An energy-efficient heating system can go far in helping to reduce winter energy costs. But not everyone can make HVAC upgrades, whether they’re renting or budgets won’t allow it.

Here are four low-cost efficiency tips that can help you reduce winter energy bills.

  1. Mind the thermostat: You might be able to trim your energy bill by carefully managing the temperature in your home. The Department of Energy suggests setting your thermostat to 68 degrees on winter days. If that’s too cool, try other ways to stay warm like layering with an extra sweater. You can save more energy by turning down the thermostat even lower at night or when no one is home.
  2. Stop air leaks: Small gaps around windows, doors, wiring and plumbing penetrations can be major sources of energy loss. This problem can be alleviated with a little weather stripping and caulk, but you should check with your landlord before you get started. A door draft stopper (also known as a “door snake,” which cost from $10–$20) is a simple way to block gaps underneath exterior doors. Sealing air leaks around your home could shave up to one-fifth of your heating and cooling bills.
  3. Manage your windows and window coverings: Your windows may be letting heat out during the winter and letting heat in during the summer. Window coverings, like medium or heavy-weight curtains, and thermal blinds can help. On cold winter days, window coverings can keep warmth inside and improve comfort. Opening up window coverings when you’re receiving direct sunlight is a ‘passive solar’ technique that can help cut your heating costs.
  4. Look for energy wasters: There are also small steps you can take every day to reduce your energy use. Water heaters should be kept at the warm setting (120 degrees). Wash dishes and clothes on the most economical settings that will do the job and always wash full loads. Use the microwave instead of the oven when possible.