15 Ways to Stay Warm Without Turning on the Heat

Home heating bills can be daunting, especially for those who live in colder climates. But there are ways to keep costs down without resorting to wearing jackets indoors. Here are 15 easy hacks that will help keep your home toasty at a budget-friendly price.

Service the Furnace

How to Save Money on Heating - Service Furnace

The most obvious yet overlooked step you can take to save money on winter heating costs is to have your furnace serviced in the fall to ensure that it's working as efficiently as possible. Some companies will offer free tune-ups, but you'll have to be proactive about hunting them down. 

Related: 12 Simple Tricks to Stay Seriously Warm This Winter


Double Bubble

How to Save Money on Heating - Bubble Wrap

When it comes to heat loss, windows are some of the biggest culprits, so it's important to insulate them properly. For an inexpensive fix, cut a piece of bubble wrap to fit perfectly inside the window frame, spray a thin film of water on the window, and place the bubble wrap on the glass. The layer of plastic will let the sunlight in while keeping the warmth where it belongs: inside.

Related: Drafty Windows? Solutions for Every Budget


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Flip the Fan

How to Save Money on Heating - Fan Direction

We all know that warm air rises, but this common fact can have a chilling effect on our heating bills. Although it seems like switching your ceiling fan on would cool things off, doing so can actually make your spaces toastier, so long as you set the blades to spin in a clockwise manner. (To reverse the rotation, check for a switch at the base of your fan.) This change of direction creates a slight updraft that will push the warm air toward the walls and back down into the room. 

Related: Slash Your Electric Bill with 11 Savvy Hacks


Take the Test

How to Save Money on Heating - Check Air Leaks

Air leaks are a major source of heat loss. Check your home for possible gaps with this easy test: Hold a piece of toilet paper in front of your window and door frames. If the toilet paper moves, you've found a crack that needs to be sealed. Use weatherstripping to fill the gaps so that the heat stays tucked inside, and consider adding foam insulation to outlets to reduce heat loss even more. 

Related: The 50 Best Products for Surviving Winter


Reflect Your Radiator

How to Save Money on Heating - Reflect Radiator Foil

If you have radiators in your home, try fashioning reflective plates out of aluminum foil and placing one behind each unit. Instead of just heating up your wall, the radiator will heat the foil, which will reflect warmth back into the room and allow you to make the most of the unit's output.

Related: 23 Brilliant Hacks to Help You Weather Winter


Consider the Cost of Exhaust

How to Save Money on Heating - Bathroom Exhaust

Exhaust fans do a great job of ridding your bathroom of humid air after a hot shower. But running them continuously can actually run up your monthly heating bills, because as the fans pull warm air out of the room, that air is replaced by colder air that then needs to be heated. Switch your fans on only when necessary to ensure that you're not wasting any of your hard-earned heat. 

Related: 10 Ways to Warm Up Your Bathroom in Winter


Stop Drafty Doors

How to Save Money on Heating - Draft Dodgers

If you have drafty doors, craft an inexpensive DIY fix from foam pipe insulation. Cut the foam to size, and wrap it around the bottom of your doors—yes, even the interior ones!—to prevent heat from escaping and utility costs from increasing. If you're not up for a project, there are plenty of affordable draft dodgers you can purchase. The best part is that these draft dodgers are easy to remove when the weather warms up, so you have no excuse not to try out this budget-saving solution. Available from Amazon; $16.99.

Related: Draft Dodgers: 8 DIY Creations to Keep Out the Cold


Grab a Jacket

How to Save Money on Heating - Insulate Water Heater

If you don't have a jacket for your water heater, odds are you're wasting the warmth. Consider insulating your unit to reduce heat loss and save a little cash—about $20 a month, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. To test to see if your water heater needs additional insulation, simply touch it. If it feels warm, it could probably use a blanket, but check your owner's manual first to make sure your model can be covered. 

Related: 7 Cool Inventions That Will Help You Save Money on Your Heating Bill


Let the Sunshine In

How to Save Money on Heating - Open Curtains

This is by far the easiest thing you can do to lower home heating bills: Raise the blinds when the sun is out! It's especially important to keep window coverings open on south-facing windows, because they bring in the warmest afternoon sun. Just remember to close your curtains again at night to keep all the toasty air inside until the sun returns.

Related: 10 Classic Ways to Brighten a Dark Room


Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat

How to Save Money on Heating - Smart Thermostat

Consider replacing your thermostat with a smart, programmable version. It works to save you money by automatically lowering the heat when the family is away or asleep. Available from Amazon; $214.97.

Related: 10 Home Heating Mistakes That Spike Your Bills


Sip Something Hot

How to Save Money on Heating - Warm Drinks

Iced coffee or iced tea might be your go-to beverage to help you get through the day, but come winter it might be time to make the switch to the hotter option. Hot cocoa, tea, and coffee will warm you up on the inside and still give you that kick of caffeine you need. 

Related: 11 Mistakes Homeowners Make Every Winter


Layer Up

How to Save Money on Heating - Bedding

A top sheet and comforter might be plenty during other seasons, but in the winter switch up your bedding. Try making your bed with flannel sheets and fleece blankets, then drop your thermostat down a couple degrees at nighttime to stay warm without burning through extra cash.

Related: 10 Ways to Buy Better Sleep


Don't Start a Fire

How to Save Money on Heating - Don't Make a Fire

There's nothing quite as cozy as sitting by a roaring fire, but you could be paying for it in the form of higher energy bills. In traditional fireplaces, about 80% of heat escapes right up the chimney, meaning you've got to pay extra to heat your home by firewood. If you favor a winter blaze, consider upgrading your fireplace with energy-efficient inserts to keep more heat where you want it.

Related: How To: Get Your Fireplace Ready for Winter


Close the Flue

How to Save Money on Heating - Close Flue

If you do burn a fire in the fireplace, remember close the flue once the fire is out. Otherwise all that warm air will go up and out of the house and let the frigid air from outside in. 

Related: 7 Mistakes Not to Make with Your Fireplace


Bundle Up

How to Save Money on Heating - Warm Clothes

Mom was right—dressing for the weather does make a difference. Layer up and wear socks and slippers around the house. Fashion retailer Uniqlo sells shirts, undershirts, long underwear, leggings, and socks with their HEATTECH technology that traps heat to keep you warm. And when you can't shake a chill? Throw your sweatshirt in the dryer for a quick spin to warm it up.

Related: 10 Things to Buy If You're Always Cold


Don't Go Broke

Don't Go Broke

There’s no need to shiver in your home to save on heating costs. Making these slight adjustments can have a sizable impact on your heating bills. If you're someone who is always especially chilly, wrap yourself up in a cozy blanket with a hot cup of coco.


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