SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Warnings of increased heating bills in Springfield, Missouri, this winter are common and may have some homeowners and renters wondering what they can do to help bring their heating costs down.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating systems cost more money than any other system in your home: making up around 29% of utility bills on average. Preserving your home’s heating may be able to save you money this winter, and there are a few methods you can take advantage of to bring those costs down.

Reduce heating

Perhaps the most obvious fix is to keep your home at a cooler temperature. Get more miles out of your sweaters and blankets instead of heating your home to feel like it’s still September.

Consider lowering the temperature while you’re sleeping or out of the house. It’s a myth that it costs more to bring your system back up to a comfortable point when you return home than having it maintain that comfortable temperature all day.

Don’t block heaters

A common mistake people make is placing furniture or other items in from of their heaters. Be sure that any heaters, vents, or other heat delivery components are clear. Blocking these with couches or drapes makes them work harder to heat rooms.

Replace filters

Replace your air conditioner’s filters as suggested, or even once a month. The more your system’s air filters do their job, the more debris and dust they collect. As they become more clogged, your heating system has to work harder to push air through them.

Turn off exhaust fans

Kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans take smoke and steam out of the rooms they’re in. They also remove heat. Remember to turn off exhaust fans when they’re no longer needed.

Seal air leaks

Doors and windows can be problematic during the winter. Improperly fitted or sealed windows and doors can let the heated air you’re paying for escape. There are multiple ways you can test whether these problem areas are leaking. If you find an air leak, consider sealing it off with caulk, plastic sheets, or rubber seals.

Get a thermographic inspection

If you have some extra money to spend on weatherizing your home, you can have a company perform a thermographic inspection on your house or building. This inspection reads heat signatures from your home to measure where the most heat is escaping. With this information, you can add insulation to key areas, replace problem windows, and so on to keep more of the conditioned air inside your home.

Shut the door

Keep the doors of unused rooms shut to trap the air in it or out of it. If you have rooms you don’t use often in your home, consider sealing them off completely to make heating easier for your air conditioning unit.

Turn the fan on

Did you know most ceiling fans spin both ways? One way is for summer — the other is for winter. Generally, ceiling fans need to be spinning clockwise in the winter and counterclockwise in the summer. Since heat rises, the fan’s winter setting is designed to move heat from the top of the room and push it downward. If you feel cool air coming down directly under your fan, you’re in summer mode. Look for a switch on the drum above the blades.