Soon it will be autumn and cooler weather will be on its way which means you will be spending more time indoors. It also means you could be using more heat and/or more energy, which adds up to paying more in utility bills.

But do not get too down as there are some easy steps to save energy. So, instead of freaking out when you get your next set of utility bills, make a genuine effort to keep costs down before bills arrive in the mail.

Luckily, there are some simple tips you can follow day in and day out to make your home more energy-efficient. There is no doubt that you may be able to lower your utility bills by being more alert by standing ready to implement an array of changes in your home.

Know, too, that as you embark on the task of trying to save energy, you will also be doing your part to preserve the planet.

Here are some ideas as suggested by the Department of Energy that you can start doing  immediately:

  • Replace or repair hot water faucets if they drip. Always close securely after use.
  • Do not install carpeting that will block the bottom air opening of a baseboard heating unit.
  • Periodically examine the fins on the pipe inside the baseboard heating enclosures. If they have a lot of lint or other material on them that will restrict air flow vacuum or otherwise clean them.
  • Insulate walls, ceilings and floors as required. Savings in fuel costs in a well-insulated home over an uninsulated home will pay for the cost of proper insulation in a few years.
  • Install storm windows and storm doors. These items of good quality and properly installed are a major factor in fuel savings as the reduce heat transmission and air leakage.
  • Caulk all cracks around door and window frames and at the foundation.
  • If storm window and doors are not installed, use good weather stripping to reduce air leakage.
  • Close outside doors promptly and securely.
  • Keep doors of an attached garage closed.
  • If the garage is heated, maintain the temperature at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Lower the thermostat settings in unoccupied areas and close doors to those areas. A 10 percent setback overnight will save fuel.
  • For best performance, a thermostat should be located on an inside wall where it will not be affected by sunlight. Do not locate on an outside wall, on a chimney wall, over a radiator or in direct drafts.
  • Close the fireplace damper when the fireplace is not in use. With the damper open, the warm air in the room will be drawn up the chimney. Install a set of glass doors on the fireplace which can be closed when the fireplace is not in use or when the fire is very small.
  • Replace or repair hot water faucets if they drip. Always close securely after use.

Bottom-line: Energy-savings means money savings, which hopefully will pay off in the end and you will have more money to spend on those things that you want instead of handing it over to the utility companies. By following some — or all — of these energy-savings tips, you might be pleasantly surprised when your next set of utility bills find their way into your mailbox.