Cozying up in a warm house is my most beloved winter activity, but long after the holiday cookies are gone, I'm left with soul-crushing energy bills. The average monthly residential electricity bill in Massachusetts is $94, which is actually one of the lowest in the country. It's certainly easy to feel the pinch of utility bills when you add in water and heating costs (The MA Department of Public Utilities estimates heating costs for this winter for a residential customer using the average amount of fuel for each particular fuel type will be $983 for natural gas and $2,359 for heating oil).

You can reduce energy usage and trim your bills with these tips:

1. Check heating filters

A dirty filter will make your heating system work harder and use more energy (which means it will cost you more). You can extend the life of your heater and cut costs just by changing your filter once a month and having your unit serviced once a year. It’s a small investment for huge year-on-year savings.

2. Set your water heater to 120°

Most water heaters default to 140°F, but many households can still get plenty of warm water when lowering the temperature to 120°F (or even 110°F in some cases). This single change can reduce your water heating costs by 10%.

3. Put ceiling fans to work

Ceiling fans can be as good at warming up rooms as cooling them. Simply change the direction of your ceiling fans so they rotate clockwise—most have a small switch to do so. This will cause air to be pushed upward, helping spread warm air throughout the room.