How to Reduce Your Heating Bills This Winter

Grab a coat, warm up by the fire and take a look at these wallet-friendly heating strategies.

Young woman relax on red armchair by home fireplace

Also close the fireplace dampers, so air doesn't escape through the chimney, Lano recommends. And if you set your water heater at 120 degrees – "many are preset at 140 degrees," Lano says – you likely won't notice a difference, but it'll take less power to keep your water hot.

Here are some other easy-to-do strategies you might want to consider, courtesy of Katie Ross, education and development manager at American Consumer Credit Counseling: Make sure your heat vents, registers and radiators are free of obstructions, close doors to rooms you infrequently use and don't run the fan after a shower since that humidity will warm up the next room – at least for a while.

[See: 8 Energy-Efficient Home Improvements That Save Money.]

If you're going to be gone for the day, turn down the thermostat. (Most energy experts say it's a myth that it costs more to reheat a home than keep the house in a constant state of warmth.) And remember to clean out your heater's air filter. That's about as basic as it gets, but if you're a new homeowner or newly divorced and your ex used to do it, you may not realize this is a simple chore that can bring your heater to a complete stop if not done. An air filter generally costs between $4 and $15, usually depending on the size and brand; having a heating professional come out to tell you that you need to buy an air filter can cost around $100.

Average cost you'll initially incur: Not a dime.

Corrected on 01/16/2014: A previous version of this story misstated the heat-loss reduction of window film.

Corrected on 01/17/2014: A previous version of this article misattributed a quote about white sales.