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Temperatures around the country are starting to dip. While this can mean relief from the high prices of air conditioning and cooling, homeowners now have to think about keeping things warm and cozy around the house.
High prices on everything from food, cars and gasoline have cut into everyone’s budgets. However, there is some good news about heating costs this winter.
There’s some good news this year, though. Overall, heating bill costs should be lower than in previous years, according to predictions from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The agency predicts electricity prices will stay the same, while natural gas prices will be about 21% lower than last winter. Oil prices will trend higher as supply will decrease over the winter months due to demand and lower production numbers.
While consumers cannot directly control the price of electricity, oil or natural gas used to heat and power our homes, we can change our daily lives to save money on energy costs.
So how can you save on your heating bill? We’ve rounded up 11 simple ways to help you this winter. Most solutions are simple, require little technical know-how, and won’t require your family to suffer in the colder months.
1. Use a Programmable Thermostat
If you’ve been holding off on picking up a smart thermostat, you might want to take the leap now. The U.S. Department of Energy says you can save 10% on your energy costs by changing your temperature 7-10 degrees for eight hours per day. A programmable thermostat ensures that you don’t feel these temperature changes.
The ability to program your thermostat keeps your home at steady, energy-efficient temperatures throughout the day. You can program them for various temperature zones in your house and set timers to keep the heat low when you’re not home or asleep.
Our top pick for programmable thermostats is the Google Nest Learning Thermostat. You can connect this smart technology to your Alexa system and customize the settings for your own heating schedule.
2. Switch to Energy-Efficient LED Lightbulbs
LED bulbs use up to 90% less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs. According to energy company Evergy, by swapping just five bulbs in your home, you can save up to $100 per year on your electric bill.
We like the Sylvania ECO LED A19, 60W Equivalent Bulbs on Amazon. A 24-pack of bulbs will cost you $24.99.
3. Make Sure Your Heating Registers Are Clear
Take a look around your house and make sure your heating registers are not blocked. As we move furniture around the room, we might cover up the vents where heat enters the room. Keep those registers clear to make sure heat can flow efficiently and safely.
4. Keep Blinds and Curtains Open During the Day in Winter
The sun still shines in the winter, even if it seems less bright. So, let’s use it to our advantage. Open the blinds and curtains to let the sun’s rays warm your home. Then, at night, close them back up to minimize heat loss through the windows.
Then, close the curtains at night to keep the heat in. Thicker curtains, like this insulated blackout pair available on Amazon, can help keep the warmth from escaping out the windows while you sleep.
5. Use a Ceiling Fan
It might sound far-fetched, but a ceiling fan can help warm your home in the colder months. The fan can help circulate warm air around the room. However, make sure to flip the switch on your ceiling fan so the blades spin in a clockwise direction. This allows the fan to pull the warm air up and allow it to move throughout the room.
Our top choice for ceiling fans is the FinXin Indoor Ceiling Fan with Remote on Amazon.
6. Change Your HVAC Filters
Change your forced-air heating system filters at the beginning of the season. Over time, these filters get filled with dust and other particles that minimize efficiency. If you have pets, experts recommend changing the air filter once a month. Most homeowners can replace the filter on their own. But you can always call your HVAC service provider for necessary assistance.
You can get a 5-pack of one of our top picks for a 20-by-25-by-4-inch filter, the HoneywellFC100A1037, for $124.99 on Amazon.
7. Wash Clothes in Cold Water Whenever Possible
Move that temperature dial on your washing machine to cold. Up to 90% of your washing machine’s energy gets used for heating up the water. By switching to cold water, Energy Alabama reports customers can save up to $250 a year on utility bills.
8. Install Weather-stripping Around Windows and Doors
Keep that precious heat inside with inexpensive weatherstripping around your doors and windows. You can find these self-adhesive strips of rubber foam at any home improvement center. They are affordable, easy to install, and save money on heating bills.
9. Replace Old Appliances
This tip might be a bit expensive in the short term, but it can save you money in the long run. Consumer Reports says that by purchasing a new appliance with an Energy Star label, you can reduce energy by 25%-75%, depending on the appliance and the rating. This can translate into savings of up to $500 a year.
10. Get Your Heating System Serviced by a Professional
Don’t wait until your heating system breaks down before you call in a professional. An annual inspection by your HVAC service provider can make sure your heater is running at maximum efficiency and prevent any future emergencies you’ll want to avoid when it gets really cold.
11. Use a Humidifier
The winter months are dry, and this makes the house feel colder. Then, when you crank up the heat, you’re using more energy, which runs up your bills. Using a humidifier in your house, the air holds on to the heat better and keeps you from turning up the thermostat. There are whole-house humidifiers and room humidifiers available, depending on your needs.
Our top pick for a room humidifier is the Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, which you can buy from Walmart.com for only $34.99
MORE: The best humidifiers
Each of these tips can help keep your heating costs under control and may even save you a little money over the long, cold winter months!
This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.