As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, your thoughts are probably turning toward keeping your home and your family
warm and cozy. You might also be considering how to accomplish this without driving your power bill sky high.

By taking a few simple steps to heat your home efficiently and keep the heat inside where it belongs, you can look forward to a comfortable winter no matter what the weather has in store. Try these ideas for a snug and enjoyable winter.

HVAC Efficiency
The key to keeping your home comfortable in the winter is to have your heating system running as efficiently as possible. Check your maintenance records and schedule a thorough cleaning and maintenance checkup if necessary. When your HVAC runs efficiently, it requires less work and fuel to heat your home, which means that your bills stay lower while your house stays comfortable.

In addition to performing maintenance on your heater, keep it clean. Change the filter according to the manufacturer’s directions and vacuum the vents to keep them free of dust. Dusting the unit itself as part of your regular home maintenance will also keep it running smoothly.

Insulating Your Home
Your HVAC system may be running perfectly, but it isn’t going to keep your home warm if heated air can get out and cold air can come in. Check to make sure that your walls are properly insulated.

Two areas that often contribute to heat loss are windows and doorways. Check that your window frames are properly sealed and that air doesn’t leak in or out around your doorway. You may also wish to upgrade to double-paned windows to help keep the heat in.

Other areas that are often forgotten are the corners of your home, the baseboards and electrical sockets. These locations may also have gaps that need to be properly sealed to keep your home warm.

Cleaning the Ductwork
Your ductwork can be easily clogged by dust and other accumulated debris. If you have pets, this is even more likely. Having them cleaned professionally at least once a year will keep them free of debris. Plus, a professional can also check for leaks that can undermine all your hard efforts.

Natural Heating
When you can, take advantage of the best source of natural heating: the sun. Even though the air may be frigid, the rays of the sun can still provide significant heating. Open up your blinds and let the sun shine in. Make sure that you close the blinds once the sun has gone down to prevent your heat from escaping.

Using the Fireplace
Few things conjure up an image of a snug and cozy home more than a fireplace. Unfortunately, most fireplaces are inefficient sources of heat. While they can be used to create a welcoming atmosphere, you should not rely on your fireplace to heat your home.

When your fireplace is not being used, a great deal of your home’s heat can go right out the chimney. Keep the damper closed when you aren’t using your fireplace and install glass doors if you don’t already have them to keep your heat where it belongs.