Winter is here (for most of us, depending on where you live). If you’re in a cold-weather place, you know how painful heating bills can be. It can cost a lot to keep your home warm, and it’s not something you want to go without for very long.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways you can save money, stay warm—or save money while staying warm. Here are seven tips to get started!
No. 1: Turn the Heat Down
The simplest solutions are often the most effective, even if they’re not the most fun. That’s definitely true for this tip: turn the thermostat down!
It doesn’t take a major drop in temperature to save you money. For example, you can save money by setting the temperature at night lower than you keep it during the day. When you’re sleeping, keep the heat between 55 degrees to 60 degrees. Then, turn it up during the day—but don’t overdo it. Try to keep the temperature in the high 60s. Better yet, keep it at your nighttime temperature if nobody is home.
This way, you’ll only heat things up when you’re awake and around to enjoy the warmth!
No. 2: Keep Your Vents and Radiators Clear
Next, you want to make sure that wherever your heat comes from isn’t blocked. For many, this means radiators or vents along the floors and walls. If you can, avoid placing large, bulky furniture over vents. This will block the heat from spreading throughout your home.
Check to see if any cold spots in your house could be related to this problem. Perhaps there’s a bed or a couch in the way of a vent or radiator. You should also make sure everything is as clean and free of dust as possible. In addition to furniture, dust can make your heating system more inefficient.
No. 3: Cover Up Any Drafts
Have you ever stood by a window or door and felt a cold breeze? This is a draft. Drafts can happen when a little bit of air can sneak into your home. The most common culprits are with windows and doors, but a draft could break through anywhere.
To prevent drafts, you should clog up any gaps in between your windows and doors and the walls. You can buy draft-stoppers to place in the way, get some plastic film to place over windows, or add more caulk to the seals. On a budget, a rolled-up towel stuffed into the gap can work well.
No. 4: Be Strategic About Curtains
On that note, you can also save money on your heating costs by smartly using curtains. Like with drafts, most windows will let a small amount of cold air in and warm air out.
To prevent this, cover up your windows at night with some thick curtains. In a pinch, draping a towel or sheet over windows at night can also help. On the flip side, open those curtains during the day on any windows that get good sunlight. You want that warmth from the sun during the day! Then, trap it inside at night.
No. 5: Close Doors to Unused Rooms
Heating bigger spaces are harder than heating smaller ones! You can save money on heating costs by shutting the doors to any rooms you aren’t using.
This can have several benefits. For one, you can keep heat trapped in the smaller areas you are actually using. Two, it’s easier to heat these smaller areas, so it will use less energy and feel warmer. Three, some homes can turn off radiators or stop heat from going to a specific vent, so you can close the door and turn the heat off. Any of these options could help keep you warm this winter.
No. 6: Add Rugs
Insulation is what is found between your walls and the outside world. It works by preventing air from easily moving from inside to outside.
A little bit of do-it-yourself insulation comes in the form of area rugs. Are your floors cold on your feet? Place a rug! This will insulate your home from the cold underneath the floors. This is especially true for any first-level or basement floors. The rugs will feel nice on your feet and keep some warmth inside your home. Harder surfaces also feel colder, like tile in bathrooms or kitchens. So, these might be good places to start.
No. 7: Turn on Fans
Heat can act weird some times. For example, heat rises—so upper floors often stay warmer. It can also get trapped in corners and stuck behind furniture.
Turn to fans to help spread the heat around the places you need it. A good ceiling fan can push the warm air back down to where you can feel it. Box fans placed strategically around your home can move the heat into bedrooms. Where you place your fans depends on where you feel the coldest. Just point the fan in the direction you want the heat to go.
Be Smart About Heating
All of these tips can help you reduce your heating costs with little-to-no extra money spent. If you do have some money to spend, consider picking up a smart thermostat. These programmable thermostats do the adjusting for you, and often more efficiently too. However, they aren’t the cheapest to buy and install.
Also, don’t rely too much on space heaters if you can avoid it. These portable heaters are often a fire hazard and can increase your electricity bills. Use them sparingly.
Instead, look for the root cause of your heating problems—why are you cold? Often, it’s because cold air is getting into your house or the warm air isn’t sticking around. In these cases, you can find a cheaper solution to save money and stay warm in the winter!