Making the home more energy efficient does not have to be a costly endeavor. Increasing energy efficiency can be achieved through cheap methods. Find some cheap ways to make the home more energy efficient:

Check for drafts around doors and windows. In cold months, drafty windows and doors can waste a lot of energy, resulting in higher heating costs for the home's inhabitants. Combat drafts under doors by placing a rolled up towel at the bottom of the door. This will effectively stop drafts and, assuming a towel is readily available, is a free way to increase energy efficiency. Older windows which are drafty can be dealt with in many ways. Plastic window insulators cost around ten dollars to cover three windows. Removable caulk is available even cheaper to place around the edges of windows where drafts may be pouring in. The cheapest way of dealing with drafts from windows is to place an old comforter over the window. The stuffing in the comforter will block drafts, and, especially if the comforter happens to be a dark color, the comforter will block out sunlight in the room. This is especially effective in bedrooms.

Another easy way to increase energy efficiency which involves windows is to pull up the shades and let the sunlight in. Natural sunlight coming through windows has been shown to heat up the area around the window by as much as two degrees. Sunlight can really come in handy during cold winter months! The most effective way to deal with old, drafty windows would be to put plastic wrap over the windows and pull back the shades for a double whammy of energy efficiency!

Stuffing paper in door locks and the pulley systems of old windows can be an extremely cheap and easy way to increase energy efficiency. Many old doors have locks which are no longer compatible with modern keys. These door locks use what is known as a skeleton key. The holes in doors for skeleton keys can be very large and allow a lot of cold air in. Stuffing a little paper, maybe even sealing the paper in with duct tape, can be a very effective means of blocking drafts. If a small amount of duct tape is used, the duct tape should not interfere with the paint on the door and should come up very easily in the spring.

Getting the furnace checked every few years can be a very economical way to increase efficiency, as often a check-up includes a tune-up. This method is most efficient for older furnaces. Though a furnace check-up can cost around two hundred dollars, the increased energy efficiency and the peace of mind that the furnace should not go out in the middle of January should more than cover the cost.

In cold weather, be sure to open the oven, if possible, after baking in order to let excess heat into the kitchen. This will help the furnace to not have to work as hard to heat the house. This tip is not recommended in homes with young children.

Year-round ideas to increase energy efficiency include turning the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer up a bit to make them a little warmer. This will cut down on the amount of time the refrigerator and freezer uses the cooling cycle, thus increasing energy efficiency. Also, keeping the fridge and freezer well-stocked will help to insulate the contents so that the inside of the fridge and freezer stay colder longer.

Check the water heater and turn it down to 140 degrees or cooler. 140 is recommended so that the dishwasher can maintain proper temperature settings to sanitize dishes. If no dish washer is in the home, try setting the water heater to 120 degrees and adjusting a few degrees from there. Get a water heater blanket to wrap the water heater so less heat is lost from the tank.

Be sure to insulate pipes, especially hot water pipes, so that heat is not lost in transit. Water pipe insulators cost less than ten dollars apiece and can really pay for themselves in energy efficiency over time. Even cheaper, swimming "noodles" can be cut lenghtwise and placed over pipes.

These are just a few ideas to increase energy efficiency. Many more ideas abound!