This morning when you checked your mail, you found the usual mix of flyers, brochures and newspaper ads. You also received a letter from your mum and a wedding announcement from one of your school mates. Good news so far!

But just in case, you put your arm all the way into the mailbox to make sure you didn’t miss anything. And sure enough, you found this month’s utility bill.

You opened it with shaking hands and carefully peeked at the total amount in the corner. At the sight, you dropped the rest of your mail and groaned.

Don’t worry-your utility bill doesn’t have to stay that high every month. When you make these simple changes, you can improve your home’s energy usage and efficiency.

1. Turn Off Your Devices Before Bed

How many electronic devices do you use on a daily basis? Perhaps your laptop, your tablet, your mobile and your television, just to name a few.

Each of these devices offers you convenience, but they consistently suck power whenever you plug them in. Even after your gadgets completely charge their batteries and you’ve turned off the screen, they continue to draw electricity in order to run scheduled tasks.

Before you go to bed, turn off every electronic device you can find, from your ceiling fan to your floor lamp. To minimise the hassle of turning them on again in the morning, consider investing in multiple power strips. You can cut and restore power to several devices at once and control your electrical usage more easily.

2. Set Your Water Heater at the Correct Temperature

While you may enjoy a hot shower every morning to wake up, your water temperature might cost you. When you crank up the setting on your heater, not only do you increase your risk of scalding, but it also requires more energy to keep your water at the desired temperature.

Some experts estimate that a heater set higher than 60 degrees Celsius wastes anywhere from $36 to $61 annually, though that amount varies depending on your usage.

To save on energy, set your heater to 48 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). If you find that your family uses your hot water supply too quickly at that temperature, upgrade to a heater with a larger tank.

3. Add Attic Insulation

During the day, the sun beats down on your roof and raises the temperature of your shingles, sheathing and other materials to extreme levels-sometimes as high as 65 degrees. In turn, this heat and energy transfers to your attic and then trickles down into the rest of your home. As a result, your cooling system has to work harder to counteract the heat and keep your home comfortable.

However, you can keep these temperature fluctuations to a minimum when you have adequate insulation in your attic. With the right insulation, you could shave off 10 to 50% from your utility bill each month.

For best results, however, talk to an energy auditor to inspect your home for leaks and cracks. You may need to seal gaps in your home for your insulation to perform at its best.

4. Upgrade Your Heating and Cooling System

Even if you completely insulate your home and make it as airtight as possible, your outdated air conditioner might not have enough strength to reach ideal temperatures. If you have a small unit, it will have to continually pull more energy to cool your home. Or if you have a large unit, it will pull more power than necessary to achieve the same results.

Hire a professional to inspect your home and recommend an energy-efficient machine that suits your building’s size and your needs. And to ensure your heating and cooling system stays efficient, call a technician to regularly repair, clean and maintain each part.

Once you’ve made these four changes, do a little research of your own to find out more ways to improve your home’s energy usage.