The cold weather has already begun, causing people to bundle up and brace the elements. You will want your home to be a toasty warm retreat when the weather is wicked outdoors. To keep it warm, your furnace will be in high demand. Take control of how much you spend on your heating this winter by making a few simple changes around your home. Here are some easy ways to keep your heating bills from going through the roof during the winter.

Get A Handle On Drafts

Drafts in the home will just let your heat go outdoors. You will want to plug up any area that lets cold air inside. Do a check around the outside of your house for any holes or cracks that may be letting air inside. If you should notice anything, fill it with an expandable foam to keep your heat from escaping.

Most drafts will be around windows and doors. You should check each opening for draftiness by using a candle or an incense stick. Wave either one along the area around the opening when it is shut. When you notice any flickering of the flame or smoke, you will need to seal up this area. This can be done by using weather-proofing or caulk. Both can be purchased at a hardware store and are easy to apply by following the packaging on the material.

Bottoms of doors will let in a lot of draftiness, so be sure to cover these areas. You can use a door draft stopper to keep cold air outside. You can also apply a door sweep. This is a broom-like material that is applied to the bottom of your door. 

Window Coverings

Glass is one way that heat will escape from your home. You should cover all glass surfaces to keep your heat inside. Thick window coverings such as curtains or drapes will help tremendously. Buy some drapes that have a thermal lining to retain even more of your heat. You can cover windows with a window film, as well. This is a clear film that can be applied right to the pane of glass. It will remain all winter and you can peel it off in the springtime.

The Heating System

When using your furnace, try keeping the thermostat at a lower level than normal, especially when no one is expected to be at home. You can buy a programmable thermostat to help keep temperatures at lower levels at certain times of the day. At night-time, use an extra blanket on your bed to make up for the lower temperature. Even one degree lower will make a difference.

Close off any rooms that are not being used. Shut the heating vents in these rooms, as well. The heat that was used in these rooms will be redirected into rooms that you do use. This will help keep your furnace from turning on as often.  

If your heater is broken, be sure to call in a heating repair specialist, as damaged heaters are less efficient and can cause you heating bill to spike.