use these energy-saving tips to cut costs this winterAs the days get shorter and colder, your utility bills may begin to creep up. Think there’s nothing you can do about it? Think again. The right mix of small and big alterations to your habits and your home can end up saving you money down the line.

If you’re living in a snowy state, you’re probably still going to have to dig a little deeper in your pocket during the darkest months. But these energy-saving tips will help keep Jack Frost from running off with your hard-earned money.

1. Adjust Your Thermostat

Everyone likes keeping their home nice and toasty on cold nights. But we’d venture to bet no one likes to see the bill for it at the end of January. To keep that heating bill under control, consider lowering your default temperature to cut costs.

This can be as simple as turning down the thermostat from 72 degrees to 68 in the winter. But if you’re not into wearing a sweater inside, there are a few other ways to do it.

One way to do it is to turn down the temperature at only at night — maybe to 65 degrees. Then snuggle up under a heavy duvet to stay warm while you’re sleeping without overheating the house.

You can also consider a programmable thermostat. These can help you automatically reduce the temperature during the day when no one is home for optimal efficiency and comfort.

2. Insulate to Keep in the Heat

Installing insulation into your walls and attic is a time-consuming endeavor, but it will be worth it in the long run. And like many other energy-saving projects, it will benefit you in the hot summer months, as well.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends insulating essentially anywhere your living spaces meet the outdoors, including basement walls. But if this task is too daunting, don’t let that prevent you from installing any insulation at all. Start with the easiest places to reach, like the attic, and see how far you get.

3. Switch to LEDs

Light-emitting diodes, or LED bulbs, are incredible pieces of energy-saving technology. They last longer than either incandescent bulbs or fluorescents and they use less energy.

If you haven’t made the switch to LEDs yet, now is the time. The upfront cost may be higher than conventional bulbs, but they will pay for themselves over their lifetime (often many times over). Plus, there are more options than ever when it comes to LED lights, including dimmable bulbs and a variety of color temperatures.

4. Seal Up Drafty Windows

If you’re sitting near a drafty window, you’ll no doubt feel the breeze on a chilly night. Just like your body will get goose bumps to try and warm you up, your home’s heating system will also go into overdrive to keep the house warm — and that’ll cost you money.

Caulk or weather-stripping can help seal leaks around doors and windows that let air through. Keeping your doors and windows locked, as well, can help ensure a tight seal.

For a quick fix, you can also apply shrink film to the faulty window frame with double-sided tape to reduce draft. Use a hair dryer along the edges of the film to create an airtight seal.

After all is sealed up, you’ll want to keep your blinds open during the day so the good old sun can help heat the inside of your house.

5. Inspect Your Heating System

Central heating systems need to be maintained to operate in a cost-effective and safe manner. A trained heating professional can check for leaks, whether you have a boiler or furnace, and verify that it’s in good shape for the winter. They can also check for carbon monoxide leaks, any excess dirt, soot or corrosion.

You should also change a furnace’s filter at the beginning of the season and inspect your chimney, which may be connected to your heating system’s ventilation pipe.

6. Go Solar (Yes, even in the winter!)

Installing rooftop solar panels is a good idea any time of year because generating electricity from the sun can help you reduce your utility bills. Rooftop solar power continues to provide benefits all winter long – after all, the sun keeps shining!

Despite the days being shorter, there’s still time for your panels to produce energy. And if it snows? Don’t try and clear off any snow that may pile up on your solar panels. It’s not worth the risk. We recommend letting the snow slide off on its own, which happens naturally as the sun warms the panels. Just be careful when walking around or under your solar system when there might be snow or ice sliding off!

To learn more about how solar power can change your life, request a personalized solar quote.

Originally published on Patch.com. Click here to see the original article.

Photo credit: Miquitos via Flickr

Posted by Sungevity