Winter is coming and when it arrives you’re going to want to find ways to conserve energy and reduce your heating bills. You may think that means putting on an extra layer or two, pulling those thick blankets out of the closet, and finding those areas where the heat is escaping all too easily around doors and windows. But while those are all good ideas for keeping warm in the winter, they may not be enough to keep you from reaching for that thermostat in the dead of night.

The trouble is that many of the more common methods to keep your home toasty in the winter cost money and you’d probably like to limit the amount you spend just to stay comfortable when the temperatures drop. Have no fear, we’ve got the hottest tips for staying warm when the bitter cold comes and the winds are howling to chill your bones.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

More homeowners are turning to programmable as a way to keep their costs down and heating efficiency high because these thermostats can help reduce the constant changing and shifting of temperatures that are part and parcel of their manual counterparts. You just set it to the temperature you want and the unit does the rest. What’s great about a programmable thermostat is that you can set it to a lower temperature while you’re out of the house so you’re not heating an empty home. Then program it to turn up the heat when you come home. This way you don’t spend more than you need on heating bills.

Plug In a Space Heater

These heating units can be a big help in keeping you warm and keeping money in your pocket. Buying the right one requires knowing how large or small a space you need to warm up with the unit. Some are portable, allowing you to move the unit from one room to another, while other larger versions are designed to stay in one place and heat that area of the house with an eye towards remaining energy efficient. Be sure to give your unit plenty of space when it’s plugged in and running and never leave an active space heater unattended.

Here Comes the Sun

The sun. You know, that big hot orange bright thing up in the sky. That can be your most powerful ally in the war against high energy costs. Even on cold winter days, the sun still shines and you can use that source of light and heat to your advantage by letting it into your home. It’s free heat, so take advantage of it by opening all of the curtains and shades and letting those rays shine in to keep your home warm. But it’s also important to know how to maintain the heat that you collect, which means keeping curtains and shades closed on those windows that don’t get direct sunlight. By doing this, you retain the heat that comes in instead of allowing it to escape.

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