Experts are predicting an increase of somewhere between fifteen and twenty percent for heating costs in Minnesota this winter. That's the largest jump in more than a decade.

And what Mother Nature decides to do to us over the next few months will determine just how hard of an impact that will be to our wallets.

We're not powerless though. There are several things we can do to make sure we're saving as much as we can on heating this season.

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Ten Tips for Saving Money on Heating This Winter

1. Turn Down Your Thermostat: The U.S. Department of Energy says that you could save as much as 10% on heating costs by turning down the thermostat 7 to 10 degrees during the day when you're at work.

2. Use the Sun to Your Advantage: During the day, open window coverings to let the sun in and help your furnace heat your home. At night, close them all up to help keep the heat from escaping.

3. Make Sure Your Furnace Filter is Clean: Dirty furnace filters make your furnace work harder.

4. Get a Furnace Tune-Up: Make sure your furnace is operating at peak efficiency by having it inspected and tuned-up by a professional technician.

5. Turn Down Your Water Heater: Experts say tuning your water heater down to 120 degrees from a typical setting of 140 degrees could reduce water heating costs by as much as ten percent.

6. Inspect Doors & Windows: Stop leaking air by replacing weather stripping when needed. Use indoor and outdoor plastic window cover kits to create an insulating dead-air space.

7. Adjust Your Ceiling Fan: In the summer ceiling fans blow on us to keep us cool. In the winter we want the fans turning clockwise to help circulate the warm air that rises to the ceiling, but doesn't blow down directly on us. There's usually a little switch on the side of the fan to change the blade direction.

8. Use a Space Heater: Is your bathroom freezing when you get out of the shower? No need to turn the heat up for the whole house. Use a space heater.

9. Shut Doors to Unused Rooms: Why heat a room that nobody uses? Close the vents and doors to those rooms.

10. Close Your Fireplace: If you have a real wood-burning fireplace, don't forget to close the flue and damper when you're not using it.

Bundle up buttercup. The National Weather Service says the latter part of our winter in Minnesota will likely feature below normal temps.

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We might be full of lakes and "nice" but Minnesota has had its fair share of horrible and nasty weather. Throughout the years we've had floods, fires, storms that have crushed stadium roofs flat, and tornadoes that have destroyed lives.

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