Hygge — a Danish word that has found its way into the American lexicon — is the concept of creating a cozy, comfortable and warm atmosphere, and it’s ideal for those winter months when it’s too cold to go outside. As outdoor temperatures dip, part of embracing hygge means turning on your home’s heat, so it’s important to ensure your furnace is working at its most efficient.

These seven simple tips will ensure your furnace isn’t using too much energy — which will save you cash.

  • Change the air filter. To keep energy costs down, clean or replace your air filter every three months at a minimum (although in the winter, when you’re running the heat more often, you should check it each month to ensure it isn’t too dirty). Every home improvement store sells furnace filters, and changing one is easy — simply pop out the old, dusty filter and pop in a new one.
  • Check and clean the vents. Walk through your home and take stock of the air vents to make sure they’re free of obstructions; blocked vents mean a furnace has to work harder. Then, turn off the furnace, unscrew the vent covers, and vacuum the vent openings using your vacuum’s long attachment.
  • Clean out the furnace. We hope you didn’t put away that vacuum just yet! To keep the furnace performing at its best, once a year, remove the access panels from your furnace and use the same long attachment to clean out any dust or debris that might have collected inside.
  • Rethink the thermostat. To save money during the cold months, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 68°F when you’re awake, and about 7 to 10°F cooler at bedtime. By turning the thermostat down for eight hours a day, you can save as much as 10% a year on your heating bill. Programmable thermostats make this easier to manage, and DTE gas customers may be eligible for a $50 rebate if you go with a Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat.
  • Put a sweater on. We know we’re channeling your parents by saying this, but during times of extreme cold, a furnace might not be able to bring the inside temperature as high as you’d like. When it’s excessively cold, instead of turning the thermostat up to a temperature the furnace likely can’t get to, wear warmer clothing to save energy. Your wallet will thank you.
  • Get a tune-up. Just like cars, furnaces need regular tune-ups, so call an HVAC professional to give your furnace an energy tune-up with combustion analysis. They’ll use advanced diagnostic tools to check your furnace and adjust it for optimal efficiency, safety and comfort. This will help lower your energy costs, keep your home warm and extend the life of your equipment — and DTE gas customers could get a $50 rebate, too.
  • Upgrade your equipment. Older furnace systems have efficiencies in the range of 56% to 70%, but modern, high-efficiency heating systems can achieve as much as 98.5% efficiency, which can cut your fuel bills in half. Trade in your old model for something new and more efficient, and DTE Gas customers could get up to $400 in rebates, depending on the efficiency measurement of the new furnace you choose.

These tips will help you ensure your furnace is heating your home efficiently — saving energy and money, while keeping your space hygge-ready. So grab a good book and a hot drink, and stay warm this winter!