This past Winter, I started looking for ways to reduce my heating bills. I wanted to take some proactive strategies to conserve energy. The priority was tightening up the house and improving the performance of the furnace. The weather gets extremely chilly here. We endure temperatures down to twenty-five below zero and the windchill makes it worse. The snow accumulates in feet. The bad weather tends to last for six to eight straight months. The gas furnace is running all the time between September and April. I was hoping for some way to lessen the workload on the heater. I went online and spent hours searching various ways to improve the thermal envelope. I found that most suggestions were inexpensive and easy. I bought several tubes of caulk from the local hardware store and applied it around the windows to seal them tight. I added weatherstripping to the bottom of the exterior doors. I spent an afternoon upgrading the level of insulation in the attic. I installed ceiling fans in several rooms to push the heated air toward the floor. In the summer, I can reverse the direction of the blades to help get rid of the heat. I also invested in a service plan with a local HVAC contractor. Every fall, a licensed technician comes to the house to check out the furnace. He cleans all components, tightens electrical connections, lubricates moving parts, verifies the heat exchanger and checks out the thermostat. On my own, I make sure to change out the air filter every four to six weeks. These efforts have improved the comfort of my home while saving me a lot of money in heating costs.