When heating your home in the winter, it’s important to be mindful of your home’s energy use. These tips and tricks will help you save money without freezing. Remember to get your heating and cooling systems checked regularly by a professional HVAC specialist; do everything you can to save money and keep warm this winter!

Heat loss can occur through the roof, walls, windows and floors of any home, and it can have detrimental effects on your utility bills. Naturally, the more hot air escaping from a home, the more energy (and money) required to maintain its temperature. So in order to keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank, reducing heat loss is critical.

Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce heat loss in a home. Some of them are fairly technical or require big purchases. But even a few quick, easy fixes can help you save money on energy consumption this winter.

Curtains

One of the cheapest, most effective ways to prevent your home from losing heat is to cover the openings with curtains. Usually, thick curtains with special thermal linings are easy to find and fairly inexpensive. Simply hanging these curtains in front of windows and doors can add another layer of protection between your living space and the frigid outdoors.

Sunlight

Remember that big yellow disk in the sky that kept you sweating all summer? Well, it turns out that disk stays hot all winter too. While it may not feel like the sun is working during, say, a snowstorm, it is still the cheapest way to keep your home warm and well-lit. So during the afternoon, try to capture as much natural sunlight as possible. To maximize the effect, close your curtains right at sunset.

Close Off Unused Rooms

Naturally, it is cheaper to heat a smaller home than a large one — the less square footage, the less energy required to keep it cozy. This in mind, one way to reduce heat loss from your home is to minimize its surface area by closing unused rooms. Keeping doors shut prevents cold air from spreading throughout the house and contains the heat you’ve generated within a smaller, accessible living space.

Set timers

The fastest way to spike your utility bill is by leaving your heat running 24/7. Not only is this expensive, but it is also wasteful, since you usually will not be home all day. To save money without sacrificing the benefits of central heat, try relying on thermostat timers. Even when it’s unusually cold, simply switch the heating time to earlier in the day rather than turning the temperature up drastically.

Replace drafty windows

If there is a specific area of your home that simply will not stay warm, then it’s possible you are experiencing drafts. To find out, try holding a candle up to that area’s closest window and watch the flame. Does it flicker? If so, it’s likely that your windows have drafts.

Drafts are one of the most common — and most detrimental — causes of heat loss in the home. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they’re also unnecessarily costly, wasting expensive energy by letting heat easily leave. Depending on the severity, drafty windows can justify an immediate window replacement — especially in the winter. Otherwise, prepare yourself for skyrocketing bills.