SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Winter is here and winter weather has made a real impact on the Carolinas. Freezing temperatures, snow, and rain aren’t just hard on you, they can be hard on your budget as well.

Winter weather can be harsh. But just like you use hats, gloves, and coats to protect yourself from the cold weather, you can winterize your home to protect it from cold weather.

“If you want to save money there are easy things you can do,” Ryan Mosier with Duke Energy said. “When you have bouts of extreme cold weather that last multiple days and dip to freezing or below, one thing you can do to help manage your energy cost is to make sure your home is energy efficient,” Mosier said.

Your home uses a lot of energy every season, but there are several small things you can do today that could lead to big savings right away. Mosier said you want to winterize your house.

“Make sure your HVAC system is up to speed. That you have the appropriate insulation where it needs to be. Make sure the home is sealed,” he explained.

Check the seal on doors and windows

According to some energy reports, roughly 35% of your homes heat can be lost thru cracks in door and windowsills. Close those gaps by caulking your windows and cover the gaps under your outside doors with something as simple as a rolled-up bath towel. That will help keep the heat inside your home.

Another great way to make your home winter ready is to shut doors in rooms you are not using. By minimizing the amount of space you need to heat, you keep the rooms that you are using warm.

Add insulation to your lofts and basements

The added protection will keep warm air in and cold air out.

“If you’re looking to save money there are easy things you can do,” Mosier said. “During the day when the sun is out, open your blinds. Let the sunshine in. That will warm the room and the whole house. The added heat from the sun will warm temperatures in a room even on the coldest days and for every bit of heat you get from the sun you can turn down your thermostat and save money.”

Manage your thermostat

“There is such great technology out there now with smart thermostats that can really help you make sure you have the right temperature at the right time to make your family comfortable but also saves energy,” Mosier said.

A digital, programmable thermostat will let you lower the temperature in your home when no one is there and when you are sleeping. For every degree you adjust the thermostat, that is as much as 5 percent savings or cost to your energy bill.

For anyone interested in making your home more winter-proof, Duke Energy offers a variety of resources including a free home energy audit for qualified customers.

Using some these simple tips will help you save money, keep the warm air in and the cold air out.