If you’ve ever had to pay a heating bill during the winter, then you know that it costs a lot of money to heat your home.
For many of us, our energy bills can increase 50% or more when it gets cold outside, which puts a serious dent in our wallets. It’s no surprise, then, that you’re looking for ways to save heat energy in your home without having to sacrifice comfort.
If you want to learn how to reduce your gas bill in winter, while remaining warm and cozy, then this is the post for you. Below, we’ll show you proven ways for how to conserve heat in your home without turning on or up the central heating unit.
1. Seal Up Your Home
If you haven’t seen our other post on how to prepare your home for winter weather, we highly recommend that you read it after finishing this one.
It explains how a lot of warm air escapes from your home through small cracks and gaps in various places. To keep heat inside, it’s best that you seal your home up as air tight as possible.
While this may sound intimidating to accomplish, it’s really just a matter of finding out where the air leaks and drafts are in your house. Then, you’ll just need to close them up with sealant, weatherstripping or door sweeps.
Once you prevent warm air from leaking out, your home will retain a lot more heat and your furnace will run less – saving you a considerable amount of money.
We explain everything you need to know about how to go about this process in the link referenced above. Take a look once your done reading here.
2. Protect Your Extremities
Your extremities (head, hands and feet) lose heat at a faster rate than any other part of the body. When the body feels cold, it restricts blood flow to the extremities to preserve heat for vital organs (source Outdoors.Stackexchange.)
If you want to stay warmer at home without cranking the heat, just put on a hat, gloves and thick socks (or slippers). These items will protect your extremities from the cold air and help your whole body to stay warm.
3. Sit On a Heating Pad
You can get quite toasty by sitting on a low wattage heating pad. The heat that warms your bum and thighs will radiate through the rest of your body.
4. Cover Up with an Electric Blanket
Electric blankets are one of the most economical ways to stay warm while conserving heat in your home.
These electric warmers come in several different types: underblankets, overblankets, throws and duvets.
For less than $20, you can get an electric blanket to cover up with while sitting on the couch and not feel like you have to turn up the heat. Add another one to your bed and you can stay warm and comfortable all through the night.
5. Eat and Drink Hot Liquids
The winter is a great time to enjoy hearty soups and stews. Eating bowls of hot liquid like this will keep you warm from the inside out.
Coffee and tea are also great beverages to sip on to stay warm. Plus, wrapping your hands around the mug will aid in the warming sensation.
6. Use the Oven to Bake Something
Roasts and casseroles are especially great foods to make during cold weather because they bake in the oven on low temperatures for a long period of time.
The upside to these long cooking times is that the heat from your oven can radiate to the rooms closest to your kitchen and warm them up.
After baking, you can also keep the oven door open to let even more heat circulate throughout the house.
7. Cover Bare Floors
Bare floors that are made of wood or tile are horrible at retaining heat. Carpet retains heat longer than any other type of flooring.
You can easily easily add warmth to a room by covering hard floors with rugs or by installing carpeting. If neither of these options fit your budget this winter, you can also throw down blankets in order to achieve the same insulating effect.
8. Maximize Free Heat from the Sun
Want to know how to reduce gas bill in winter for free? Use the sun!
The sun is the largest and most free resource you can use for heat. During the day, the sun heats the earth through radiation and those rays are freely available to heat up your home.
When the sun shines through your windows, it can have a significant heating effect on your house. So, when there’s direct sunlight on a window, open the blinds or curtains so it can stream in. For windows that don’t receive direct sunlight, you’ll want to keep the blinds and curtains closed in order to keep heat from escaping. See next tip for more details.
9. Close Blinds and Curtains at Night
Poorly insulated windows are the most common place for heat to leak out of a home. And, unless you want to pay about $450-500 per window for an upgrade, you’ll have to make due with what you’ve got.
The cheapest way to improve the insulation around your windows is to close your blinds and curtains after the sun goes down. Once the free heat from the sun is gone, keeping your window treatments open will allow cold air to pass through.
The most energy-efficient option for keeping your home warmer in the winter are to use thermal curtains and drapes. Look for them in your local home good stores.
10. Insulate Your Windows
While closing your blinds and curtains is the quickest way to save heat, you’ll experience a lot more warmth if you take the extra step to properly insulate your windows.
Cold air can easily slip into your home through the top and bottom of your windows. Installing a piece of weatherstripping in the window sill where the window closes to meet the frame can seal these areas up tight.
Additionally, a cheap window insulation kit ($7-8) can keep cold air from filtering through the window panes. These kits are easy to use and include a plastic film that is secured to the window frame with tape. Once the film is in place, a hair dryer is used to heat and shrink the film to make the seal air tight.
11. Set Ceiling Fans On Reverse
Many people don’t know this but ceiling fans can actually be set to rotate in the opposite direction.
Because warm air rises, a lot of it collects at the ceiling. In some cases, there can be a 10 degree difference between the temperature at the ceiling and the floor.
On the normal setting, the ceiling fan blades push cold air down into the room. When the blades run in the reverse direction, hot air at the ceiling gets push up, out and down towards the walls, making the middle of the room feel hotter.
To take advantage of this unused heat, all you need to do is flip the small switch that’s on the body of the ceiling fan. This will change the directions of the fan blades. Then, set the fan to its lowest speed to use the least amount of energy while generating the most heat.
In some cases, a 4-5 degree increase in room temperature can occur from this simple trick.
12. Experiment with a Lower Thermostat Setting
According to the United States Department of Energy, you can save 10% on your heating bills by turning the thermostat down 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.
The most economical thermostat setting is 68°F when you’re at home and awake. When you’re away or sleeping cut the temperature back 7°-10°F to save the most money.
If you follow tip #4 above and add an electric blanket to your bed you’ll never even notice this lower temperature change.
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat now may be the best time to install one.
Programmable thermostats allow you to set up a specific times during the day that the heat comes on and turns off, as well as what temperature it should reach. Each day can have its own heating schedule and at any time you can override the current temperature to make the room warmer or colder.
13. Only Heat the Rooms That You’re Using
If you’re like most people, then you probably spend a majority of your time at home in just one or two rooms.
For many of us it’s the living room and bedroom. We may pop in and out of other rooms of the house, but we don’t stay for extended periods of time (i.e. bathroom.)
If this is the case for you, then one of the best ways to save heat energy in your home is by keeping the temperature on your thermostat low and using space heaters to warm only the rooms that you’re occupying.
If you’ve never used a space heater before, you’d be surprised at how much even the smallest one can heat up a room.
The most cost-effective way to use space heaters at home is to keep one in the room that you use most often, like the living room, and another that travels with you throughout the house.
Having a portable unit is great when making trips to the bathroom or when you’re in places temporarily, like the kitchen, basement or a rec room.
In terms of dollars and cents, you can buy a 1500W space heat for about $20-30 and it will pay for itself after one month of use.
Running a single 1500W space heater for six hours on a weekday will cost you $1. If you amp this up to 12-16 hours on a weekend that’s about $2-3. In total, using a space heater every day like this for an entire month would add up to about $32-38 in heating costs. That’s a lot cheaper than running a furnace.
Just remember to turn the space heaters on when you enter the room and off when you leave to maximize energy savings.
Portable Air Conditioners
You can apply this same concept in the summertime to stay cool by using a portable air conditioner.
Instead of wasting money cooling off the entire house a portable air conditioner allows you to cool down a single room.
Here’s a link to a great guide we put together that helps you find the best portable AC unit for your home. Or, if you’re looking for free ways to cool your house during the summer, check out our post on simple ways to cool down your home.
14. Warm Up with a Humidifier
If you live in an area that has humid summers, then you’re well aware of how humidity affects the heat. At times, it can be unbearable to even go outside because it feels so hot.
The reason it feels so much hotter outside when the air is humid is because it contains a higher percentage of moisture. Moisture holds heat more effectively than dry air.
This same law of physics can help you cut your energy costs in the winter.
Using an inexpensive humidifier to add moisture to air is a practical way for how to conserve heat in your home. This small device will help the air hold more of the heat that’s produced by the furnace and space heaters. This means that the temperature inside your house will decline at a slower rate and you won’t have to run your heating systems as much.
15. Seal Up the Chimney
The downside to having a fireplace is that when it’s not in use a lot of warm air can escape through the chimney.
If you use your fireplace on the regular, make sure that the flue is closed tight as soon as the fire cools down. If you don’t ever use your fireplace, now is the time to check to see if has been closed all this time or not.
Unfortunately, not all chimney flue dampers are air tight. Place your hand up inside the flue and feel for a draft. If there is one then you’ll want to go one step further to seal it by using a chimney balloon.
A chimney balloon is an inflatable balloon that you blow up and stick inside your chimney. This balloon acts as a stopper to fill in any gaps that are causing cold drafts to come into your home. It even works with chimneys that don’t have a damper and can be used to permanently seal off the chimney if you never use the fireplace.
Chimney balloons cost about $45-50 and take only a few minutes to install.