Here are some other ways to save on home energy costs this winter:

- Check to see that doors shut and latch properly.

- Check your window locks. Locking windows can help to prevent cold air from seeping through.

- Put up storm windows and hang heavy drapes over drafty windows.

- Replace mail slots with external mailboxes.

- Schedule a furnace tune-up at least once a year. Experts say you can save as much as five per cent on heating costs by scheduling a service appointment for your furnace before the cold weather arrives. This helps to ensure your furnace operates at its peak efficiency throughout the winter.

- Manage your thermostat. You can save about 1 per cent on heating bills for every degree you turn your thermostat down for eight hours a day (e.g. 10 degrees for a 10 percent savings), experts say. Try lowering the temperature at night or while you're at work. The rest of the time, keeping your home at 20 C or 68 F will save some green.

If you are away from your home for an extended time, however, don't turn off the heat. This can lead to frozen pipes and costly repairs. If possible, lower the thermostat to 13 degrees C (55 F) while you are away.

- Check the clothes dryer vent at the outside wall for a draft.

- Keep the fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. Keeping it open is like keeping a 48-inch window wide open during the winter, according to experts.

- Remove hoses from outside faucets, drain them and store them away for the winter.

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Cynthia Ross Cravit