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Calgary’s winters are bad enough without having to worry about the expensive heating bills that often accompany plummeting temperatures. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to limit the damage and save a bit of cash in the process.

1) Make sure your home is properly insulated

Here’s how to find out if your home needs an insulation upgrade.

2) Layer up and lower the temperature

One of the most common pieces of advice for cutting your heating bill is also the most straightforward: dress warm and keep your thermostat at a lower temperature. A sweater and a pair of slippers can go a long way to keep you warm without jacking up the thermostat and heating your whole home. It’s also a good idea to keep your thermostat at one temperature during the day, another lower temperature at night when you’re asleep, and an even lower temperature if no one is home – just make sure that the temperature never drops low enough to allow pipes to freeze. A programmable “smart” thermostat is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this and will often pay for itself in energy savings within the first year.

3) Use the fireplace sparingly

Unfortunately, despite the lovely ambience they create, wood-burning fireplaces are extremely inefficient as a heat source, with as much as 80 per cent of the heat they produce immediately escaping through the chimney. Also, make sure you close the flue and the damper when the fireplace is not in use to prevent heat loss to the outside air.

4) Invest in a humidifier

Calgary’s dry climate has led many Calgarians to invest in a humidifier, if only to avoid the scaly hands, cracked lips and dry throat that are all too common here during the winter months. However, there’s one more important reason to track down one of these small appliances this winter if you haven’t already: a lack of moisture in the air could be making your home feel colder. That’s because water holds heat, so higher humidity in the home will make the air feel warmer, even with the thermostat set at a lower temperature.

5) Improve air circulation

We all know that hot air rises. What you might not know is that if you have ceiling fans, running them in the winter can help to improve air circulation by pushing warm air down to ground level. Your fans may even have a reverse function – usually, counter-clockwise rotation creates a downward breeze for cooling in the summer, but clockwise rotation will create an updraft to circulate heat down in the winter.

6) Pay attention to doors and windows

Drafty doors and windows are obvious areas to address if you’re looking to lower your heating bill, but there are also more subtle changes that can save you money. Your window coverings can play an important role in heat retention if used correctly. Close all blinds and drapes at night to act as insulation and prevent heat loss through windows, then open them up during the day to allow sunlight to heat the home. Closing off rooms by shutting interior doors can also be beneficial in a few different situations, allowing you to avoid heating a room that’s unoccupied or to hold heat inside a room that you are using.