Stay warm; save energy

      Everyone knows that turning the thermostat down a few degrees and throwing an extra blanket on the bed can stave off high winter energy bills. Here are a few simple but lesser-known energy-savers that you might consider trying this season:

      Turn on the ceiling fan. If you switch the direction that the fan’s blades rotate so they slowly spin clockwise, the room could feel a bit warmer. This creates an updraft and pushes warm air back into the room.

      Retire your wood-burning fireplace. An open fire requires an open flue, and that that can suck the warmth right out of your house. Consider replacing it with an electrical insert with realistic flames or a fun light show.

      Open the drapes during the day; close them at night. The sun is nature’s furnace, so let it shine in through south-facing windows during the day.

      Cover windows with plastic film. It will stop much of the heat loss that can escape through uncovered windows.

      Use portable space heaters in the rooms you use most often so you can turn the thermostat down a bit and avoid heating unused spaces.

      Run exhaust fans sparingly. Turn on the bathroom fan before you take a shower and turn it off as soon as the steam clears so it won’t suck warm air out of your home.