It’s hard to believe that winter will soon be heading to our area, although it seems that the cold snap as already arrived with chilly nights and mornings. Which means most people will be spending more time indoors and using more electricity. This means an increase in your home’s energy costs and strain on your monthly budget in order to keep you and your family comfortable. However, there are steps you can take as a homeowner to save money on your Heating Bills this winter.Tip #1 – Preventive MaintenanceThe easiest way to keep the costs of heating and cooling your home throughout the entire year, not just the winter, is to have your system serviced twice a year. Preventive Maintenance will keep your heater and air conditioner running at its optimal best, which means it will use less energy.Having your system serviced twice a year will ensure that your heater and air conditioner is ready when you need it. This will also reduce the possibility of system breakdowns that can be costly, because minor problems can be identified during the maintenance service and resolved before they turn into bigger problems. In the long run, you will save money because heaters and air conditioners that are regularly maintenanced have a longer useful life span.Tip #2 – Programmable ThermostatsHaving a programmable thermostat installed in your home and make sure you’re taking advantage of its programming features; otherwise, you may be missing out on energy savings. Just by setting your thermostat to reduce the heat in your home by 10 degrees while everyone is sleeping, or when no one is at home, you start to see a reduction in your home heating costs.Make sure that your thermostat is installed in a good location where it is not exposed to drafts or direct sunlight. This could, in fact, raise both your heating and cooling costs because the average temperature in your home will be misrepresentedTip #3 – Insulate Your HomeInsulation and caulk are an inexpensive way to save heating dollars in your home. Today’s new homes are built airtight and are better insulated, but older homes may require some attention in this area. Make sure your crawl space, attic, and basement are insulated.Be sure to seal any air leaks or cracks around windows or in wall corners with caulk to keep the warm air from escaping outdoors. Have your exposed ductwork sealed to prevent heat loss from your heater to your air vents.Tip #4 – Layer UpYou can easily lessen the amount of heat need to keep you warm in your home by putting more clothes on. Put on a sweater or sweatshirt if you feel chilly instead of running to turn the heat up. Wearing layers of clothing also help retain your body’s heat.

Don’t forget your feet! If your feet are cold, then your entire body is going to feel cold also. Put on some socks. Remember that for every degree you can lower your thermostat, you are reducing your energy use by almost 3 percent.If you’ve got any questions about your heating system, furnace, or staying warm in the winter contact Black Hills Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning! (360) 558-3242