As a Colorado resident, you know the true meaning of winter. Heaps of snow, strong winds, and freezing temperatures all combine to make each winter challenging. But true to the Colorado spirit, you make the most of every winter by hitting the slopes and enjoying the great outdoors.

And when the weather gets too cold and too snowy, you rely on your heater to keep you safe and warm. But have you ever stopped to consider if your heater, like you, makes the most of winter?

Colorado homeowners demand the best of their heaters each winter, and with good reason. But after a few harsh winters, many heaters become less efficient. Inefficient heaters not only lead to cold houses and discomfort, they also cost you money.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to improve your heater’s efficiency.

1. Change your air filter.

When was the last time you changed your HVAC system’s filter? If you’re like most homeowners, you probably forget about this easy fix until you notice a huge heating bill. Dirty filters restrict airflow through your system, forcing your heater to work harder to heat your home.

To save yourself some money, change the filter at least every three months. You may need to change it every month during the winter when you use your heater the most.

2. Eliminate drafts around your home.

Nothing zaps your heater’s efficiency like a drafty door or window. Not only do drafts allow cold air in, but they also let hot air escape from your home. These factors force your heater to work double time to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

Take the following steps to eliminate drafts from your home.

  • Replace worn or torn weatherstripping. Look at the seals around your doors and windows. If the seals or coming loose or have holes in them, remove them install new seals.
  • Examine your electrical outlets. Electrical outlets on exterior walls tend to be drafty because they don’t have insulation behind them. As a result, heat leaks around and through the box. To solve this problem, remove the boxes’ cover plates and fill any small gaps you see with acrylic latex caulk. Fill larger gaps with foam sealant. Install a foam gasket over the outlet, then replace the cover.
  • Look for holes in exterior walls. While you plug leaks around electrical outlets, seal holes where gas lines, pipes, and electrical cables enter your home. Chances are there are some gaps around these holes through which heat can escape. Use the same materials to seal these holes as you do holes around electrical outlets.

3. Cover windows and glass doors with plastic film.

You lose about 25 percent of your home’s heat through your windows and glass doors. But by covering windows and sliding glass doors with plastic film, you can retain about 14% of that heat.

You can find transparent plastic film at most home improvement stores. It’s easy to install, and it won’t harm your paint when you remove it.

4. Keep air moving.

You don’t need to turn off your ceiling fans when summer ends. Air movement is key to even heat distribution in your home, and ceiling fans provide you with the best way to keep air moving.

Look for a switch on the main body of your fans. By flipping this switch, you’ll reverse your fan’s direction and force air upward. When the hot air meets the ceiling, it will move toward your walls and distribute itself throughout the room.

5. Schedule regular maintenance with a professional.

Periodic preventative maintenance is essential if you want your heater to run smoothly for years to come. Have a professional tune up your heater each fall before chilly temperatures really set in. A professional can identify problems before they manifest themselves and also make necessary repairs.

Winter is the best season in Colorado. Make the most of it by using these tips and working with a heating professional in your area.