Whether you have made a wise investment in solar energy or still considering your options, one thing remains the same: nobody likes paying utility companies more than they have to. During these winter months, our energy consumption spikes through the roof, and we unknowingly waste vast amounts of energy. While wasting energy can ultimately have a negative impact on the environment, it can also have a negative impact on your finances. To help protect the environment while simultaneously preventing your monthly energy bills from snowballing out of control during the winter, remember these tips to help conserve energy.

Take Advantage of Sunlight

Even if you don’t have solar panels, you can harness some of the sun’s energy in the winter. On a sunny day, make sure that you pull back your curtains or drapes to let sunlight flood your home and to take advantage of the heat from the sunlight. Though it may seem like an insignificant factor, it can add up over time. Every little bit helps, so harvest heat from sunlight to help decrease your energy bill.

Program Your Thermostat

Most thermostats have the ability to preprogram the temperature you want your home or business to be at different times of the day. At night, be sure to set the temperature much lower than you do during the day. When we sleep, most of us won’t gain the marginal benefit of few degrees of warmth since we will be snuggled under warm blankets anyway.

Only Heat Livable Space

If there are rooms in your home or business that are seldom used, you are flushing money down the toilet when you heat them. Storage rooms, spare bedrooms, guest areas, and other spaces don’t need to be heated if they are unoccupied. You can save a tremendous amount of money and energy by sealing off vents in these areas to more efficiently heat your home.

Maintain Your Furnace

If you don’t regularly maintain your furnace, you are wasting a lot of energy. Though it may sound trivial, even tiny inefficiencies can add up to large amounts of money because we depend on our furnaces night and day during the winter months. Make sure that you regularly change your filters, because a dirty filter will clog air and force the blower to work many times harder than it needs to.

Insulate Every Crack, Crevice, and Window

Even modern homes have gaps that allow heat to escape during the winter. Doors and windows are among the largest culprits, but you can easily (and cheaply!) seal these cracks. For doors, you can purchase inexpensive seals that pad the bottom and sides with an insulating material to prevent heat from escaping. There are also several options for windows, but the easiest insulator is a simple plastic coating that you apply with a hair dryer. Not only will they save you money, but they will also prevent annoying drafts from freezing your feet.

These are some of the simplest techniques to save money on energy during the winter, but too many people fail to take advantage of them. Remember that these tips will save you substantial amounts of money over the course of an entire winter season, and they don’t take too much time to perform, either.

If you need help identifying some of your home’s problem areas, contact a certified energy efficiency specialist to conduct an audit with a blower door and thermal camera.