If you’re looking to reduce your energy bills this winter, it need not be complicated. There are lots of easy HVAC tips that can help you.

Use the Sun:

Winter sun may be weaker, but it can still help to warm up your home. Open up your window coverings, particularly on south facing windows during the day. Just be sure to close your blinds and curtains when the sun goes down. The lack of insulation on windows can contribute to significant heat loss and your window coverings will provide an additional layer of insulation.

Use LED Light Decorations:

Winter is the time that many of us like to light up our homes with extra decorations, but this can also contribute to those higher electricity bills. Fortunately, there is an easy solution; switch to LED lights. LED lights use approximately 75% less energy compared to traditional bulbs, and they can last up to 25 times longer.

So, you’ll not only save money on the running costs of your lights, but you’ll need to replace them less frequently.

Have Cozy Clothing and Blankets on Hand:

Before you crank up the heating, add another layer of warm clothing. Winter is the perfect time to wrap up in thick socks, cozy sweaters and warm bottoms when you’re at home. You should also have a nice blanket on hand, so you can cuddle up underneath it when you’re watching television or reading in the evenings.

Evaluate Your Insulation:

When your home is improperly insulated, the air that you’ve paid good money to heat or cool escapes your home. Look at your walls, ceilings and any gaps or crevices inside your home that may be allowing cold air in and letting warm air escape. Insulation will provide a barrier that prevents treated air escaping to keep your home cozy and warm in winter and cool during summer.

Air Seal Your Home:

Treated air can also escape through gaps and leaks around your home. These are particularly common around doors and windows. Fortunately, air sealing your home is both easy and economical. You can eliminate lost air and uncomfortable drafts. Use weather strips or caulk to block up any areas where you can feel a draft around window frames and doorways.

Arrange Preventative Maintenance:

Servicing is an easy way to ensure that your HVAC system is operating at peak efficiency. The HVAC technician will check your system and make adjustments to optimize its energy usage. Preventative maintenance also provides the opportunity to diagnose any minor issues before they develop into a costly repair issue. Preventative maintenance will also provide peace of mind, since the chances of your heating breaking down during the cold season will be reduced.

Perform a Fall Clean:

Before the weather gets too cold, take the opportunity for a fall clean of your home. This means cleaning vents and registers to ensure that they are not blocked with dust, pet hair and other debris.

The vents should also be clear of any furniture, rugs or window coverings that could compromise the airflow.

As part of your cleaning regime, be sure to change your HVAC filters. Most manufacturers recommend changing filters every one to three months. This is relatively inexpensive, but it can provide your heating system with a performance boost. If you have pets or smokers in your home, you may need to change your filters more regularly, so include checking them as part of your regular cleaning routine.

Lower Your Thermostat Temperature:

Even a few degrees on your thermostat can make a massive difference to your energy consumption. Many of us crank up the thermostat on cold days assuming that it will warm the home more quickly, but this is not the case.

On the other hand, if you lower the thermostat by a few degrees, you’re not likely to notice a difference in your home comfort, but it can reduce your heating costs by as much as 10%. The optimum temperature setting for home comfort and energy efficiency is 69ºf when you’re home and 62ºf at night. If you’re wary of the setting being too low, try adjusting it by a degree or two every couple of days. You’ll acclimate to the lower temperature and within no time, you’ll feel perfectly comfortable at the lower settings.

Change Your Water Heater Thermostat:

After our HVAC system, water heaters consume the most energy within our homes. Heating water can take a lot of energy, so if you leave your water heating on an excessively high setting, you’re wasting a great deal of energy.

Water heaters are designed to constantly cycle water throughout the day, keeping the water in the tank at a set temperature. So, even if you’re not at home and using water, your water heater is still using energy to keep the water hot.

You can save energy simply by turning down the water heater thermostat by a couple of degrees. If you think about it, you don’t want the water coming out of your faucet to be so hot it scalds you anyway. So, if you turn down the thermostat by a few degrees, you’re unlikely to notice it even when you’re showering or running a bath.

Consider a Programmable or Smart Thermostat:

Although you may feel comfortable adjusting your thermostat to suit your comfort requirements, many of us simply set it and forget it. This means that your heating may be running when you’re tucked up in bed under blankets, producing heat cooking in the kitchen or even not home at all. A programmable or smart thermostat allows you to set your heating according to your routines. The key difference between these types of thermostat is that programmable models require you to manually enter the start and stop times for each day, while smart thermostats “learn” your habits and adjust the heating accordingly. Both of these models have the potential to save money, but smart thermostats are designed to offer optimum energy efficiency.

If all of these easy tips have not made an impact on your energy bills, it may be time to consider a HVAC upgrade. Older systems tend to be massive energy drains, and you may be pleasantly surprised at the efficiency offered with a new HVAC system.