Evaluate the insulation in the attic and around the ducts. A significant amount of energy is lost when heat is allowed to escape. Knowing the amount and type of insulation currently in the home will determine whether more or a higher "R-value" insulation is needed.
Fix any cracks or holes in or around walls, ceilings, windows and electrical outlets. A significant amount of heat can escape if cracks or holes are not repaired.
Clean or replace the furnace filter. Depending on the furnace model, a consumer may need to change the filter on a regular basis, possibly each month. Consumers should follow the instructions from the manufacturer of the furnace or filter system. A clean filter will likely improve both the air flow and the efficiency of the furnace.
Clean registers, baseboard heaters and radiators. In addition, be sure that furniture, drapes or other objects are not blocking where the heat enters a room.
Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat. These thermostats, which often range in price from$30 to $100, are a convenient way to ensure that a home is heated on a pre-set schedule. They store six or more settings per day, enabling the thermostat to automatically drop the temperature when everyone is asleep or no one is in the home. Some programmable thermostats are not efficient when used with heat pumps, so be sure to find an appropriate model.
Make the fireplace more efficient. Purchases that will help improve the use of a fireplace include tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system. The glass doors help control the fire and how air moves up the chimney. An exchange system works to blow warm air back into the room. If you never use the fireplace, consider plugging and sealing the chimney flue.
Consumers should expect heating bills to be high this winter, so it is important to explore home improvement projects now that have the potential to provide short and long-term energy savings.