Frosty temperatures can take a bite out of your
winter budget. Depending on your home, some of these suggestions
will affect your heating costs more than others, but none of them
Save your dollars for something more fun than the utility
1 Put on a
sweater. Grandma's advice holds true. Get everyone in the
family to choose a comfy sweater and collect them in a central
location for quick changes upon arrival at home.
2 Open blinds and windows
during the day and close them at night. Let the sunlight
do its job and then when it sets, trap the heat in the house.
plastic over doors and windows that won't be used. "Storm"
door and window kits are available at most home improvement stores,
or you can go rogue with some plastic sheeting and a staple
4 Put an insulating blanket around your hot water
heater. This is an easy way to keep the water heater from
doing double duty in cold basements and garages.
5 Keep blankets on the couch.
Cuddling up for some TV or movie time is a great winter activity,
but chilling out alone can get chilly. Blankets make everything
6 Reverse the direction of the ceiling
fans. During cold weather they should turn clockwise to
push warm air down.
7 Use throw rugs on hard wood
floors. They don't have to match, they don't have to be
expensive, yet they will warm up your feet and insulate from the
8 Plug the unused chimney. If you
don't actually use the fireplace, install a chimney plug to prevent
air from escaping. If you use your just-for-looks-flip-the-switch
gas fireplace, know that it could be costing you a fortune and not
really emanating much heat.
9 Hang blankets over the inside of
windows. This is not the most attractive option, but smart
people choose shabby over chic if they're battling serious heat
10 Check the ductwork for leaks. You can
pay someone else to do this, but it's not really that big of a job,
as minor leaks can be repaired simply with metal backed tape
available at most hardware stores.
11 Invest in a programmable
thermostat. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests setting
the temperature to 68 degrees while awake and at home, and 10-15
degrees cooler when asleep or away.
12 Have the furnace serviced and the filters
changed. An inefficient furnace will cost you in added
energy used, so it's worth the investment in a service call.
13 After using the oven, leave the door
partially open to let the heat dissipate into the kitchen
and surrounding rooms. Hey, every little bit helps.
14 Cover the attic entry with
blankets, insulation or plastic to prevent warm air from
getting sucked out the top of your home.
15 Use a space heater in the room you're
in. These are very effective in small rooms that can be
closed off. Most modern heaters have built-in safety features such
as automatic shut-off, but use caution.
16 Replace weather stripping around doors
and windows. This is a no-brainer that a lot of people
don't bother to do. Don't listen to these people when they complain
about their energy bills.
17 Fill cracks in windows and doors with
caulk or silicon. Just because you can't replace something
doesn't mean you have to lose heat over it. Use this stop-gap
measure until you can afford replacements.
18 Close doors and vents to rooms that are
not used regularly. If you don't have guests, there's no
need to keep your guest room cozy.