Depending on your personality, winter may either bring excitement and joy to your life, or it may instill fear deep within you. But even if you’re the type of person who hates all things cold and snowy, you can still stay warm and cozy this winter by following a few tips to keep your home comfortable.

And the good news is you won’t even have to crank up your furnace and run up your energy bill to do it. In fact, these steps will make your home more energy efficient, and actually save you money while keeping your hands and toes toasty.

1. Get a Better Thermostat

Newer thermostat models are programmable, meaning you can set the furnace to come on more or less often depending on the time of day.

So when you and your family leave for work or school in the morning and go to sleep at night, you can have your thermostat programmed to lower the temperature while the house is empty during the day and quiet at night. Similarly, you can use the thermostat to make sure the house is warm and cozy in the morning when you wake up, and in the evening when you settle in after a long day.

Financial Tip: Lowering your thermostat by even 1 F can save you up to 1 percent on your monthly energy bills. If it’s comfortable, set your thermostat to 60 F at night and during the day, and 68 F in the mornings and evenings.

2. Get Winterizing

Winterizing your home is an important part of making your house more energy-efficient, which will translate to a house that’s both warmer and cheaper to heat. The key to winterizing is preventing drafts and air loss, which you can do by sealing window and door cracks with caulking, preventing drafts with weather stripping, stopping energy loss with storm windows and insulation, and keeping the cold out with chimney balloons (for unused chimneys).

3. Humidify the House

By increasing the humidity in your house to between 30 and 50 percent, you’ll make your house feel up to 10 F warmer. This is because moist air feels warmer, and is able to retain heat better. If your furnace isn’t equipped with a humidifier already, install a few portable ones in commonly used rooms around the house.

Health Tip: Don’t let the humidity get above 50 percent, or you may encounter mold problems.

4. Have the Furnace Checked

When was the last time you had your furnace inspected by a professional? If the answer is “last year,” or “I don’t know,” then it’s time to call in the experts for a heating system tune-up. You should have your furnace maintained annually because this will keep it running smoothly, safely, and efficiently.

Moreover, you’ll be able to get more life out of your furnace, and proper repairs and cleaning will ensure that you don’t wake up on a cold winter morning without any heat in the house because the system broke down.

Winter home maintenance is all about keeping yourself and your family warm, but there are ways you can do it that will make your home more comfortable and save you money in the process. These four tips are easy to implement, affordable, and will help keep you and your loved ones warm and safe this winter. To schedule your annual furnace checkup, or for other issues around the house, call Reliability Home in Dundalk, MD at (443) 399-8663.