Did you know that up to half of the money you spend on your energy bill comes from heating & cooling. This can add up to almost $1,000 or more over the course of a year. As temperatures have dropped over the past month, many homeowners are cranking up the heat. And for a lot of Americans with older homes or homes with poor insulation, they are watching that money go right through the roof, literally!

So start there, with your roof. Spending a little extra cash on a quality, energy-efficient roofing system can go a long way. Not only does your roof do the obvious, protect you from rain, snow, & wind, it also helps to keep your home at the right temperature: warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Additionally, an energy-efficient roof can help protect against the harmful UV-rays that assail your roof day in and day out. Having the proper protection from the sun with products containing solar reflectance will extend the life of your roof over the years. You also want to consider a roof with high emittance, allowing solar heat to easily be released rather than absorbed. You can always call a local roofing contractor to come and inspect your roof for you as well.

Now go inside and, if you’re able, inspect the attic for air leaks. Almost 60% of these crevices are present in the attic and can add up to the equivalent of an open window in your home. Properly sealing these areas will help maintain a warmer home and more money in your pocket. Look for leaks in areas such as recessed lighting, plumbing penetrations, openings to the attic where you are able to access the space, chimneys, and other conduits such as electrical, fans, skylights, etc.

Finally, take a look at your insulation. If you live in an older home that has not been updated, chances are the insulation could use some attention. Insulation is given an R-value which measures the resistance rate of heat transfer. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation. And you want your insulation to keep the heat trapped in your home so the thicker the insulation, the better. 18-inches of insulation is now the required in newer homes and anything less than that in older homes means an strong recommendation to update. Consider adding more insulation to help keep your heating bill manageable this winter.