Burr…  It is officially cold outside in Mid-Michigan. If you have not already prepared your home for the chill it is time to do so.  It is time to save yourself some money on energy bills with some low cost tips that will have your family staying warm and not breaking the bank.

The first issue is with the thermostat.  Make sure that you have replaced older thermostats with newer programmable ones.  When your home is unoccupied you can save yourself a good sum in heating and energy bills by lowering the setting ten degrees and increase your home heating.  A programmable thermostat will do this automatically for you.  The same is true at night as well.  Program the thermostat to decrease the heat by five to ten degrees while you are sleeping.  Add an extra blanket to your beds and you won’t even notice the difference.

Another quick and easy step in saving money on energy bills is to lower the thermostat by one or two degrees.  This can lower your bills up to three percent per degree you lower the heat in your home.  Make sure to purchase some slippers on those feet, not allowing your body to get cold in the first place will allow you to set the heat a degree or two lower without noticing a huge difference.

By keeping the garage door shut in the winter you can also help to keep your hot air within the home.  Something this simple can save you a few dollars over the entire winter season.  With energy prices so high every penny saved helps.

Some families prefer to add plastic film to the windows in the home to seal in the warmth and keep out the cold.  This will depend on the age of your windows.  If you have fairly new, energy star windows installed this might not even be an issue.  It might cost you more on plastic for the windows than it saves you in energy costs.

One thing you can do that keeps heat in is to close curtains, blinds and shades.  This helps to insulate the home and keep the heat inside.  Keeping them closed when you are away or sleeping can significantly decrease your heating bills.

These are simple or free tips that can help lower your energy bills.  As always remember to call in a professional HVAC heating and cooling specialist to due furnace maintenance and tune ups at least once a year.