As we are in the heart of winter, you may notice one thing:an increase in your energy bill. Thereduced amount of daylight drivesus to turn on our lights sooner, whilethe cooler temperatures cause us tocrank up the heat inside. Below are eight tips to help save money and stay warm this winter!

1. Set the thermostat to 68 degrees when you’re home.

Studies show you use 3-5% more energy for each degreethe thermostat is set above 68 degrees. Instead ofincreasing the heat, put on a sweater to stay warm.

2. When you leave the house, lower the thermostat.

Why heat your house if no one is home? Lowering yourthermostat 10 -15 degrees can save 5-15% a year on yourenergy bill.

3. Close your curtains or blinds at night and when you’renot home to keep warm air from escaping.

Go the extramile and invest in thermal blackout curtains, which canhelp keep warm air where it belongs—in your home.

4. Check for drafts around windows and doors.

Caulkgaps and cracks when you see them to prevent heatfrom escaping.

5. Close the damper of your fireplace when you’re notusing it.

Being mindful of this small action can keep yourhouse noticeably warmer. Keep in mind that space heating is the largest energy expense in a home, accounting for 45% of energy bills.

6. Insulate.

Up to 25% of heat is lost through the small cracksand holes around the house. Properly insulating your walls, floors and attic can save you up to 10% on your totalenergy costs.

7. Replace old windows.

Depending on the climate,windows can account for 25-50% of a home’s heatingand cooling needs. Make sure you’re not losing preciousheat in the winter by replacing your old windows with highperformance, energy-efficient windows. The added bonus?These windows not only regulate the amount of heat thatis absorbed, they also help block outside noise.

8. Maintain your heating and cooling duct system.

By keeping your HVAC system in great shape, you canavoid costly and sudden repairs that might leave yourhome without heat, plus save money on your energy bills.