Many people looking to save money this winter are targeting their home heating costs. The cost of heating your home during the winter months can take a huge chunk out of your budget, so lowering these costs can save you a considerable amount of money that can be used for other purposes. Here are a few of the easiest ways to save money on home heating costs this winter.

Schedule an energy audit. An energy audit will show you how much energy your home is using and will help you pinpoint ways to reduce your home heating costs. Some utility providers will do a free or low-cost home energy audit upon request.

Buy heating fuel during the off-season. If you fill up your fuel tank in the spring or summer, you may be able to get a much lower price per gallon than if you waited to purchase it in the fall and winter when everyone is buying heating oil.

Install a programmable thermostat. A new, programmable thermostat will automatically lower the heat when you’re at work and raise it in the afternoon to ensure a warm home when you return. You can save up to ten percent a year on home heating costs using this method.

Consider replacing an old furnace or boiler. Newer models use less energy and will save you money in the long term. Buy energy efficient appliances with the Energy Star logo whenever possible.

Make sure your vents are clean and unobstructed. Have your vents professionally cleaned once a year for optimal performance. Make sure that your furniture isn’t blocking any of the floor vents or radiators. This can help your heating system run more efficiently and make rooms feel much warmer.

Make sure you are keeping warm air in and cool air out. Seal out drafts by adding weather stripping to doors and covering windows with plastic. These are easy and inexpensive ways to reduce home heating costs that can be completed in a matter of minutes.

When you make home energy efficiency improvements to reduce your home heating costs, you may qualify for federal tax credits that will reduce the amount you owe at tax time. You can also receive additional credits from states that offer incentives for home energy improvements. Visit the Department of Energy Tax Credits page or the website for your state for more information.

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