(NewsUSA) - As energy prices rise, Americans find themselves paying more to run their homes. But sparing even a little cash can mean big savings on home energy bills.
From simple do-it-yourself projects to complicated installations, improving homes' efficiency requires only knowledge and motivation.
American Home Shield (AHS), the nation's largest home-warranty service provider, offers five money-saving ways that homeowners can upgrade their homes:
1. Change Your Lightbulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use less energy, so they help homeowners save money on their utility bills. More efficient light bulbs also last longer, so homeowners can replace light bulbs less often.
2. Choose Energy-Efficient Appliances. Energy-efficient windows, doors and insulation preserve climate control and reduce the workload of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Energy-efficient appliances, such as dishwashers and refrigerators, reduce overall energy consumption.
3. Clean Your HVAC Coils. Hiring professionals to clean and maintain evaporator and condenser coils lengthens the life of your air conditioning system, potentially preventing costly repairs, while helping it operate more efficiently.
4. Program Your Climate Control Thermostat. When you're not home, why use the same amount of energy to cool or warm your home? Installing and using a programmable thermostat, which automatically adjusts home temperatures based on your schedule, saves energy and money.
5. Help Your Hot-Water Heater. Insulating your hot-water heater and its piping leading into the home helps the system operate more efficiently, conserving energy and saving money on utility bills.
The right home upgrades can help homeowners save money, not just on energy and water bills, but also on taxes.
"Check the Internal Revenue Service or Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency Web sites for federal and state tax savings opportunities related to energy conservation in the home," says Heather Wilson, a spokesperson for AHS.
AHS recommends that homeowners read their owners' manuals before attempting to work on any system or appliance, and when appropriate, contact an experienced professional to install or maintain equipment.