As the temperature drops, you may be adjusting your thermostat more often to keep your home comfortable. Many homeowners don’t realize that making small, simple changes can greatly reduce energy use and ultimately lower your heating bills.

Making your home more energy-efficient can save you money and is also good for the environment. Below are four energy saving tips:

Change your furnace air filters

Changing your air filters should be part of your monthly checklist. It is recommend that furnace air filters are replaced every three months, although you should check it monthly for visible dust and dirt. Old filters waste energy — and money — because they make your heating system work harder by trying to fight through the dirt, pet hair and dander, and other contaminants. Dirty furnace air filters also limit the amount of warm air reaching your living areas, leading to hot and cool spots throughout your home. As an added benefit, replacing your filter improves air quality, which can help those who suffer from allergies and respiratory conditions.

Energy checks and home audits

Sign up for an in-home energy audit and receive energy-efficient suggestions to improve the comfort, durability, safety and affordability of your home. In addition, an energy expert will provide recommendations and cost saving analysis, prioritized to show you where you’ll get the most savings for your investment.

Upgrade your furnace

Today’s furnaces are more energy-efficient than ever. However, if you’re adjusting your thermostat more often than usual, or your bill seems high, you may have a failing or inefficient furnace. If your current furnace is older than 15 years, you may need to upgrade. Check out this video for tips on how to determine if it’s time to replace your furnace.

Replacing an aging furnace with a high-efficiency model can save energy and money. It is also important to work with a trusted HVAC professional to correctly size your system for your home. In addition to lowering bills, many high-efficiency natural gas furnaces qualify for additional savings with rebates.

Install smart thermostats

Programmable thermostats can help homeowners control when they heat their home. For example, a programmable or Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat can lower the temperature automatically when people are away for the day or on vacation, or when everyone is sleeping. Many smart thermostats also tell you when it is time to change your furnace filter. A programmable thermostat could help you save up to 10% on energy bills.

Rebates from Minnesota Energy Resources

Minnesota Energy Resources offers a variety of rebates to help you lower your natural gas usage, not just during the winter, but all year long. Learn more about how our rebates and programs, make it easy to upgrade, conserve energy and realize long-term savings.