According to Energy Star, the average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of that amount going to heating and cooling costs.

We all want to live in a home that is at our desired temperature, until we realize how much that desired temperature is costing us.

The best way to find out if you’re spending too much on heating and cooling is to check with your energy company. They often can tell you what the previous homeowners/tenants have paid in your home and what the average home your size is paying.

Although it may seem like a good idea, comparing past bills to current bills isn’t always the best measure. Weather is never exactly the same month-to-month or year-to-year.

Instead try this way to measure how much you are spending on heating and cooling each square foot of your home:

  1. Take your energy bill and divide it by the square footage of livable space in your home. Don’t count garages or unfinished basements. This will tell you what the average cost per square foot is for your home.
  2. Next ask your energy provider what the average cost per square foot is in your region for that same period of time so you can compare apples to apples.

In addition to measuring your spending against other’s spending take note of these common indicators that you’re spending too much on heating or cooling:

Some of your rooms are too hot or cold.

This may indicate that your home has insufficient insulation. This causes your heating and cooling system to work harder.

Your home has humidity or excessive dust problems.

This can indicate leaky ductwork.

Your heating and cooling equipment is more than 10 years old and needs frequent repairs.

Although annual maintenance can help, heating and cooling equipment becomes less efficient as it ages.

You leave your thermostat set at one constant temperature.

You may be missing out on an opportunity. A programmable thermostat adjusts the home’s temperature at times when you are at work or sleeping to save you money on heating and cooling.

You’re turning on the air conditioner or furnace to cool one room.

Using a portable air conditioning unit, heater, or fans can help heat or cool that one room at a much lower cost than turning on the home’s furnace or air conditioner. In the long run consider a ductless split system. A ductless split system gives you flexibility to control the temperature on a room-by-room basis.

You’re blocking or letting in direct sunlight coming through your windows.

When the sun shines through your windows it makes your home become hotter. In the winter let the sunlight in too keep rooms warmer. In the summer keep the shades on your windows closed to keep rooms cooler.

You’re not maintaining your air conditioner or furnace

Lack of maintenance can cost you. Don’t ignore simple maintenance tasks like changing your filters and having your entire system inspected annually.