14 Simple, Frugal Tips to Staying Warm this Winter
Oh baby, it’s COLD outside!
Just because it’s freezing outside doesn’t mean it has to be like that inside. As temperatures continue to drop, you may be tempted to raise your thermostat to keep warm. But before you crank up the heat, try some of these tips simple, money-saving tips:
1. Seal Windows
Windows and exterior doors are often drafty, especially in older homes, or homes with thin window panes. Try adding another layer of caulking around the edges and install weather stripping. Rather than going bankrupt and replacing all your windows, cover them with plastic insulation film. Plastic insulation kits are very affordable, easy to install, and work well to keep the drafts out. In fact, they can reduce heat loss by as much as 70 percent. What’s more, is if left on for the summer time, they help trap the cool air inside.
2. Play Window Games
During the day, when the sun is out, open your blinds and curtains on the south-facing windows. This allows for the sun to warm you. Then when the sun goes down at night, close the blinds and curtains to help trap the heat inside.
3. Hang Curtains and Blinds
If you don’t already, make sure your windows have blinds/shades and curtains. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends installing energy efficient curtains to help keep your house warm. Insulated or thermal-lined curtains are especially good for preventing the cold air from coming in. You can also try adding thermal liners to your existing curtains to prevent heat loss.
4. Add Extra Layers
Speaking of thermals…You may want to consider wearing some of your own underneath your clothes. Adding extra layers of clothing, wearing socks or slippers around the house, and using blankets when resting are great ways to stay warm. It’s much more cost effective to pile on the clothing than it is to raise your thermostat, even if it is only a few degrees. At nighttime, try using flannel sheets.
5. Check Door Seals
All exterior door should have seals on all four sides that prevents cold air from entering your home. But sometimes these seals start to break or crack over time. If yours are brittle or are cracking, it’s time to replace them. Installing adhesive foam weather stripping is as easy as peeling off the backing and applying it along the inside of the door frame.
You can also add draft-stoppers at the base of your doors to block the cold air from seeping through.
6. Install a Smart Thermostat
Although prices can be upwards of about $200-$300, a Smart thermostat can help reduce your overall heating and cooling costs dramatically. It’s an investment that ends up paying for itself. These clever devices learn your living patterns– what rooms you occupy, when you’re typically home, etc, and then change the temperature accordingly. (After all, you don’t need a very warm house if everyone’s at work, right?) They can also be programmed and controlled from your phone for weeks or months at a time. Using a programmable thermostat can save your energy costs by up to 15%!
7. Program Your Thermostat for Optimal Temperatures
People often wonder what the optimal temperature should be when you’re at home, and when you’re away. What is safe for everyone? Typically if people are at home during the day, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends between 64 and 70 degrees. Depending on if you have elderly people or infants in your home, it may need to be a few degrees higher. At nighttime, anywhere between 62-66 degrees is best. If the home is unoccupied, keep your thermostat between 58-62 degrees. This will help protect the home’s pipes from freezing and lower the energy consumption.
8. Close Vents & Doors
It’s not necessary to heat rooms that aren’t being occupied, so when they’re not in use, close off their vents and close the doors to those rooms. This will help force the air that would have gone in those rooms to other areas of the home, thus heating occupied areas up more quickly.
In addition, keep the garage door closed to prevent any cold air from seeping into the house.
9. Maintain your Furnace
Your furnace is the reason you stay warm in the winter time. If it’s not working properly, you’ll likely freeze. Make sure to check your furnace regularly. Replace the filters every three months to help it work efficiently and prolong its life. A well-maintained furnace also enhances the quality of air you breathe inside your home.
10. Use Space Heaters [wisely]
A space heater may be more ideal if you use one room often, and don’t want to pay for heating the whole house. If you utilize a space heater, make sure to choose one with an auto-off timing feature and a sensor that shuts the unit off if it tips over. Keep it at least three feet away from anything flammable (clothing, rugs, bedding, curtains, blankets, toys, etc.), and NEVER leave it on when unattended.
11. Pull Out the Humidifier
The winter air isn’t just cold, but it’s also dry. Utilizing a humidifier will not only help warm up the house, but eliminate drying indoor air.
12. Seal Heating Ducts
Your heating ducts may need to be sealed as up to 30% of the total air running from the furnace to the ducts (and then to the vents) ends up escaping. Sealing ductwork connections could increase your furnace efficiency and provide better air flow to keep you warm at a more affordable rate. This can be done by yourself, or you can call an expert to ensure it’s done correctly.
13. Utilize your Kitchen Appliances
There’s a reason why people choose to barbecue in the summer time– because using the stove and oven heat up the house too much. So when it’s winter time, use those kitchen appliances to your benefit! After your food is done baking, crack open the oven door to help warm the house up some more.
In addition, try eating warm foods like soups, stews, ciders, and hot beverages.
14. Be More Active
Sitting around all day is sure to make you feel colder than usual. This is because you’re not using up your body’s energy. Doing chores around the house, exercising, and continuously moving will help your body’s temperature to warm up, and you’ll feel better, too.
A little bit of preparation and prevention now can help ensure your home is warm and comfortable before the cold, harsh winter temperatures settle in. Try these easy, affordable tricks to keeping everyone warm and comfortable this winter.