The polar vortex has descended with a vengeance on much of the U.S. this year, setting records for low temperatures and threatening to send utility bills skyrocketing. While you can’t do anything about the chilly weather, you can take steps to make your home more energy efficient and pay less for heating. To start, the U.S. Department of Energy has a do-it-yourself energy audit on its website, or you can call a contractor for a professional audit. Homeowners should start with smaller tweaks to their home before making big-ticket purchases. “There are a lot of changes you can do before you get a new furnace,” says Todd Recknagel, CEO of AM Conservation Group in Charleston, South Carolina. What matters most is keeping the warm air in and the cold air out. There are a number of measures you can take to accomplish those goals, from inexpensive, do-it-yourself repairs to more pricey renovations that require hiring a contractor. The areas where you can get the most energy savings for the money are insulation, windows and closing up cracks in walls, around windows and doors and any other spot where air might slip through. See the complete U.S. News and World Reports article.