Much of the country has already experienced freezing temps and if you are doing your best to keep your heating bill from resembling a car payment, here are a few ideas on ways you can save money and still be toasty warm.
Heat the person, not the space
In places where there’s more of a chill than an extreme arctic blast, heating the person is a lot easier, and less costly, than firing up the furnace. This can be accomplished the old-fashioned way through extra layers of clothes and blankets to creating pockets of warmth where the family resides, like sitting around a fireplace (if your pet will move over). This tactic is not advised for extremely cold places because while your house may not mind freezing cold temps, your pipes might.
Use passive solar heat
Even if you don’t use solar power, taking advantage of the sun’s heat can keep your home comfortable without spending a lot of money on heating. If you have good, well-sealed windows open the blinds and allow the sun to come in especially in the afternoon in the windows with south and west exposure. This is called passive solar heat.
Hanging heavy damask, insulated draperies, or other heavy material curtains, will help hold heat in your home and let less cold air in. Early settlers used to hang heavy drapes on all windows, in front of doors, and around their beds to hold heat in and keep drafts out. You can do the same thing by updating your weather-stripping or using a windows insulation kit.
Fire up the wood stove
If you already have one, a wood stove is an inexpensive way to heat the most commonly occupied areas in your home. Wood stoves can be fitted with fans that blow the heat farther than the three-foot space a fireplace usually warms up. You can have one installed for around $1,000 depending on the model.
All the low-cost heat in the world won’t do you any good if it’s going out into your neighborhood due to a poorly insulated home. The cost of ensuring your home is well insulated is worth it. But if that’s not in your budget this winter, there are a few low-cost ways to improve its insulation.
Using rugs, area rugs, and runners in front of doors and throughout your home will provide a layer of insulation. Fight drafts with a draft blocker in front of doors leading to the outside. Keep the damper and glass doors closed on your fireplace when it’s not in use.
Reverse your ceiling fan
The last thing you want is precious warm air collecting on your ceiling where no one is benefitting from it. While there’s no fighting science and the fact that warm air rises, you can have it returned to you. Most ceiling fans have a reverse feature, which will blow the warm air down where you can enjoy it.
Nights by the fire
Sometimes the best way to heat your house for less money is just to do it more efficiently. Improving your insulation and cutting drafts will do wonders for keeping you comfortable for less. Grab a blanket and a nice cup of something warm and enjoy a few nights by the fire.