Check out these simple ways to make your home more heat efficient.

It happens every year. Beautiful fall months turn to cold winter months. The temperatures outside drop lower and lower, often below freezing. And your heater works harder and harder to keep your home warm, thus the increased utility bill.

Try these simple ways to be more efficient this winter: 

Change Your Furnace Filter

Help your furnace as it's working hard throughout these winter months. A clean furnace filter allows air to pass through more easily, which means your furnace doesn't need as much energy in order to run.

Open Blinds and Curtains During the Day

"Here comes the sun!" (da da da da) Let the bright sun come in and heat your home the natural way. Take a few minutes each morning to raise blinds and open curtains throughout your home. Letting in the sunshine might even have an added benefit of helping your kids wake up for school.

Close Drapes at Night

Window drapes help insulate your home from the colder temperatures seeping in through the windows. Even newer windows can't block out all of the chilly temperatures threatening the warmth of your home.

Use Your Fireplace

Especially gas fireplaces are an easy and efficient way to help your furnace keep your house warm. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, remember to close the damper when you're not using it. When the damper is open, and the fireplace is not in use, cold air can come into your home from the outside. 

Open Your Oven

After you take dinner out of the oven, leave the oven door open to bring the hot air from the oven into your home. Your furnace will thank you for the added help.

Help Your Water Heater

Water heaters work harder, too, over the winter months. Research the best way to insulate your water heater. Just this tip alone could save you around 10 percent on your annual heating bill. 

Install a Smart Thermostat

Thermostats are available in a wide range of prices and features. Select a new thermostat that will help regulate the temperature of your home, allowing you to lower the set temperature at night when all family members are snuggled under warm blankets.

Upgrade to LED Lights

Begin using LED lights throughout your home. Every little bit helps lower your utility bill. You don't need to replace all of your bulbs at once. Just keep LED lights on hand for when you need to replace bulbs.

Replace Your Old Windows

Well, this isn't quite a simple tip or solution, but it's a surefire way to help keep your home insulated from outdoor temperatures. New windows will help keep your home warm in the winter and cooler in the summer ... an added benefit!

Carefully Consider Space Heaters

Most older space heaters aren't an efficient way to heat your home. They can help, especially if you have a newer model that's rated for the size of your room. Of course, read the manual carefully. It's a good rule-of-thumb to not place space heaters near walls or where children can touch them. Remember to turn off space heaters at night or when you're done.

Research Energy Rebates in Your Area

Many utility companies offer rebates and discounts for installing new energy-efficient appliances and recycling old appliances. New appliances can be expensive, though the utility savings can last for years.

Bundle Up and Live in Layers

Set your thermostat a few degrees cooler to give your furnace a well-deserved break. Bundle up while staying indoors to remain warm this winter season. And who doesn't love to snuggle under a blanket with family members during movie night?

Did we miss a simple way to lower your utility bill? Let us know in the comments below.