by Dave Logan Throw on some warm clothes, grab a blanket, and get ready to save some hard-earned money on your heating bills this winter. You’ve dealt with hefty heating bills in past winters. Perhaps this winter it’s time to get serious about lowering your energy costs? Well, we’ve got some great advice for you today! Below are some key ways you can lower your heating bills when Old Man Winter comes knockin’ on your (unsealed) door. 1. Schedule an energy audit. First thing’s first: you need to get a quality professional out to thoroughly inspect your home and let you know where the energy inefficiencies are. This is important and worth the money. A good energy audit should include a list (in order of top priority down) of solutions to any inefficiencies as well as the predicted amount of money you will save by making necessary changes. 2. Install a programmable thermostat. We just talked about this earlier in the week. A programmable thermostat will save you money, keep the right rooms at the right temperature, and generally increase the comfort of your home. It’s an easy do-it-yourself project that will take an hour at the most. 3. Turn down your thermostat. If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat (and aren’t interested in buying one), then turn your thermostat DOWN. You have warm clothes, right? Well break out the sweaters, blankets, fleece pajamas, and slippers. Assume that you can save a single percent on your monthly heating bill every degree you lower your thermostat, provided your thermostat is turned down for a period of at least eight hours. Start with 68-70 degrees. 4. Seal your leaky windows. Ideally, you should replace your inefficient, single-pane windows with high-efficiency windows. However, if this isn’t cost practical for you then, using caulking around appropriate areas of your existing windows to keep out cold drafts. You can also buy a “plastic kit,” which will help, too. Typically, this involves attaching a sheet of plastic to the window’s glass and sealing it off with a hair dryer. It’s easy and it works. 5. Seal your leaky doors. Add a storm door. Look over your existing weatherstripping to see if it needs replaced. If it does, buy high-quality weatherstripping. It’s inexpensive and you don’t want to have to buy it twice in one season. Oh yeah, and keep the doors closed for crying out loud. As my mother used to say, "You weren't born in a barn!" 😉 6. Insulate your attic. Seal your attic with spray foam to keep out any cold air penetrations from the basement or crawl space. Add the appropriate insulation to your attic (follow the Department of Energy insulation tips). Finally, don’t forget to add the quality weatherstripping to the attic scuttle door. 7. Don’t heat rooms you don’t occupy. Seal off the heat vents, close the drapes or curtains, shut the door, and cast those unused rooms into winter purgatory. They will be there waiting for you in the spring. 8. Insulate your water heater. Newer water heaters will come with insulation, but a lot of older models will not. When your water heater is warm or hot to the touch, put a nice, warm insulation cover on it. Pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions when installing an insulation jacket. There are safety precautions you will definitely want to follow. 9. Wash your clothes in cold water. Yeah yeah yeah, we know you like to wash those whites in super hot water. Just be mindful that you can wash much of your laundry (if not all of it) in cold water. You will save money during the winter months, and yes, your clothes will still be clean! 10. Bring on the sunshine! Winter days (especially here in Colorado) are still often bright and sun-soaked, so take advantage of it. Open the drapes and make sure your furniture isn’t blocking the sunshine from penetrating your windows and occupied rooms. On dark, gray days, keep the drapes closed. For more helpful information on these and other home improvement projects, check in often with the TDL Blog. And don’t forget to visit TeamDaveLogan.com to find a trusted home improvement professional in Denver and Boulder that will help you with your next project!