One of the biggest concerns homeowners face during the winter is the cold. Freezing air is often the enemy of a safe, secure property, and these months could spell trouble for a house.

However, there are a few good steps that residents should take in order to warm up - without spending too much money. Instead of waking up to frozen pipes, these simple precautions could help heat a home throughout the winter.

Warmth on a budget

Before a homeowner ever makes that first change, a home inspection is a great way to figure out where any problems lie. A licensed professional should spot energy leaks, foundation cracks or missing insulation where winter weather can enter a house. 

For owners looking for a quick upgrade, a programmable thermostat might be the answer, according to This Old House. This device allows for easy settings to control heating and air conditioning, taking the decision-making process out of the hands of the residents. At night, it could save money to turn the heat down, while first thing in the morning could benefit from a little blast of hot air. For example, between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. could be set hotter, while 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. could be up to 10 degrees colder.

In addition, a property inspection could identify any energy leaks, such as drafty, damaged windows and doors or attic problems. Homeowners should also take a few precautions, as well. During the winter, it may be tempting for many people to throw a few logs on the fire and provide some extra heat. However, an open fireplace damper - when the flames aren't going - lets out as much heated air as an open window, This Old House noted. Therefore, it should be shut at all times when there isn't a fire burning. 

Moreover, some quick design changes might also provide added warmth to a home, without costing a dime. Furniture arrangements during the summer might be fine for a cool house, but that same couch blocking a vent, radiator or register might impede the heat, according to the news source. Therefore a change might be in order for the homeowners, including moving all furniture away from these critical components. 

Spruce up the exterior

The outside of the home is another big reason why the interior could get so cold during the winter. Homeowners who have a home inspection completed often get a jump on fixing any heating problems and energy leaks. Drafts are an enemy when the temperature drops, and a property inspection professional may have the needed answers.

For starters, the space around windows and doors should be looked at, reported. Leaks like this are a common culprit for lost heated air and a colder house. Solutions could include expandable foam to fill gaps around windows, or installing or replacing missing molding or trim. Some larger sections could benefit from this fix, where major spaces need a more concrete resolution. For both doors and windows, a draft stop might help homeowners save heat and money as well. 

Foundations might also warrant a check-up. A home inspection is an ideal method to figure out if cracks are threatening a property, or if there are any drafty sections. Home "banking" is a possible fix for some people. This step includes several options: Placing hay bales, plastic sheeting with foam insulation or raking leaves and mulch against a foundation, the news source noted. Any of these choices should help keep warmer air inside, and colder air out. Banking may prevent a drafty foundation from costing a homeowner money during the winter.