MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Energy saving tips

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It may be warm now, but colder temperatures are on the way... and that usually brings higher power bills.

Here are some easy and cheap ways you can save energy and money.

If you fear this winter's power bill, the time to act is now.

"There are lots of ways, many of them inexpensive ways, good weekend projects in which you can find savings through very simple steps," said Virginia Energy Sense Manager Andy Farmer.

The first step is to find your home's power wasters. You can pinpoint the problems using the Virginia Energy Sense home energy test.

"Doing some simple caulking, weather stripping or sealing, you can really take care of some trouble spots in your home," said Farmer.

A new calendar debuted this week, offering 31 tips in 31 days - every piece of advice will chip away what you pay for power. Go look under your bathroom sink. If there are gaps where piping enters the house, seal them with expandable foam. One can only costs about five bucks.

"Including changing the filters in your heating and air conditioning system," said Farmer.

Inexpensive reusable air whistles let you know when they need to be replaced. Foam plates behind outlet covers cut down on air leaks. Plus, adjust your thermostat. Why heat a home when you're not there?

"Give your energy system a rest while you're away," said Farmer.

A programmable thermostat can do the work for you. Use power strips that turn off appliances that otherwise constantly suck power.

"These are steps for the energy novice or the do-it-yourself warrior," said Farmer.

If you're more on the novice side, the Virginia Energy Sense site has a "do-it-yourself" guide to walk you through it.

"Improvements you make in the winter will be beneficial in the summer months as well," said Farmer.

Click here to visit the Virginia Energy Sense website:

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.