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keeping a home warm in the winter

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You can do your very best at sticking to a budget – making all your meals from home, seeking out the affordable gas station, never buying coffee out – but you might be surprised that you aren’t saving as much as you want each month if you keep running a thermostat. That utility bill can knock you off your feet. If you live somewhere where the winters get really cold, it’s easy to just let your heater run all day and night. We’re creatures of comfort, and feeling even the slightest chill will drive us to spend too much money, so long as it means warming up. But it’s not very comforting when your power bill is several hundreds of dollars. That leaves you wondering if there were times when you could have bundled up in a sweater and long socks, instead of running that heater.

Maybe you’re not looking for ways to use your thermostat less: maybe you don’t even have one. So you have to find creative ways to keep your home warm. There are actually many ways to keep your home toasty without forced air so you can save some of that money you would have spent on the thermostat and use it for a vacation once the weather improves. Here are ways to heat up your home, without a thermostat.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Trap warm air that’s escaping

Air is escaping from your home in many ways. If you’ve already gone through the trouble of making it warm inside, it’s a shame to just let all of those efforts go to waste. Add caulking around your window frames, so warm air doesn’t sneak out through the cracks in the frame. If you have a chimney, use a chimney plug, so warm air doesn’t escape through (naturally, you should not use this if you’re using your fireplace). Add a draft stopper to any doors that lead outside, to keep warm air from leaking out there, too.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Insulate your home

If you live in an old building, there is a good chance it isn’t very well insulated. Here’s how you know: it’s blisteringly hot inside during the summer and freezing cold inside during the winter. Consider adding insulation to your home. While it might cost a bit up front, it will save you a lot of money in the long run, since the warm air you create inside will stay inside. You’ll enjoy it during the summer, too, when you want to keep cold air in.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Understand your ceiling fans

Your ceiling fans are typically used to cool down your home. They do this by moving counter-clockwise, pushing cold air downward. If you adjust them to move clockwise, they will pull cool air upwards, let it mix with the warm air that naturally rises to the top, combine the two, and move the all-around warm air back down to you.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Let the sun in

If you do still get a lot of sun during the day, open the curtains at the windows where the sun hits in your home. Let the sun do its natural job of adding warmth to your home. If you stand in an area where the sun is hitting the floor, you can instantly feel the heat coming in. As soon as the sun begins to drop, close the curtains again.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Get insulated curtains

Invest in some insulated blackout curtains. They not only block out light to help you sleep better, but they also help trap warm air inside. So if you use the trick of opening curtains to let the sun in and close them at night, these curtains will do double duty to keep warm air exactly where it is. Some even block noise, for a better night’s rest.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Crack open the oven

If you’ll already be using the oven to cook comforting fall and winter dishes, let it heat up your home, too. Don’t run it any longer than needed, since that’s a waste of energy in and of itself. But once you’re done cooking, just leave the oven door wide open. Let it release its accumulated heat into your home as it cools down.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Consolidate your home

What we mean by this is shut off any unused rooms. If you are using one of these methods like leaving the oven door open or letting the sun bake your place during the day, shut off any rooms you barely use. There’s no reason to waste warm air by letting it dissipate throughout your entire home if you don’t use your entire home. Close the doors to those untouched guest rooms or offices, and add door stoppers.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Add rugs

If you have a lot of hardwood or tile floors, they may look nice, but they don’t do much to keep you warm. Don’t you just dread putting your toes on those cold planks in the morning? Add some nice fluffy rugs around your home. Remember that the feet provide a major entryway for cold, so you want to keep them warm.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Insulate your outlets

This may sound a bit bizarre, but remember that the small holes in your outlets are direct pipelines that let cold air in. When you think of how many outlets you have in your home, they can be pushing in quite a bit of cold air. Your local home improvement store should have something called outlet insulators, which can help manage this problem.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Shower with the door open

When you take a hot shower it generates a lot of heat. You may like to keep your bathroom door shut to trap all of that warmth in there, but if you open it, you can warm up the nearest room, too. One hot shower can’t warm a whole house, of course, so close off the doors of the nearest room that connect it to the rest of the house. If you have an en suite bathroom, this is a nice way to warm up your bedroom.

keeping a home warm in the winter

Source: Matthias Rohrberg / EyeEm / Getty

Check your roof

If you have a single-family home or townhouse, then you’re at the mercy of the roof. Missing shingles on a roof can affect the siding, and quickly let cold air into the house. In general, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect your roof twice a year for any potential problems. With a roof, it’s all about preventative care, because damage control can be major.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Don’t sleep near the window

This pointer only has to do with your bedroom, but it is useful. Glass gets cold very easily. It’s one of the weak points of a home. If you sleep right by a window, it’s like sleeping next to a frozen sheet of glass during the winter. It’s just a bit colder there than it is in other parts of your bedroom, so move your bed away from the window.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Cover your vents

The vents around your home can let the cold air in, or let the warm air out. You’ll notice you have some on the walls near the floor. Push large furniture, like couches or beds, in front of those. This way you’ll block the vents, and trap warm air inside. (Side note: if you do use a thermostat, then you’ll want to move furniture away from the vents to let the hot air move through the room).

keeping a home warm in the winter

Source: Chris Aikens / EyeEm / Getty

Add blankets everywhere

This may not be the most scientific of solutions, but anything that helps you reach for that thermostat less is a good thing. Make sure to have warm blankets on couches, accent chairs, and anywhere you like to hang out. Add a heavy blanket over your regular bedding too to keep you warm at night. So often we reach for the thermostat when simply bundling up would have helped.

keeping a home warm in the winter

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Exercising may not cause your home to warm up, but it causes your body to warm up. Sitting still lets your body temperature drop. Winter weather is one more excuse to move your workouts indoors. The rise in body temperature should hold you over for quite some time before you have to move onto the other tips on this list. Strenuous exercise can cause the body to produce over 1000 watts of heat, some of which your body stores for a while after you’re done.

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