I'm already dreading getting my energy bill for this month. It's been super cold and my furnace has been working long hours, nights, weekends and overtime. This is the part of winter every home owner and utility user hates. So, here are 4 ways to keep your bill as low as possible.

1. Change your thermostat setting. I checked mine and realized I had my temperature set at 72 degrees. Considering it's going to be -40 next week...my furnace is trying to keep my home 112; degrees warmer than it is outside. YIKES. Xcel Energy suggests setting your thermostat to 68 during the day and 55 at night.I'd also suggest looking into getting a programmable thermostat. My husband and I kick ourselves all of the time because we are heating the house to 72 degrees even when no one is home. It's wasteful. If you like your room toasty when you sleep, get a space heater. They sell cute ones that look like fireplaces. You can go one step further and get a heater blanket.

2. Use your fan the right way. My ceiling fan has a neat feature (as do most ceiling fans)...heat rises, so my fan will push that warm air back down to me. It's just a matter of flipping a switch. I didn't know my fan had a warm and cool setting on it until I noticed a switch and went back and read the directions.

3. Seal up your windows! I ran to the store and bought plastic for my windows the other day because I felt a breeze in my living room. Seriously! I have a newer house and there was a draft in my living room! I'm looking at getting my windows replaced in the spring...but, in the mean time I bought window plastic to cover my windows...no more draft!

4. If you're not using a particular room, stop heating it. My grandma has a 3 seasons porch that she rarely uses in the winter...but, for some reason she still heats it. That's just wasteful. If you don't use a room in your house then shut the vent and the door. I don't use our guestroom in the basement very often so I shut the vent and the door.

You're still going to have a higher bill than normal but hopefully these things will help keep the costs lower than they normally would be. Can it just be spring?!?!

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