Many homeowners are making commitments to reduce their carbon footprints by choosing sustainable, green living alternatives when it comes to home ownership. With the fall season fast approaching, there is no better time of year than now to get started on achieving your goals for improved energy efficiency. Here are the top 7 ways in which you can improve the planet and also lower your energy costs this upcoming fall.

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#1 Keep an Eye on Your Thermostat

Take control of how you warm your home by monitoring your thermostat’s usage. Lowering your thermostat while you are asleep or away from home can significantly save on your heating bill. Also consider purchasing a modern programmable or smart thermostat which can save users up to $150 per year in costs. These digital thermostats are more accurate when compared to regular thermostats and they can help to reduce energy consumption during peak hours.

#2 Replace Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are known to increase power usage, not to mention they burn out more often. Multiply the savings by changing all the bulbs in your home to energy-efficient options instead. Halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are all great choices for maximized efficiency when lighting the home. These bulbs require less energy consumption and they last much longer when compared to their incandescent counterparts.

#3 Add Weather Stripping

Drafty windows, interiors, basements, or attics can account for a substantial loss of airflow throughout the home. It is estimated that up to 40% of heating and cooling air loss can be blamed on unchecked drafts within the home. This is energy that you are still paying for. Weather stripping is a low-cost solution that can quickly pay for itself. Homeowners can even purchase these inexpensive materials from their local home improvement store for a quick and easy solution.

#4 Don’t Forget About Insulation

Make sure your walls and attic are well insulated. The right insulation levels can help to increase home energy-efficiency year-round. This is because insulation can slow the rate that heat flows out of the home when it’s cold outside and can ensure cool air remains indoors when it is warm outside.

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#5 Limit the Use of Space Heaters

When there is cooler weather a space heater can seem like a great way to stay warm. Conversely, space heaters are not very energy-efficient. The amount of energy consumed can be costly and they can actually increase your energy bill.

#6 Install Low-Flow Water Fixtures

Reduce water consumption by installing low-flow fixtures. The shower head, bathroom and kitchen sink faucets can all be replaced with low-flow products. These fixtures can actually reduce the amount of water used by up to 50%. Low-flow or low-flush toilets can also significantly reduce water consumption as well resulting in total savings of as much as $145 per year.

#7 Avoid Vampire Consumption

Many homeowners are unaware of the hidden costs caused by vampire consumption, or the use of electricity when devices are not in use. Such devices may include televisions, gaming systems, phone chargers, and other electronics that waste energy. Remember to power these devices down or unplug them altogether when they are not in use.

Being energy-efficient does not have to be difficult. Using these tips in conjunction with each other can improve home efficiency not only for this fall but also for the long-term. Simple changes around the house can have major, positive effects on the Earth and on your wallet.

Article contributed by Uma Campbell