1. In the morning, open curtains and raise blinds so sunlight can flow in.
Window glass permits light to pass through but doesn’t let it back out. As it infiltrates the room, bouncing off walls and furniture, the light becomes heat. FREE heat.
2. At night, use thick curtains to prevent heat from escaping.
Once the light disappears, windows become the enemy. Heat escapes quickly through single pane glass, common in older homes and apartments. Keep it inside by upcycling old sheets and blankets into roll-down thermal curtains (Tutorial).
3. Fortify window frames with caulk to eliminate leaks.
Caulking window frames only costs a few dollars and can be done in minutes. It’s a small job that adds up to big savings, especially in older, drafty houses (Tutorial).
4. Take it one step further with DIY bubble wrap insulation.
All you need is some leftover sheets of bubble wrap, an Exacto knife, and a spray bottle full of water, and you could reduce window heat loss by 50%! (Tutorial)
5. Cover bare floor boards with area rugs.
There’s nothing more unpleasant than setting your bare feet down on a freezing cold floor first thing in the morning. Adding area rugs actually creates another layer of insulation, trapping the cool air underneath and so it can’t creep up and cool the room. Your bare feet will thank you too.
6. Use weather stripping to eliminate air leaks around door frames.
Weather stripping is a cheap way to seal up the gaps around doors and windows through which precious heat loves to escape. Adding it can save you 10 to 15 percent on your energy bills (Tutorial).
7. Add a panel of aluminum foil behind old radiators or wall mounted heaters.
This hack uses high quality kitchen foil (or, for a bit more, special radiator foil) to reflect more heat back into the room rather than letting it escape through the walls (Tutorial).
8. If you have a programmable thermostat, USE IT.
The goal is to never manually adjust your thermostat. According to Energy.gov, thermostats should be programmed for 56 degrees at night and/or when the house is empty during the day. Then, program it to increase to about 68 degrees during the times when you’ll be at home. This one small action can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill each year!
9. Shower with the door open.
Obviously, this is easier if you live alone or with a significant other. The warm, humid air created by the shower will help to raise the temperature of the whole house.
10. Air dry some of your laundry.
This will save you money two ways: 1) just like showering with the door open, air drying clothes increases humidity, which makes the house feel warmer. 2) You won’t have to run the electric dryer as long (or maybe at all!) thus using less expensive energy.
11. Reverse your ceiling fan direction, and make sure to switch it on anytime you’re using the heat.
This helps push warm air that’s risen to the ceiling back down to the floor where you can feel it. The less that’s wasted, the less demand there is on heating systems and the more you save.
12. Consider a chimney balloon.
Do you have a fireplace that doesn’t work or barely gets used? A chimney balloon acts as inflatable, removable and reusable plug to stop cold chimney drafts from entering your home. (Tutorial)
13. Wrap your water heater tank in a nice warm blanket.
“Insulating your water tank, which could reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45% and save you about 4%–9% in water heating costs—and should pay for itself in about a year,” explains Energy.gov. “You can find pre-cut jackets or blankets available from around $20.”
14. Don’t forget to show hot water pipes a little TLC as well.
Insulating your hot water pipes reduces heat loss, which means you can save money by setting your water heater to a lower temperature. You also won’t have to wait as long for hot water when showering on cold winter mornings! (Tutorial)
15. Use the leftover pipe foam as a door draft stopper.
16. Make a Tea Candle Space Heater
Using a couple of ceramic flower pots and a tea candle, you can DIY a space heater that will keep a small room warm for about 12 cents a day. (Tutorial)
17. Wear extra layers in the house.
When you feel a chill, reach for a sweater instead of thermostat. With the extra layers, your body will heat up much faster than the furnace can heat your house.
18. Once you’re bundled up, sip on something hot.
Drink lots of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and other warm liquids (including soup!) will raise your body temperature in a jiffy.
19. Do a little baking.
Holidays are a great time for baking breads, cookies, and cakes. When you’re done, leave the oven door open to recycle some of that heat! (Note: don’t be an idiot, if you’ve got little kids or mischievous pets, this may not be a safe option.)
20. Move around a little bit.
Exercise gets the blood flowing, which warms us up. Just a couple minutes of squats, sit ups, bicep curls, or even just a quick walk will have you toasty in no time. It’ll help you battle the winter bulge, as well.
21. Make a bed warmer and never suffer through frigid sheets again!
Electric blankets can be dangerous and suck up costly electricity. Transform a couple of old sheets into a microwaveable bedwarmer instead. (Tutorial)
22. If that’s too complicated, sleeping with a hot water bottle works just as well.
23. If all else fails, chilly nights are a great excuse to get your cuddle on.
Remember: Body heat is a renewable resource!
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