take the time to learn how to use it. Use low-flow toilets. Just flushing the toilet can use three to seven gallons of water per flush. The water used by the toilet makes up a large portion of your water bill. By installing low-flow toilets you can reduce water usage to around one gallon per flush. Amazingly, this can save over 10,000 gallons of water each year. If you don’t want to install new toilets, try using a method to displace water in the tank. You can do this by placing a weighted object in the tank, like a plastic bottle filled with water, sand, or rocks. The will reduce the amount of water used for each flush. Weather stripping and caulking. Air leaks account for 30% to 40% of heat and cooling loss from the home. Installing, or replacing, weather stripping and caulking areas that allow heat to escape or enter the home can reduce energy costs. Check for gaps around windows, doors, chimneys, foundations, and outside plumbing. Sealing air leaks can reduce heating and cooling losses, as well as improve the effectiveness of insulation by reducing dampening moisture. Cold water washing. Washing clothes with hot or warm water results in 90% of the energy used when doing laundry, making it the largest energy consumption in the home. Using cold water can get clothes just as clean, uses less energy, and saves money. If you’re a doubter, consider using a detergent made for cold water washing. Switch to prepaid electricity. Prepaid electricity has been met with some resistance, but the truth is it gives you more control over your electricity bill and budget. With prepaid electricity homeowners are able to closely monitor energy usage and make adjustments as needed. It makes you more aware of lights or electronics being left on when a room is not being used. Prepaid electricity accounts can result in 10% to 15% savings. It can also allow you to make the same payment each month once you become familiar with your energy costs, thus giving your more control over your household budget. Other ways to save on electricity include having an energy audit performed by your electricity provider to help identify ways to reduce energy usage. You might also ask about specials offered by the company, such as free nights and weekends. Need ideas on making your home more energy efficient before putting it on the market for sale? Or, do you want professional assistance in finding and purchasing an energy efficient home? Give me a call and let me get started on helping you with your real estate needs in the Clear Lake City, League City, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, Kemah, Dickinson and Houston Bay areas.