On average, 40 percent of a home’s heat loss takes place through the attic, so it’s a smart place to start investing in energy-saving solutions.

1. Start with the attic

Having adequate insulation is the first step to retaining heat in the home where you want and need it. So, how much is enough? If you can see the joists in your attic, it’s under-insulated. Install un-faced rolls or batts over the existing insulation, or rent a blower from a home center to blow loose fill-insulation into the space.

While you’re in the attic, check for any leaks in the HVAC ductwork. If you feel air escaping, turn off the fan and apply foil duct tape over the holes. Then, use a brush to apply duct mastic over the foil tape and joints.

2. Don’t skip the stairwell

Now that the attic is covered, don’t forget about the attic stairway, which is typically closed off with nothing more than quarter-inch plywood. Adding an attic stair cover that acts like a tent is a simple way to prevent additional heat loss. These are widely available at hardware and home centers, and can even be constructed with simple foam board and duct tape for an inexpensive and effective do-it-yourself version.

3. Seal the envelope

It may surprise you that if you add up all of the existing cracks and crevices in an average home, you’d be looking at a 3-ft. by 3-ft. hole in the wall. “Seal the envelope” of your home by filling small cracks around windows with quality, exterior-grade caulking, and use expandable spray foam to insulate larger cracks and holes.

4. Plug electrical sockets

During the cold winter months, windows, doors and even electrical sockets can become sources of drafts in your home. There are all sorts of inexpensive and DIY-friendly weatherization products available to seal these areas, from weather stripping and door sweeps, to socket sealers and window insulation film.

5. Warm up for free

Finally, there are several things you can do to winterize your home that don’t cost anything at all, such as switching your fans to rotate clockwise to circulate warm air, and keeping window blinds and curtains open on sunny days. Lowering the thermostat and water heater by just a few degrees can reduce your energy bill. Plus, it gives you a great excuse to throw another log on the fire, grab a blanket and snuggle up.