Don’t be fooled by the bright sun and lingering warm breezes, winter is most definitely on its way toward North America. Even though it seems like just yesterday we were talking about how to stay cool without cranking the air conditioning, it’s already time to start keeping your home warm without creating a painful heating bill.

In honor of October being National Energy Awareness Month, we decided to round up five of the best home winterization tips we could find. Home energy upgrades can be costly, but we tried to narrow it down to actions that were easy, relatively cheap, and sensible for both homeowners and renters. Meet you after the jump!

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1. Replace your HVAC filters once a month to maintain an adequate and clean air flow which can help reduce energy costs.

2. Use energy efficient light bulbs like CFLs or LEDs. Light bulbs meeting new standards can result in significant energy conservation of 25%-80%. Light your home with the same amount of light for less money. Upgrading 15 of the traditional, less energy efficient incandescent light bulbs in your home could save you about $50 per year. Can’t decide between CFLs and LEDs? This post can help.

3. Add caulking or weather stripping around windows and doors. Your home may have small openings around doors and windows that cause heat loss. Caulking and weather stripping can reduce energy waste and protect your home from moisture damage. Covering large windows with affordable insulating plastic can also be a way to trap the sunlight’s heat inside your home during the day, and prevent drafts at night.

4. Close doors and central air vents in rooms that don’t see a lot of use. This prevents you from paying to heat empty rooms, and redirects the air to the parts of your house that need to be the warmest.

5. Reverse the direction on your ceiling fans. During winter, the warm air generated by your heating system naturally rises to the ceiling while cooler air sinks. By switching the direction that your fan blades turn, that cooler air is drawn upwards, which forces the warmer air near the ceiling back down into the space. How does this save energy? According to the folks at Apartment Therapy, since thermostats are typically located at human level, keeping the warm air low where it’s needed means you can turn the temperature down a few notches and still stay warm.

Think we omitted a really big energy saving tip? Share it in a comment below!

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