25 Cheap Ways To Keep Your Home Warmer In Winter

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If you’re looking for ways to keep your home warm and the heating bills down, you’ve come to the right place. Depending on what type of HVAC system you have and how DIY-savvy you are, you may already know some of these tricks. As prices for seemingly everything rises, consider a few steps you can take that are in your best interest.

1. Add Area Rugs to Hardwood Floors

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Adding a few throw rugs or area rugs can make a big difference if you have hardwood floors or hard floor surfaces. The floors may look nice, but on average, lose up to 10% of your home’s heat due to the lack of insulation. Plus, rugs will keep your feet warmer. 

2. Use Your Fireplace for Ambiance and Heat

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Using your fireplace isn’t free, but it can be a more frugal option than turning the heat up. Sitting by the fire is also an activity that can be relaxing, especially if you’re holding a holiday gathering or party. 

3. Plug Your Fireplace When It’s Not Being Used

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If you’re not using your fireplace at all this season or want to reduce the heat you lose up the chimney, consider fireplace plugs. A fireplace plug (or flue blocker) aims to keep your heat indoors where it belongs. 

4. Install Insulation in Your Attic

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If you have an unused attic space, it may need to be adequately insulated. This means you’re losing heat through the attic without even realizing it. Depending on how skilled you are at home improvement projects, you may be able to install the insulation yourself. 

5. Upgrade Your Thermostat to a Smart/Programmable Model

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Although this will cost you an initial investment, upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat that gives you more control will save you in the long run. When I first installed my smart thermostat, I saved hundreds of dollars per month in the winter. 

6. Keep All the Vents Open

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It’s tempting to close some of the vents in your home, especially in rooms that are used less frequently. However, this can be counterintuitive, as closing vents typically leads to your heater working harder to push the air through. Leave them open, and your system won’t have to work as hard! 

7. Use Interior Doors to Keep Rooms Warmer

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Although you should keep the vents open in all your rooms, closing some of the doors throughout your home may be beneficial. For example, my bedroom door is closed since my hallway can get quite drafty. This helps keep my bedroom warmer throughout the day and evening. 

8. Pay Attention to the Weather Outside

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If it’s a warmer day or even just a day when the sun is out, open the blinds or curtains and let the sunshine in. However, beware of doing this during a snowstorm or colder day, as you may lose heat, even through closed windows. 

9. Install Window Film for Additional Insulation

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Although it may not seem like it would do much due to how thin it is, window film can offer a barrier between your home and the cold air that may sneak through. Many types of window film are available for sale, so make sure you buy one that offers insulation for cold weather. 

10. Keep Plenty of Blankets Around

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This may seem obvious, but having blankets to keep you comfortable can keep your heating costs down. Not only can you get cozy on the couch or when you’re going to sleep, but extra blankets can be used on the floor or windows to offer additional insulation. 

11. Hang Curtains in Every Room with Windows

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The air in your home may slowly escape through your windows if you don’t have any curtains. If you already have curtains on all your windows, consider purchasing and hanging thicker curtains. 

12. Use Your Ceiling Fans Wisely

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Did you know that the direction of your ceiling fan can be reversed? If yours has a switch, consider using it. Since hot air rises, the reversed direction can help push the air back down, leaving your home much warmer. 

13. Lower the Temperature of Your Water Heater

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During the winter, your water heater must work harder to provide hot water. If you want to save on your electric or gas bill, set the temperature a few degrees lower. Most people will not notice this subtle difference, but your bill certainly will. 

14. Rearrange Your Home for Vent Access

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Depending on how you set your home up, you may be blocking your HVAC vents, preventing the heat from circulating properly. This disrupts the flow and can cause your system to work harder. Many people don’t realize how much of a difference keeping furniture away from registers and vents makes.  

15. Perform Routine Heating Maintenance

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Most HVAC companies recommend having your system checked at least twice a year, once before it gets too warm, and once before it gets too cold. Not only can preventative maintenance help keep your system running correctly, but it can also allow your technician to resolve minor problems before they disrupt your access to heat. 

16. Lower Your Thermostat or Set a Schedule

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Once you’ve upgraded to a programmable thermostat, you can either wait for it to learn your heating habits or you can set a schedule. For example, pick times when nobody is home, and your system will automatically lower the temperature. You can also set it when you want it to kick on, such as shortly before you and your family get home for the evening. 

17. Add Insulation to Your Garage Door

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If you don’t spend much time in the garage, you may not know how much cold air can get through the doors. Consider insulating your garage door to help reduce drafts. You may also find cracks in your garage that could quickly be filled with sealant. 

18. Use Sealant to Seal Gaps or Cracks

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Have you noticed any holes inside your home or exterior that could allow drafts into your home? You don’t need to be a DIY expert to use caulk; getting rid of those hidden gaps can make a big difference in keeping your home comfortable.  

19. Change Your HVAC Filter More Often

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Depending on the factory recommendation of your specific heating system, changing the filter every 1-3 months may be recommended. If your system struggles to keep up, check that the filter isn’t dust-covered. You can figure out how often you need to change your filters when you check regularly. If you need to do this often, consider using washable, reusable filters. 

20. Take Advantage of Your Thermostat Controls

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In addition to lowering your thermostat or setting a schedule, there are other steps to prevent unnecessary energy waste. For example, your system might be working overtime or rapid cycling based on how it senses temperature to maintain the comfort of your home. During colder times, set your thermostat just 1-2 degrees higher to help prevent rapid cycling. 

21. Use Door Snakes to Reduce Drafts

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Even if all the doors throughout your home are closed, you may notice a draft coming from underneath, especially doors that lead outside. You can easily find or make door snakes, which seal the space under your doors to prevent warm air from escaping. 

22. Protect the Pipes and Prevent Freezing

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This tip isn’t directly related to heating your home, but it’s worth mentioning to protect it from water damage during the winter. You can do a few things to protect your pipes during winter. First, consider wrapping your pipes with pipe sleeves or a similar alternative. It would help to keep pipes in unused rooms running low or let them drip occasionally during winter to prevent freezing.  

23. Use Steam to Warm Up Your Home

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When you shower or bathe, consider leaving the door open to allow the steam to travel. You could also wait to drain the bath, especially if the bathroom is warm and the water is still steamy. If you want to warm up your kitchen, use the stove to boil water and make yourself a cup of tea. It’s a win-win! 

24. Upgrade Your Front Entryway with a Storm Door

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This suggestion may not be for you if you live somewhere with mild winters. However, installing a storm door is an excellent choice for homeowners in colder climates. A storm door will also offer energy savings for the rest of the year. 

25. Cover Up Pet Doors During Cooler Months

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If you have dogs or any animals that like to come and go, consider covering their pet door during the winter. They will most likely not be spending much time outside anyway, and you get the benefit of savings on your electric bill. 

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