As we prepare for colder weather, it’s the perfect time to make sure your home is using energy efficiently. It’s in the best interest of the environment—and your wallet. Add these 5 energy-smart tips to your to-do list and reap the environmental and financial benefits.

Set it and forget it

The more you adjust your thermostat, the more energy you’ll waste. In the winter, try setting the temperature at 68 degrees or below. You’ll save 5% on heating costs for every degree you lower your thermostat. Better yet, purchase a smart programmable thermostat that learns your habits and senses when you’re home. You can stay comfortable when it matters, and save energy when it doesn’t.

Get a checkup

Even the most thermostat-savvy will waste energy if they have inefficient heating and cooling units. That’s why it’s a good idea to get your equipment checked every year before the summer and winter seasons. If you find it continually needing repairs, consider replacing your system, especially if it’s 15 years or older. Today’s energy-efficient equipment saves enough on operating costs to make up for the initial investment. Also consider a heat pump, an economical way to stay comfortable year-round.

Don’t underestimate your ceiling fan

Did you know your ceiling fan is designed to reverse directions in the winter? When it’s cold outside, run your fan clockwise at a low speed. This will distribute warm air from the ceiling to the floor without directly blowing on you. Plus, the cost of running a fan is minimal.

Cook smarter

The kitchen is full of opportunities for energy efficiency.  If you have a choice between cooking in an oven or a toaster oven, opt for the latter; it’s 50% more efficient. When using your oven, cook by time and temperature instead of repeatedly opening the door to check on progress. Each time you open the door, the oven temperature drops 25-50 degrees. Alternatively, if you’re making a single-dish meal like stew, use a slow-cooker to save energy, time, and effort.

Know dishwasher decorum

On average, dishwashers use 15 gallons of hot water per load—not including electricity needed to operate the machine. That said, it’s important to make the most of each dish-washing cycle. Always load the dishwasher to capacity before running it, and ensure that the dispenser and spray arms aren’t blocked. It’s best to choose the shortest washing cycle that will clean your dishes, and use your dishwasher’s power-saver switch to automatically eliminate the drying cycle.