How can I lower my home energy costs this summer?

 How can I lower my home energy costs this summer?

Let the summer breeze in rather than run the AC. (Photo Credit: Istock/blair_witch)

Many North Fork homeowners plan to spend the next few weeks getting ready for summer: finishing any gardening projects, opening up their pools (if they have one) and making sure their guest rooms are stocked with the essentials to make friends and family feel at home.

One thing they might also consider? Looking into ways to make their homes more energy-efficient.

The possibilities run the gamut from easy, DIY fixes like swapping out lightbulbs to appliance and landscaping upgrades that can result in significant cost savings now and down the road. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you can save about 30 percent on your utility bills with a host of efficiency measures like upgrading your HVAC system, correctly air-sealing and insulating your home, and installing a programmable thermostat.

Bridget Elkin, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Compass, is a big fan of the programmable thermostat. Many will take note of your usage patterns and automatically adjust the temperature settings to those most efficient for your household. They also allow you to control the A/C remotely, which means on hot and humid days you can get your system running while on your way home from a day on the water or wine-tasting.

“By programming your heating and cooling,” she says, “you can pinpoint temperatures the home should be at while you are…

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