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Easy ways to save money on heating bills

In your college rental house, you probably tried to keep the heat in by adhering plastic to the windows with a blow-drier. But when you're a homeowner (or just an adult), that look may not exactly go with your decor. Instead, look for attractive, sensible ways to beat the winter chill -- and save money on your heating bills.

You already know all of the little tips, like that it's a good idea to only heat the rooms you'll be in, and to dress warmly around the house. But when you've already put those into practice, there may still be other ways to lower your bills and stay warm.

First, consider hiring an appraiser to find out how you're wasting energy. There are a lot of simple, easy-to-do fixes that can help stop drafts from coming in (and heat from escaping), but it helps to know where the problem areas are. An energy audit may cost a little bit of money upfront, but over time, it can absolutely help save on your heating bills. You can also opt to do it yourself with this DIY energy audit guide from Seattle City Light.

Once you've found the sources of energy waste in your home, it's time to come up with clever solutions.

If you live in an older home or a home with hardwood floors, you'll probably find that you're losing a lot of heat through the spaces between the doors and the floor. And while a rolled-up towel works alright, it's not the most stylish solution. There are plenty of cute draft-stoppers available online (try Etsy for a crafty-looking one) which are easily stowed when you don't need them, and inoffensive when you do.

Caulking around the windows and doors is an easy, inexpensive way to help keep airflow to a minimum -- and usually, you can find a caulk that is close to the color of the surface you're working with. Take a photo of area you'll be caulking near (not on Instagram -- you need the color to be true!), then bring it to your local hardware store to ensure that it matches.

Weather-stripping your windows is another easy way to cut the draft and save on heating bills, without dramatically changing the appearance of your home. Lowe's has some great tips on how to get started.

The coldest days of winter are still to come in the Pacific Northwest. Start weather-proofing your house now to save money all year 'round.