Save money and stay warm this winter with these home heating hacks! Keeping a budget is hard, especially when trying to pin down your home heating. In the northeast, fluctuating winter temperatures, winter storms and deep freezes make it hard to figure out just what the cost for heating is going to be every month. To help keep large fluctuations from occurring on our bill and keep us cozy, and comfortable, all winter long we use these handy tricks.
In our house, this is the first line of defense. During winter months we plan our wardrobes for layering. Whether at home, working outside or at a business meeting, we are layered, warm and comfortable. We use all kinds of different thermals, from silk to wool. I just make sure they are soft, keep us warm and are thin enough to layer under our regular clothes (with still being comfortable). I also put on some socks, sometimes extra layered, and usually made of wool, to keep my feet warm.
Remember, it is easier to remove a layer if you are too warm, than end up being cold (and turning up the heat).
I love light, and I love windows. Even in winter, warm, southern sun streaming into the windows during the day helps to keep things warm, but in the wintertime, this can make the house really chilly once the sun goes down. To help keep the cold from seeping through my windows during the night I have drapes that run from floor to ceiling. I make the panel slightly wider than the window (or door) to increase the cold buffer and decrease draft. To help add extra insulation I usually use two layers. A light, sheer inner curtain that insulates, but allows light through in the day, and a heavier wool or linen outer hanging that adds extra insulation at night.
Warm the Sheets
When I was young and we stayed with my grandmother in the winter she would always warm up our beds before we climbed in between the sheets. She would use a hot water bottle under the covers to help warm the sheets and blankets, keeping us nice and warm. Flash forward 20 odd years and I am still using this frugal trick. I even use a wool sleeve, wrapped around the hot water bottle, to make sure the bed stays dry.
Watch the thermostat!
I know it’s tempting to want to make your home a tropical oasis in the winter, I know. But, most experts agree that 70°F is the ideal indoor room temperature. Even in the winter a nice 70 can feel like a freezing 50. By using some of these other tricks you’ll never get that feeling again. If you are entertaining a bunch of people (or have an extra-large family) you can reduce it to 66 and still feel comfortable (all of those bodies are going to heat things up). If you want to save the most on your electricity I suggest installing a programmable thermostat. This way you can program a temperature of 60 and 67° for night time. Not only will it help you save money but decreasing your body temperature at night will help you sleep better.
Space heaters can be useful in a small space that you want to keep cozy for a couple of hours at a time. In our house it is our bedroom, but it could be an office or TV room, just make sure it’s a model that shuts itself off if it gets knocked over. To be frugal, only turn on the space heater when it is needed and unplug it when it is not in use (to save money, of course).
The blankets used on your bed make a huge impact on how warm or cool you feel when you sleep. Down stuffed comforters are great for all of your comforter needs. The fluffiest down is made from Goose but most all down is insulating and breathable. When choosing a comforter it is important to look at the thread count (or how soft a quilt feels, sheets too). I usually pick something 300 or over for a nice soft feel. The second number to consider is the level of warmth the comforter will provide. For winter a rating 550 to 800 is perfect.
I love a down blanket but my partner is allergic to down. So, I made an investment into a queen size wool blanket to add to the bed in winter. Best investment EVER!. It is amazing!! The wool is a great alternative to down without sacrificing warmth (maybe breathability).
Throw It on…
A wool throw is the best thing to keep anywhere in your house for handy warmth. I am slowly amassing a LARGE collection myself. I just love the surrounding warmth that wool gives. Whether you keep a pile stacked in the living room, or in the bedroom, or keep singles all over the place, like me, they are so handy! A wool blanket packs the most thermal power whether for bedtime or just to cuddle up on the couch. A wool throw is an investment in warmth that will last generations.
I look for wool blankets at yard sales, estate sales and thrift stores or just buy them new (I got a 100% English wool blanket at Home Goods one winter for $50 originally it was $120… I feel like I stole it). Plus, investing in a nice throw will save money on your heating cost in the long run.
In a house with wood floors think of investing in winter runner rugs. These will help protect your feet from getting cold, keeping you warm. My house is all wood floors so I just grab some runner rugs and a couple small area rugs and put them in the most frequently walked areas. Not only do they keep my feet warmer, but they help to keep the room warm by absorbing heat.
Deter the draft
Drafts can be small things that cause you to lose lots of money. Though drafts are more common in old homes, new homes are just as likely to suffer heat loss because of drafts. Sometimes you can get a free energy audit for your home to help locate drafts and gusty spots. I use a burning stick of incense, simple but effective. I walk around the house and wherever the smoke waivers, gets sucked away, or disappears, I’ve got a draft. Usually I find them around windows and doors. Sometimes my electrical outlets or light switches can be the problem.
If it’s a door or window, make sure the seal is intact or install a draft stopper along the bottom. For outlets and light switches foam sealer plates can be installed under the outlet switch plate.
Run your Ceiling fan
I run my ceiling fan all year long. It costs me about $25 a month to run and saves me around $50 in heating and cooling a month. In the summer the fan rotates counterclockwise, on high, to give a cool breeze, or wind chill. This evaporates moisture from the skin cooling the body. The fan also moves hot stagnant air in a room. In the colder winter months, it can help rotate warm air back towards the floor from where it is trapped at the ceiling. Just set your fan in a clockwise direction, on low, this will pull cold air up forcing the warm air, at ceiling level, down towards the floor.
It doesn’t take turning up the thermostat to stay warm during cold weather! When it comes to warm you just need to make some simple choices and changes to your thinking and your habits. Save money, and still stay warm, by using some of these frugal home heating hacks.
Your turn! If you have any tips to stay warm and save money during the cold weather, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what you’ve got!
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