Rising bills have forced families across Florida to find new ways to save energy at home. The garage tends to be an afterthought, which is a shame because it actually presents plenty of opportunities to save a lot of cash.

Read on for six ways you can transform your garage so that you reach your energy-saving goals.

Install an insulated garage door.

Your garage is probably the largest opening in your house, so the quality of the door covering it dramatically affects utility bills. This is especially true if you live somewhere like Florida, which has scorching summers.

If your garage door isn’t insulated, chances are there’s plenty of heat seeping through the door, which warms the garage and the rooms that sit against it. Similarly, cold air gets in during the winter.

When your garage door is insulated, all that fluctuation in temperature stops, which translates into less cooling and warming costs for your home.

Looking to invest in an insulated garage door? Wayne Dalton, a large garage door manufacturer, is a popular choice for many homeowners due to their high-quality doors that are insulated with polyurethane. They are chemically bonded for strength, rigidity, and better thermal protection.

Insulate your existing door.

You don’t have to buy a brand new garage door to get the energy-saving benefits of insulation. You can also buy insulating kits for the door you currently have.

Before you dive into this project, remember that your garage door opens because springs counterbalance its weight. Adding insulation panels to the door adds weight, which can throw off the counterbalance. Make sure you change the springs to keep everything balanced, functional, and safe. Better still, hire a professional to do it, especially if your garage door uses torsion springs — they’re unsafe to remove.

Seal the garage door.

Even a small crack in your garage leaves room for extreme temperatures to enter your home. That’s where weatherstripping comes in. A weatherstripped door has four seals at the edges of the door to stop outside temperatures (and bugs!) from getting in.

Eventually, the seals start to wear and lose their effectiveness, so it’s a good idea to check on them periodically. Simply replacing these seals can help you save energy at home.

Seal the door between the garage and your home.

For additional temperature control, seal the door you walk through to get in and out of the garage from your home. That step adds an extra layer of protection, which great for all homeowners, and even more important for those who live in climates with extreme weather.

Get an energy efficient garage door opener.

There are two main features in energy efficient garage door openers.

  • Energy efficient bulbs – Some openers are compatible with compact fluorescent lights, which use less electricity. Don’t assume that your opener works with these bulbs! In some makes and models, compact fluorescent lights and LED lamps cause interference.
  • Standby mode that uses less energy – Another energy-saving feature to look for is energy-efficient standby mode. Most of the time you’re not actually using your opener, so this feature can cut down on your energy use a lot. Some models by LiftMaster consume up to 75% less power in standby mode.

Image source: LiftMaster

Think twice before adding a second fridge.

Some homeowners use their garage as a place to store extra food and drinks, so they keep a second refrigerator in there. This can be costly, especially if you live in a hot climate and your garage isn’t insulated. When temperatures and humidity rise, your refrigerator needs to work extra hard to keep cool, which contributes to pricey utility bills.

To save energy, either insulate and/or seal the garage to keep it cooler, or move the second refrigerator to a place that’s less hot.

A lot of parts need to come together in order for a household to use less energy. Your garage is an important, but often overlooked, piece of the puzzle. Make sure you pay attention to your garage (and the garage door!) next time you’re taking steps to save energy at home