Well the weather outside is turning frightful, and as the days get shorter, the temperatures drop fast, and the number on your home energy bill can start to climb dramatically. If you don’t have a solid plan for winter, you could end up paying a lot more than you intended on your home utility bills. Don’t be left out in the cold — instead follow these easy tips to save money and keep your energy costs in line.

Fix the Plumbing 
When it comes to your plumbing, make sure you aren’t flushing money down the drain. Contacting a plumbing specialist can address major and minor issues such as leaky toilets and inefficient flushing. Addressing these issues can save you a lot of time and money in the long run and can cut down on your water bill in a big way.

Upgrade Your Appliances 
The more modern your heating and cooling appliances are, the more likely they are to be energy efficient. This means that they’re going to be more cost effective for you in the long run even though they may have a higher price tag up front.

Consider the smart thermostat — technology pioneered by Google’s Nest that can make your home energy efficient in ways you never imagined. This thermostat can be programmed to turn on and off during specific peak or off hours, and you can even activate it remotely to begin heating your home as you’re on your way from work. When you invest in new appliances, you are investing in not only a smaller carbon footprint, but also smaller utility bills for years to come.

Upgrade Your Windows 
Faulty windows are one of the quickest ways for both your AC and your heating to seep out of your house, costing you money in the process.

Upgrading to more efficient windows will cut down on the air that you are losing, keep your house cooler/warmer depending on the season, and in turn, chop your heating and cooling bills by a sizable amount. Investing in new windows will pay for itself in just a few years of use. An upgrade to ENERGY STAR windows can also help you cut down on energy waste, and many Canadian provinces offer a rebate simply for making the switch.

Keep an Eye on Your Furnace 
Keeping your furnace in good repair will save you money because the more efficiently it runs, the better your heating will reach the far corners of your home. Furnace problems can get very pricey very fast. By addressing these problems quickly and relying on routine furnace maintenance, you will save yourself on some steep charges later should you need to replace the whole unit.

Contact the Professionals 
The more upkeep you give your home, the better off you’re going to be. Having your plumbing and HVAC units maintained regularly will help them to run more smoothly and efficiently and will ensure that they last you for years to come.

Don’t skimp out on maintenance or rely on flimsy DIY fix-it techniques. A plumbing specialist can address problems from clogged drains and frozen pipes, while an HVAC specialist can keep your furnace running smoothly all winter long. Putting your home upkeep needs in the hands of professionals will more than pay for itself in the long run.