Each degree you lower the thermostat for a period of at least eight hours can cut the heating bill by 1 percent, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy. Just throw on warmer pajamas or snuggle under an extra blanket at night.
A programmable thermostat can be set to automatically turn down the heat while everyone's at school or work all day and in bed at night. This avoids the more extreme (and costly) swings that often come with manual adjustments.
The federal government's Energy Star program warns that about 20 percent of heated air can escape through the ductwork. Bring in a professional make sure the distribution channels are leak-free and make any necessary repairs.
Regular tune-ups to keep the furnace clean and properly adjusted help it run efficiently and prolong its lifespan. Some utility companies and furnace manufacturers offer annual inspections at no charge.
Heat could be escaping from the uppermost floor of the house. At least six inches of insulating material between the heated and unheated areas of the home will keep you warmer and your bills lower. Although the price of insulating an attic can be high, the investment should pay off in a few seasons.
Patch up problem spots (windows, doors, and anything that lets in air from the inside, like dryer vents) with caulk and weather stripping to save up to 30 percent on heating bills, according to the Energy Department. Cover single-pane windows with plastic.
It's hard to resist the urge to rinse off the last bits of spaghetti before loading the dishwasher, but trust the machine. The no-rinse strategy can save up to 55,000 gallons of water over the course of a dishwasher's lifetime.
Kiss incandescent bulbs goodbye and welcome their energy-efficient replacements: compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs. CFL bulbs use about a third of the energy consumed by a halogen incandescent. LEDs use about a quarter -- and last up to 25 times longer.