There are several no-cost or low-cost improvements you can make to your home to reduce your winter bills. According to the U.S. Department of
Energy, 46 percent of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling your home.
To reduce your heating costs, adjust your thermostat to as high or as low as is comfortable in the winter. You may also want to consider a programmable thermostat. By turning back the temperature during the day while you are at work, the Department of Energy estimates you can save about $180 per year in energy costs.
To maximize your savings from using a programmable thermostat, it is important to have the thermostat set to its "energy-saving" temperature for a minimum of eight hours. Consider not only cutting back the thermostat during the day while you are at work, but also at night.
If you are going to be away for several days, adjust the settings to an energy-saving temperature for the entire time you are away.
If you do not have a programmable thermostat, you can still save by manually adjusting the temperature. In general, for every degree you lower your thermostat, you save 1 to 3 percent on your heating bill. If you adjust your thermostat from 74 degrees to 72 degrees, you could save up to 6 cents for every $1 in heating costs. If your home heating bill costs $100 per month, you could save up to $6 each month.
To extend the life of your furnace replace or check furnace filters on a monthly basis. If you have pets in your home, you may want to check your filters more often. To help prevent drafts, caulk between your window and door frames and walls, weather-strip between doors and frames and add storm windows or use plastic film kits to cover single-pane windows. During cold weather, keep the window coverings on south facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to warm the house, but remember to close drapes and shades in the evening.