When temperatures dip below freezing, it’s tempting to crank up the heat or take a long, hot shower to stay warm. But these methods can be tough on your skin — not to mention your heating bill. Indeed, the average American family spends $2,060 on energy per year, according to Energy Star. And with rising inflation, this year’s heating bill could be astronomically high. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stay nice and toasty without relying on a heater for warmth. Here are a few suggestions that run the gamut from insulating your home properly to snuggling up with a weighted throw blanket.
Refresh Your Window Treatments
Windows are a common (and sneaky) source of heat loss. Energy Star estimates that heat loss and heat gain from windows is responsible for 25 to 30 percent of cooling and heating energy use. Installing energy-efficient windows can go a long way in saving you money and keeping your home toasty in the winter, but if you’re not in the market for new windows, consider splurging on a new window treatment instead. Cellular blinds (aka honeycomb blinds) retain heat better than any other window treatment and give your home a more modern look. For extra insulation, install extra thick blinds and keep them closed as much as possible.
Air Seal Your Entire Home
Along a similar vein, be sure to do a sweep of your entire house and check for drafts coming through nooks, crannies, and doors. If you have the funds, install energy-efficient replacements. Otherwise, try a quick and easy fix for blocking drafts, such as:
- Weatherstrip your doors
- Seal non-moving parts with caulk
- Install draft-stopping foam gaskets behind electrical outlets
- Seal leaky ductwork with HVAC duct sealing tape
Invest In A Top-Quality Blanket
When the weather turns chilly, we naturally scour the internet for the coziest blankets we can find. But which blanket should you choose?
If your ultimate goal is to keep your utility bill low and your comfort level high, you can’t go wrong with a knitted blanket. Knitted blankets are generally warmer and more comfortable than their woven counterparts — hence why you’re probably seeing them everywhere on your social media feed this winter.
Moreover, knitted weighted blankets are heavier than standard knit blankets, and this extra heft may provide extra warmth along with stress-relieving benefits. Who doesn’t love the idea of lower stress and a lower heating bill?
Tip: For maximum warmth and coziness, make sure you choose a blanket that wraps around your body!
Use A Humidifier
It’s no secret that humidifiers can help ease colds and dry skin woes by putting moisture back into the air, but did you know that they can help lower your heating bill in the winter, too? That’s because air with higher humidity feels naturally warmer than drier air at the same temperature, so you’re less likely to crank up the heat to remain comfortable. And to answer the question that’s no doubt on your mind: No, humidifiers don’t use much electricity at all, especially if you get an energy-efficient model. Tack on the fact that humidifiers can help prevent the spread of viruses, reduce snoring and keep your skin healthy, and it’s clear that it’s a no-brainer purchase for winter.
For the same reasons you want to avoid using your oven in the summer, you may want to use your oven more in the winter since it will make your home warmer. So, instead of grabbing takeout (and letting a bunch of cold air in while you’re coming and going), stay at home and hone your culinary skills. After all, you’ve probably been stuck indoors anyway. Why not look up a fun recipe and bake some tasty treats for your family or roommates? Of course, we need to mention that using an oven — and a gas oven in particular — to heat your home is dangerous, so only do this if you plan on cooking or baking something!
Bundle Up In A Cozy Robe
Few things are as warm and cozy as wrapping yourself in a comfortable robe after taking a hot shower or getting out of bed in the morning. Robes provide an additional layer of clothing in the wintertime, helping you stay warm without resorting to cranking up the thermostat. For a little extra self-care this winter, opt for a weighted robe made from warm fleece or super-absorbent terry cloth. Pair your robe with cozy slippers, and you’ll be as snug as a bug in a rug all winter long!
Set Your Ceiling Fan To Run Clockwise
If you want to stay warm this winter, you may want to brush the dust off your ceiling fan. During the hotter months, ceiling fans are set to run counterclockwise to push cool air down. But you may be surprised to find out that you can change the direction of your ceiling fan to run clockwise. This helps circulate the hot air in your home, making it feel warmer in your home. The key, though, is to set the fan to a low-speed setting. If you set your fan to a medium or high speed, it will still create a windchill effect.
Layer With Area Rugs
Area rugs do more than tie a room together. They’re also an inexpensive way to add insulation to your home and keep your toes from touching bare floorboards on chilly mornings. Plus, thanks to an ongoing trend of layering area rugs, you can add more than one to your space to add more warmth, hide stains, dampen noise, and more.
Watch Out For Burst Pipes
The thought of saving money on your heating bill is appealing, we know. But be careful to avoid turning your thermostat down too low this winter. Otherwise, your pipes could burst — and trust us, that’s a headache you don’t want to deal with! So instead, keep the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees F. That way, you can reap the energy savings without stressing about your plumbing.