I live in an area of the country with legitimately extreme year round weather. During the colder months, the temperature often drops well below zero degrees outside, with a brutal wind chill and so much snow. The Summer seasons brings intense heat and extreme humidity, while the Spring and fall are always wet and frigid. For the majority of the year, either the gas furnace or cooling system runs just about all the time. My monthly energy bills add up to more than seventy percent of our budget. I am always searching for brand new way to eliminate energy waste and cut down costs. I’ve enrolled in a maintenance plan with a local HVAC company. The maintenance plan includes several service calls per year. A licensed worker will come out and clean, tune, and review the gas furnace every fall, and repeats the same thing for the cooling system every Spring. This concern shooting maximizes the efficiency, reliability and life of the heating and cooling equipment. It also fulfills the requirements of the manufacturer’s warranties for my HVAC equipment. I make sure to change out the air filters in the gas furnace and our cooling system every couple of weeks and properly clean the supply and return vents. I recently replaced our temperature control with a smart alternative, which makes it much easier to conserve energy when the family is away from home. I’ve also invested in brand new Energy Star rated windows for the condo and carefully caulked around them. I’ve added insulation to the walls, ceilings, and attic. I have also added weatherstripping to the exterior doors. Every fall, I inspect the exterior foundation of the house and seal any cracks which might allow heated/cooled air to escape. Despite all of our efforts, I’m still unhappy about the amount I spend on heating and cooling costs.