As winter draws nearer, you might already be dreading your energy bills for the colder months. You don’t have to surrender to the financial pain, though. There are some easy things you can do to save energy even when the outdoor temperature plummets.

Bundle Up

tips to reduce your home energy-use - woman sweater jacket jumper
Image via Flickr by Victori∀

You don’t have to wear thermal underwear, three pairs of pants, two sweaters, and a down jacket when you’re in your home, but you should be mindful of the benefits of layering. Instead of cranking the thermostat up, put on an extra sweater. If you’re just going to be relaxing on the couch and watching TV, snuggle up under a blanket. Invest in a warm pair of slippers to keep your feet warm.

Update Your Landscaping

Autumn is a great time to plant some energy-saving trees around your home. They will provide a natural form of insulation, but you have to be sure to get the right type of trees. Many species lose their leaves in the winter, which means they are less effective as insulation. You also don’t want to plant anything that will grow too big; a large tree next to your home poses a hazard during windstorms.

If you’re at a loss for what to plant, head to a local nursery and consult the experts. They’ll be able to give you some useful tips on what to plant as well as on what side of your house to place your new greenery.

Buy New Window Coverings and Seal Air Leaks

If you have an older home, it’s likely that your windows aren’t the latest energy efficient models. New windows can be pricey, and if you can’t afford them, the next best option is to cover the windows you have.

Find curtains that are made out of a heavy fabric, and hang them as close to the window as possible. Make sure they’re long enough to touch the windowsill or floor. A cornice board at the top further increase’s the curtains’ ability to keep the cold air out. You can even buy magnetic or Velcro strips that will allow you to attach the curtains to the windowsill. With properly hung curtains, you can reduce heat loss by up to 25 percent.

Also pay attention to your doors. Weather-stripping or caulking them can prevent cold drafts from sneaking into your house.

Adjust the Thermostat

Perhaps the best way to reduce your energy usage is by keeping an eye on the thermostat. Turn it down at night and when you’re leaving the house. Program your thermostat so it is in line with your weekly routine. A smart thermostat can help you save even more because if you forget to turn the temperature down before you leave, you can do so via an app on your mobile device. A smart thermostat can even learn your habits and adjust itself accordingly!

Winter should be a time for baking yummy treats and enjoying the changing outdoor landscape; it shouldn’t be a time for outrageous energy bills. Use the simple tips above to save during the upcoming cold season.