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As the countdown to spring begins, the lights are already coming on later, the heat is coming on less often and, on some days, we can actually crack open the windows to air out our homes. This is the time of year when we can really start saving money on our energy bills, and here are a few tips to help you save even more.

First things first. One of the best first steps to figuring out how to keep your heating and cooling costs down is by scheduling a Mass Save no-cost home energy assessment. The energy efficiency expert will give your home a thorough check-up from top to bottom and every room in between. Also, they’ll tell you if your appliances are running efficiently, or if it’s time to replace any of them with an Energy Star rated model. They’ll also let you know about money-saving programs, incentives or rebates for which you may qualify. 

One way to save on your monthly heating bills is by reducing hot water use with low-flow fixtures, as well as employing energy-saving strategies and choosing an energy efficient water heater. Water heating accounts for about 20 percent of your home's energy use, so it makes sense to consider a system that will not only provide enough hot water for your needs, but is also energy efficient. This includes considering the different types of water heaters available and determining the right size and fuel source for your home. Check out the Energy Saver 101: Water Heating infographic to learn more about the different types of water heaters and how to select the right model for you

Being in between seasons here in New England means we can start weaning ourselves off of the heat. Something as simple as  opening the curtains or blinds on a sunny day can save money by letting in the warming rays.

When properly installed, window shades can be one of the simplest and most effective window treatments for saving energy. Shades should be mounted as close to the glass as possible with the sides of the shade held close to the wall to establish a sealed air space.

For greater efficiency, use dual shades—with highly reflective light colors on one side and heat absorbing dark colors on the other—that can be reversed with the seasons. The reflective surface should always face the warmest side—outward during the cooling season and inward during the heating season, and they need to be drawn all day to be effective.

Window blinds—vertical or horizontal slat-type—are also effective at controlling the temperature in the house because the numerous openings between the slats offer flexibility year-round. When completely closed, and lowered on a sunny-side window, for example, highly reflective blinds can cut solar heat gain almost in half. And they’re effective at keeping in warmth in during the heating months, too.

It won’t be long until we get to fully enjoy the beautiful spring weather. In the meantime, let’s start enjoying the energy savings springtime can bring.