Winter is here, which means your energy bills may start creeping up soon. That is, unless you do something about it. Here are a few ways to keep power companies from getting more of your money this winter. 

Make Sure All of Your Vents Are Open. - It sounds obvious, but it's worth checking to make sure that all of your heating vents are open. If they're not, then your home isn't being evenly heated. Consequently, your heater works harder and harder to get those parts of the home warmed up, which means it uses up more energy, increasing the bill. Go all throughout your home and apartment to double check and make sure your heating vents are open. 

Get a Programmable Thermostat. - Programmable thermostats are great investments. You can set it so it automatically heats up your home when you're home or about to be home, and set it so that your house is cooler when you're not around, so it doesn't use as much energy. Studies show that programmable thermostats can help homeowners save as much as 20% of their heating costs. In fact, they pay for themselves in the first year. 

Turn the Heat Down. - Why keep your house super warm when you can just as easily put on a sweater? You can save between one to three percent of your heating costs just by dialing things down. The optimum temperature is to set your home to 68 degrees when you're home, and 65 degrees when you're away. If you're going to be gone for the day (or at least for five hours), lower your thermostat to 58 degrees. 

It's also worth noting that there are renewable energy companies who may be able to offer you more alternatives. That being said, not all states have deregulated energy markets. Check online to see if your state allows different power suppliers to compete for customers. 

Starion Energy is a licensed electricity and gas supplier in the deregulated energy market since Sept. 2009. Energy deregulation gives consumers the choice of an alternative electric supplier and determines the rates and terms at which they purchase electric generation services. Starion services markets in CT, DE, DC, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, OH, & PA. Starion is strategically positioned for continued growth in new markets for years to come. For more information visit starionenergy.com.