Everyone hopes to keep their homes safe and energy bills low throughout winter, but what steps do you actually take toward these goals? We recommend the following to get you started:

Turn Down the Thermostat—An average thermostat temperature is around 68 degrees, and you can save energy by turning it even lower while you’re asleep or not home. A programmable thermostat will lower the temperature automatically during off-peak times.

Replace Old Windows— After 15-20 years, windows can become drafty, so you should consider replacing old windows with energy efficient ones to save money on your monthly utility bill . If you’re not prepared to replace windows, you can purchase window-insulating kits – the clear film can be used to block drafts.

Check Attic Insulation—A poorly insulated roof could lead to a high percentage of heat escaping your home. Make sure any attics or crawlspaces are insulated with the minimum R-value for your climate. Be sure to check the rim joist areas over foundation walls, and fill any spaces with fiberglass insulation.

Consider Thermal Imaging—Most local utility companies offer home energy audits to identify your home’s problem areas. However, you can also rent thermal-imaging cameras to show where heat is escaping the house. It’s a good idea to try one out before taking steps to winterize your home.

Install a Backup Generator—Power outages become a major problem during winter storm season — especially in this area of the United States. FEMA recommends investing in a source of backup power, like a standby generator from Kohler, that automatically provides power for heat and electricity during a blackout. Emergency generators turn on as soon as the power goes out and stay on until power is restored. Home backup generators mean that when your family experiences a blackout, you won’t lose refrigerated food, you’ll be able to work and communicate with others from home, and you won’t have to relocate.