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  1. Minimizing your energy bills doesn’t need to be a time-consuming or expensive process. For many homeowners, a few simple upgrades and add-ons will make a huge difference. Here is a look at four easy projects that are going to reduce your carbon footprint and save you a little bit of money over the years. Insulate Your Pipes and Ducts Insulating your pipes and ducts is one of the easiest home improvement projects that you can carry out, and it might lower your monthly energy bills by as much as four percent. All of the exposed pipes and ducts in your home should be covered with either polyethylene or neoprene foam. This project requires nothing more than a few basic tools, and you should be able to complete it in a single afternoon. Once those passageways are insulated, you can then adjust the settings on your HVAC system and water heater. Replace Your Old Appliances Older dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, heaters, air conditioners, and refrigerators use an incredible amount of energy. If you have a little extra money to invest in your home, then you might want to replace at least a few of those appliances. Many states even offer tax credits to residents who replace their old appliances with devices that have been approved by the Energy Star program. Once your new appliances are installed, you should make sure that everyone in your family knows how to use them correctly to prevent unnecessary damage and overuse. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat Your thermostat is the brain of your HVAC system, and that is why you want to be sure that it is as efficient as possible. Programmable “smart” thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature and monitor your home from anywhere in the world. Instead of leaving the air conditioner or furnace running all day, you can turn the system on just before you get home. Programmable thermostats are extremely cheap and can be installed in a matter of minutes. Install Energy Efficient Windows Replacing all of the older windows throughout your home might save you thousands of dollars in the coming decades. A company like Valley Glass Utility can install new residential windows in a matter of days, and you will notice improvements to your utility bills almost immediately. Modern high-efficiency windows are designed to let in plenty of sunlight while reducing heat transfer. They also come in countless styles, and you are sure to find a product that perfectly matches the rest of your home. As a homeowner, energy efficiency should be one of your biggest concerns. Making your home as green as possible is going to improve your family’s comfort, lower your energy bills, and reduce your impact on the environment.