Most times people simply pay their utility bills without giving much thought to how much they are consuming. Performing an annual audit of your home's energy costs is easy to do and can benefit you in many positive ways.  If you've noticed an increase in the monthly expense, it might be a great time to take the initiative for a full assessment of your yearly energy costs.

Conducting a self-audit
If you enjoy DIY projects you may be able to cover all the bases and get an accurate assessment of the current condition of your home's environment. The inspection should include things such as checking the insulation in your attic and basement, checking for air coming in through windows, doors and exhaust fans, checking for entry points like pipes and your roof. Also, if you detect any moisture under your sinks or around your pipes, one or more might need replacing.

Hiring a professional
If you are not a handyman and are unfamiliar with your heating and cooling system and would rather put your trust in someone who's more qualified, hiring a professional is a far better way to go. A home inspection should cover the main living space, the basement, attic and all entry points. Many companies use thermographic tools that can detect the presence of moisture. With these instruments, they can take videos and pictures that can help to positively identify areas that need attention.

Check the rates of your current electric and gas provider
Even if your home comes up free from any serious infractions, it's still an excellent idea to shop around for the best possible rates. With many states now deregulated, more companies are entering the marketplace hungry for customers. This is very good for the consumer. For example, if you live in Texas take out your gas, electric and water bills and review the rates. Then contact other service providers in your area and compare the rates. Take advantage of the deregulation that lets you now choose Texas power companies instead of having to use just the one that's closest.

Replace older appliance
If you've had your refrigerator, hot water heater and your furnace for over 10 years chances are pretty good that they are either not energy-efficient or not as energy-efficient as they could be.  Many of the newer household appliances carry the EnergyStar rating. Just those three items alone can cost you to pay nearly double in gas and electric each year. And the newer dishwashers which consume less than 6 gallons of water versus the older models that consume over 10 can help to reduce your monthly water bill considerably. In addition, it's also important to maintain your appliances in order to achieve the higher efficiency. Make sure to change out filters often on your air conditioner and set up an annual service call for your central air-conditioning.

Increasing the resale of your property
Creating an energy-efficient home has many advantages. For one, they will reduce the cost of your monthly utilities. They will also create a much more enjoyable living environment for you and your family. And, when it comes time to sell your home, a lower utility bill will help to attract more potential buyers making it easier to move onto your next destination.

Dispose of bad habits
Growing up your parents were constantly talking about turning out lights and keeping the doors closed. This still applies today. If you get in the habit of turning out lights when you leave a room, conserving water, and closing the doors, you'll help to keep your electric, gas and water bills under control.

Your home should be a place where you go to relax and enjoy living. By performing an annual energy cost audit you'll ensure that the air quality is well-suited for all its occupants and visitors.