Winter is here and temperatures across the country are plummeting. You can create a more energy-efficient home by making a few small changes to your house and lifestyle. Here are five of the best ways you can save energy and money this winter:

Seal windows and doors. One of the most common suggestions for making your home more energy-efficient during the winter months is to make sure all doors and windows are properly sealed. Even the smallest air leaks can turn into significant expenses as your heating equipment works overtime to maintain your desired temperature.

Properly maintain your heating equipment. Have your HVAC system or heating equipment inspected, cleaned and serviced on a regular basis and make sure you change the filters as recommended by the equipment manufacturer. Poorly maintained heating equipment naturally leads to higher energy use and higher utility bills, because your system is working harder than it should have to to keep your home comfortable.

Check outlets, service lines and access points. You can improve your energy efficiency and cut your utility costs, yet still stay warm and comfy, by checking the electrical outlets and service line pass-through locations to make sure they are adequately sealed and adequately insulated.

Don’t heat spaces you don’t use regularly. If there are rooms or areas in your house that go unused for long periods of time, you can lower your energy consumption by shutting off the heat to those areas. Some of these types of rooms could be an attached sunroom, guest bedroom, storage room, or other space not occupied most of the time. In addition to keeping the doors to these places closed, you should also make sure you close off any vents that provide heat to those rooms, as well.

Instead of digging deeper into your pockets to pay for utility bills that go up with your energy usage, apply the tips listed here. They will help you minimize your expenses, maximize your energy efficiency and stay warm and comfortable when winter weather comes knocking on your door.