During those cold winter months, most of us try to stay inside; warm and snuggled up by the fireplace. Keeping homes warm against the bitter cold can be quite costly but there are small adjustments you can make to save money on your energy costs during the winter months.

One simple way to let sunlight into your home for natural heat is to open the curtain on your south-facing windows during the day. Installing tight-fitting drapes on windows that feel drafty can also help keep out the chill.  Another adjustment is to keep the thermostat set at 68 degrees or as low as is comfortable. For every degree that your heat is lowered within the 60 to 70 degree range, you can save up to 5 percent on heating costs. When you are asleep or plan to be away, turn the thermostat back about 10 to 15 degrees. Doing this for eight hours can save around 10 percent a year on heating bills.

Fireplaces are a great source of heat but can cause heat to be lost and wasted as well. Keeping the damper closed unless a fire is burning traps heat inside. Keeping the damper open is like leaving a window open that allows the warm inside air to go up and out the chimney. When a fire is burning, open dampers in the bottom of the firebox or open a nearby window slightly. With the extra heat from the fireplace, you can also lower the thermostat to about 50 degrees. If the fireplace in your home is never used, seal up the flue so warm air is not lost.

There are many simple changes each household can make that will help reduce their heating bill each year. It is important to do a yearly survey of the heating systems in use to see what kind of maintenance needs to be done. By finding the problem areas, you can cut back on energy costs and keep your home as warm as ever.