You want lower heating bills during the winter, but you also want your home to be comfortable. With a little bit of effort, you can be saving a lot of money in no time by following these four basic tips:

1) Doors and windows. Weather stripping and caulk can be used to fill any gaps left around the doors, windows and woodwork of your home. There are many styles of these products available at your local hardware store. You’ll want to select the style that takes up the space where cold air gets in, but still allows you to open and close your door or window completely, as wanted. You can also put clear plastic on the inside of your windows, to provide an extra layer of protection between your home and the cold winds outside. These kits come in various sizes to fit the style of window you have in your home, and are easily installed using the included double-sided tape, sheets of plastic, and your own hair dryer. Once the heat from the hair dryer is applied to the plastic, it shrinks and tightens, leaving itself invisible, with a clear view for you, and a warm layer of protection for your home. These sheets are easily removed come spring.

2) Your furnace. have your furnace serviced at regular intervals. Your local Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning expert (HVAC) can ensure that all parts and accessories are maintained properly each year so you can get the maximum amount of efficiency from your appliance.  Most HVAC professionals also offer seasonal duct cleaning, for your forced air vents.

3) Look at your furniture. Be certain that in every room of your home, there is no furniture or other objects that block the flow of heat from your heating source to the rest of the room. Likewise, close off heating vents and doors to unused rooms that do not need to be heated on a regular basis. Use draft blockers under drafty doorways that lead to the basement, the garage, or outside, even if you’ve weather stripped them.

4) Your thermostat. Keep your thermostat set around 68 degrees during the times people are home and active. Turn the setting down to 58 degrees at night, or during times when the house will be empty for awhile. If you find yourself feeling cool, grab a sweater or a blanket and resist the temptation to crank up the heat. You’ll be glad, when you get next month’s bill!