As anyone who's been outside can probably tell you, much of the prairies is currently quite chilly, with an official cold warning coming from Environment Canada following multiple wind chills over -40.

That means that a lot more people will be spending a lot more time indoors, where they can manage to stay warm thanks to modern heating technology.

However, that means a lot of power has to go out, which was proven when Saskpower announced it had hit a new winter energy consumption record of 3,868 MW, which is 76 more than the record set four years ago.

That increased power usage can also mean increased power bills for many people unless they find a way to heat more efficiently.

Owner of Mid-City Plumbing & Heating Kim Skjonsby details some of the new technology that can keep your costs down.

"All new furnaces have the ECM technology, so they are very low-consumption power-wise, compared to the old one. If you have an old PSC motor on your furnace you are going to be consuming probably $200-$300 more (power) per year."

Besides switching out a motor, there are a few different habits and non-furnace upgrades that can help keep the need to run a furnace down.

"Just maintaining your furnace properly, so that you're getting the best efficiency out of it. Obviously the normal things - limit your traffic in and out of the house, to have the doors closed as soon as possible, upgrade insulation and house wrap and windows, and such."

Skjonsby also recommends a few extra actions when you're going through extreme cold like we are now to ensure that furnaces are running properly.

"If they've got a high-efficiency furnace they're going to check their vent and intake pipes, make sure they're clear, check filters. Those are probably some of the most common things with the extended run times in the cold weather. Check drains off the furnace as well." 

He also recommends having some space heaters as a backup, in case your furnace stops working and you have to wait for a repair.