If you have been following Mike Alger's forecast, you know we are expecting a cold weekend ahead, with highs in the 40's. When temperatures drop, energy bills tend to go up. What can we do to keep our homes warm without breaking the bank? Find out in tonight's Money Watch Q & A. Chad Piekarz is an Energy Efficiency expert with NV Energy. If you have questions about winterizing your home to save money, Chad will take your calls at (775) 858-2222 tonight between 5-6 p.m.

Also, here are Chad's top recommendations for preparing your home for the cold months ahead:

Turn it down. NV Energy advises customers to set the furnace thermostat to 58 degrees in the evening or when you're away from home. When you're at home, or during waking hours, the thermostat should be set at 68 degrees. Each degree above this setting can increase your energy bill by as much as 2 percent.

Tune it up. Having your furnace professionally serviced will help it work more efficiently. Technicians inspect and clean the blower assembly, adjust the burners, clean the coils and heat exchanger, and perform other maintenance to help reduce your energy consumption.  New high-efficiency natural gas furnaces and oil furnaces should be serviced annually. For most other furnaces, a professional service every two years should be sufficient.

Change the filter. Be sure to change furnace filters monthly during the heating season. Filters play an important role by trapping dust particles that can affect the efficiency of your furnace and indoor air quality. Dirty filters make the furnace work harder to keep your house warm.

Upgrade your thermostat. If you have an older manually-operated thermostat, replace it with a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the settings so you won't have to remember to do it yourself.

Check insulation. Make sure you have sufficient insulation in your attic. Insulation rated at R-38, which should be around 13 inches deep, works well in our climate; heating ductwork should also be insulated with an R-4 to R-6 value.

Prevent escapes. Use caulk to seal the air leaks around windows and install weather stripping on doors to ensure the air you're heating doesn't escape. Inexpensive gaskets are also available that can be installed behind electrical outlets that are located on exterior walls. Warm air can leak from those as well.

Use ceiling fans. According to Piekarz, ceiling fans aren't just for cooling the house down in the summer. They can also move warm air from the ceiling back down to the floor. In most homes, a low-speed clockwise rotation should pull cold air up and push the warm air back down without creating a cool breeze.

Shun space heaters. If possible, try not to rely too much on electric space heaters. It costs considerably more to heat your home with electricity. But if the primary source of heat in your home is electricity, use low wattage space heaters rather than conventional electric baseboard heaters that require more electricity.

For more useful energy savings ideas, log onto NV Energy's website, www.NVEnergy.com.

Written by Kristen Remington