Many of us enjoy the prospect of staying indoors and feeling cozy and comfortable on a cold winter day. Unfortunately, our next thought usually relates to receiving a hefty energy bill. Home heating accounts for one of the most significant areas of utility spending for homeowners, with heat often making up over 40% of utility bills in winter.

Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to lower your heating costs that don’t involve sitting in your home shivering.

Turn Down the Thermostat:

While you may not notice in terms of home comfort, lowering your thermostat to 68ºf could save as much as 10% annually on your heating bills. According to ENERGY Star, 68ºf is the optimum temperature for when you’re at home, but you may want to drop it down further to 63ºf at night, as most people prefer a cooler bedroom.

Layer Up:

Most of us don’t expect to wear shorts and t-shirts inside our homes in winter, but your clothing choices should be carefully considered. If you can layer up your clothing, you can reduce the need to crank up the heat.

Depending on your cold tolerance, simply putting on a sweater or wearing clothing made from a more substantial material may be sufficient. It is also a good idea to invest in some pairs of cozy socks to keep your feet warm.

If you’re curled up reading a book or watching television in the evenings, have a blanket on hand, so you can feel cozy. Don’t forget to put an extra blanket on your bed, so you’ll feel comfortable as you’re sleeping.

Let the Sun In:

While the sun isn’t as warm or bright during winter, it is not entirely gone. So, you can use the sun to help warm your home during the day. On sunny days, open up drapes, shades or blinds to allow the sun in. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that you close them again when the sun goes down to provide an additional layer of insulation.

Close Off Your Unused Rooms:

Depending on how many people live in your home and its size, you may have rooms that you rarely use. There is no need to waste money heating these areas of your home to your preferred comfort standard. To save money on your heating bills, turn down any radiators in these rooms and close the doors.

Avoid blocking or closing the vents into these rooms, as this can impact the overall performance of your HVAC system. You also want to avoid these unused rooms from becoming too cold. You don’t want to have to deal with frozen pipes and other issues. So, keep the temperature in your unused areas at above 40ºf.

Get Cooking:

A hearty meal is a great way to feel warmer, but using your stove is a great way to add some more heat into your home. Cooking or baking will not only save money on your restaurant and home food delivery costs, but it could help to lower your heating bills.

After you’ve finished using your stove, switch it off and leave the door slightly open. This will allow the warm air to escape to warm your kitchen.

Close Up Tight:

One of the most common causes of poor heat efficiency is leaks from windows and doors. If the openings around your doors and window are not sealed tightly, the warm air you’ve paid to heat is simply drifting out of your home.

Before the start of winter, a good idea is to check for air leaks on all your windows and doors. You may feel cold air, particularly at the bottom or doors and sides of windows. Of course, you should also avoid leaving doors and windows open.

Change Your HVAC Filters:

If your home has a forced air system, there is likely to be a filter in your furnace that is designed to trap pet hair, dust and other particles of debris. As your furnace is regularly used, this filter can quickly become dirty, which will impact the efficiency of your entire heating system. So, replace your filter at the beginning of winter and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how frequently you’ll need to change the filter throughout the season.

Use Your Ceiling Fans:

If any of the rooms in your home have ceiling fans, these can be put to good use to help reduce your heating costs. Reverse the fan, so the blades are turning clockwise. This will then distribute the warmer air, forcing it back down into the room.

Have a Furniture Rearrange:

As the weather gets colder, you may want to create a more cozy aesthetic by moving your furniture closer into the room. This can also help reduce your heating costs. Bookcases, couches, chairs and other pieces of furniture that are on the edges of your room may be blocking heating vents and reducing airflow. Aim to have no furniture within a few feet of each vent.

Assess Your Insulation:

Properly insulated walls and attics can make a significant impact on your monthly heating and cooling costs. It will reduce the amount of heat loss through your walls and roof. The amount of insulation needed will depend on the area of your home and where you live, but it is well worth checking if your current insulation is sufficient.

Service Your HVAC System:

While it may seem counterintuitive to spend money when you’re looking at saving money, servicing your HVAC system is actually a very good idea. When you have your heating system serviced, the technician will ensure that it is operating at peak efficiency, so you don’t waste energy. Also a pre season service can also highlight any minor issues, which can be repaired before they develop into major, and costly repair issues. Potentially saving you even more money.

If you want to ensure that your heating system is ready for winter, be sure to speak to your local HVAC technician.