You've probably heard of lots of ways to save electricity, and thereby money, during the summer months. With everyone running their air conditioning, it's a good idea to save your dishwashing, laundry and other power-intensive tasks for off-hours if you want to keep your utility bill low.

But have you considered where your money goes during the winter? While winter-months energy usage doesn't get as much media attention, many parts of the country burn countless BTUs staying warm. Here are a few tips on how to avoid overspending and keep energy usage low this winter.

Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Windows

Up to 30% of the heat loss from your home can go through the windows. Keeping that heat in means less energy spent, but you'll have to make an initial investment. Modern storm windows use double-paned laminated glass that traps heat and keeps the cold out effectively. They're not cheap, but you should only have to replace them once every few decades.

Seal up Leaks

There are lots of places in your home where you could be losing energy. Your HVAC system, for example, could be letting cold air in. An old garage door that doesn't seal well can make your garage into a cold pack for your home.

Check your walls, electrical outlets, plumbing, windows and doors for signs that air might be using them to escape or enter your home. Replace weather-stripping and caulking to ensure cold can't sneak in through little crevices.

Upgrade Your Fireplace

Most people believe using a fireplace rather than central heating is a more energy-efficient thing to do. But did you know your fireplace might be far less efficient than a modern model? New EPA-certified fireplaces are great for heating your home but leak less heat than older, outdated models.

Harness the Sun

Sunlight is mankind's oldest source of warmth, and it'll work just as well this winter as it always has on days when the sun is shining. Draw the curtains of south-facing blinds or curtains during the day to maximize heat transfer from sunlight. Don't forget to take in the snowy views while you're at it.

Use Efficient Space Heaters

Rather than heating your entire home, use a low-energy space heater to heat only the areas where you spend the most time. For safety's sake, be careful to turn it off when you leave the room.

Dress Warmly

It's winter, so why not break out the sweatpants and wool socks? If you've got comfy winter clothes, you can afford to allow the temperature to drop a little and let your clothes do the warming. After all, sometimes it's more fun to bundle up during the winter months anyway.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fan Blades

The blades in your fan typically act to move air upward, pulling hot air out of the space. However, if you switch the direction of your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise, they'll force the hot air at the top of the room back down, toward you. It's a 100% free method of helping to heat your home.

Winter is coming, and you'll be ready! Just think of the money you'll save by being more energy-efficient this winter. That's extra gas in the car for ski trips, new wool mittens for the kiddos or heck, maybe just a few decent meals out. However you spend it, you'll be enjoying it more than if you were sitting at home in the cold.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington