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Two Tips for Making Your Utility Bill More Manageable

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The costs associated with heating and cooling a home today are pretty significant compared with those of a decade ago. The increasing costs of fossil fuels and electricity make hot summers and cold winters an expensive prospect for homeowners trying to save money. If you're torn between your family's comfort and the contents of your wallet, use the following tips to help you cut back on the costs of heating and cooling your home.

Schedule a Home Energy Audit

One phone call to your utility company is all it takes to schedule an inspection from a trained and certified energy consultant. This is the guy who can examine your doors and windows for leaks, inspect your heat pump for efficiency, and give you the skinny on where your vulnerabilities lay. According to Fox Business News, the cost of a home energy audit usually runs between $300 and $500, but it removes the guesswork for you. At the conclusion of an efficient audit, you'll know whether you should focus on replacing your windows or upgrading your HVAC system. 

Consider Re-Roofing Your Home

Once you've addressed the problems of leaky windows and doors, you may be able to cut energy costs even more by calling in a roofing contractor to alter or replace your current roofing materials. Some materials used in roofing are more energy-efficient than others.

To get the most efficiency from your home's roof, talk with a specialist who understands your climate and can recommend the most cost-effective choices of roofing for your area. You may want to consider the following options, depending upon climate and budget.

1. Cool Metal: Cool metal roofs are constructed of metal to reflect the heat of the sun, rather than transfer it into your attic space. Depending upon the finish you apply, a cool metal roof can shave as much 40 percent off the costs of summer cooling, says the Metal Roofing Alliance.

The best-performing metal roofs are those that are coated with paint or other finishes to make them re-emissive as well. Re-emissive metal roofs are capable of reflecting back as much as 90 percent of the solar radiation that hits your roof in summer. Best of all, most metal roofs can be installed directly over existing types of roofing materials. 

2. Green roof: Green roofs are a unique feature that have yet to find a firm foothold among residential homes. But if your home features a flat roof, adding living greenery and a layer of growing medium can greatly reduce the absorption of heat into your home. Green roofs can be as simple or complex as you wish to make them, but they all aid the environment by helping to reduce the effects of air pollution and by providing shade and comfort on a hot day. 

3. Coated: Even something so simple as changing the color of your home's roof can help in the way heat is either transferred into your home or reflected away from it. Dark-colored materials such as shingles or tiles tend to absorb heat, while white or lighter colors reflect it away.

If money is tight, but your roof needs attention, consider simply coating your existing roof in a lighter color. It may be as easy as applying a coating with a roller or paint brush, and the money you'll save in cooling costs will more than pay for your trouble. 

Use these tips to help you make smart choices as a homeowner. You will be able to save money on utility bills, and you'll notice savings and comfort in no time. Contact local specialists to learn more.