'Tis the season to winterize – a.k.a. to keep out the cold, to keep in the heat, and to keep your energy bill down down down.

Stay nice, toasty, and cozy without ever over-cranking that thermostat this holiday season by sticking close to cost-effective tricks to save both money and unneeded worries once the bitter holiday weather starts blowing in. Here are five easy tips for winterizing your home. Put in the work now to save money all winter long!

Use These 5 Easy Steps To Winter-Proof Your Home

1. Replace Furnace Filters

It’s one of those easily forgotten things that we need to do come winter time, but one that we often just brush off. Unfortunately, it’s also one that can significantly improve efficiency, longevity, and pressure on your wallet. Regularly changing the filters in your central air and heating systems (or at least cleaning your furnace filters once a month during the heating season) can be of great help in the long run, as dirty filters often restrict airflow and increase energy demand.

You can also just upgrade to a more efficient furnace altogether if your furnace is in need of retirement. Save a lot of money and improve your home's value by upgrading to a new unit, such as an Energy Star-certified furnace that’ll save you fifteen to twenty percent versus standard new models. You could save 50 percent or more compared with using old furnaces still in operation. Be sure to take advantage of federal tax credits for new furnaces, which cover $150 for furnace and $50 for advanced main air.

2. Control That Thermostat

So you want to keep that home warm and toasty without suffering from the consequences of a high energy bill? Why not just simply turn that thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day, which, according to Brighter Planet, can save at least ten percent per year on your energy bill.

You probably won’t be needing the warmer room temps while you're fast asleep or away from home anyways, so maybe try considering a programmable thermostat that will-- for as little as $50—save an average family about $180 a year. Don’t be one of those households that shells out more than half of their energy budgets on heating and cooling alone. Even go a step further by asking your local utility about smart meters available in your area as part of recent federal smart grid investments.

3. Run Fans in Reverse

Did you know that while counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes, switching to clockwise rotation actually makes a room warmer? When most people think of fans, they think summer cooling—but what you may not know is that many ceiling units come with handy dandy switches that reverse the direction of the blades, allowing air that is pooled near the ceiling to be circulated back into the living space, which can cut heating costs as much as ten percent.

4. Turn Down That Water Heater

Typically, conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit by installers, but most households don't actually need that much steam. Instead, they end up paying for that unused excess in dollars that can eventually add up to be a real burn in the wallet or bank account.

Simply lowering the temperature of that heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (or even lower) can reduce your water heating costs by six to ten percent. And if you’re one of those who wonder why you need a tank at all, then think about going for a tankless water heater—i.e. going solar. Take advantage of this federal tax credit, which pays thirty percent of costs with no upper limit through December 31, 2019.

5. Put Up That Plastic

Sure, it may not seem hip or cool, but insulation is actually one of the best ways to save energy and money at home—without any fuss. It makes a huge difference to add more insulation between walls, to ensure that your attic floors and basement ceilings are well covered, and to avoid much needed heat from rising right out of your home.


Want more tips for winterizing your home? Check out some more ideas here.

This article was written by Pamela Chan.