10 winter hacks to warm your house without increasing the heat

Heating your home all winter long can add up — fast. But it’s also a necessary part of surviving through the end of March. So, to keep your heating bill in check while staying cozy and warm, try these clever ideas:

Close up any cracks in your window frame.

Even a tiny one can allow a ton of heat to escape — and chilly winds to come in. Rachel Rothman, technical and engineering director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, recommends using a flashlight or candle to check for drafts. At night, have someone stand on the other side of your light source, and if you can see it, you should caulk the area to seal the crack.

Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan.

If you think your ceiling fan is just for hot, humid days, you’re wrong: “By reversing the motor in the winter, so it’s clockwise, the fan creates an updraft that actually pushes warm air near the ceiling back down,” says Rothman. This trick will help you feel warmer for longer, meaning you can lower your thermostat and save money (some reports say you could reduce your bill by 10%! ).

Invest in the best blankets.

Make sure your bedding is up to par to stay toasty warm while you sleep (but keep your heat down to save money). Lexie Sachs, textiles product analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute, says down-filled blankets trap heat and recommends a fill power of 600-plus (check the blanket’s label) for the warmest option. An electric blanket always does the trick, too—as long as you use it safely.

“Just remember that blankets aren’t enough to keep you warm all the time,” says Sachs. “The textiles help to trap the heat, but there needs to be heat in the first place to trap!” So, blankets will help you go longer before touching the thermostat, but you won’t get away with leaving the heat off all the time.

Make your curtains work harder.

When the sun is out, keep your shades open so the warmth can shine onto the glass and create a slight warming effect on your home. At night, close them up to add extra insulation against the cold. You can also use blackout shades with a thermal lining to help save energy. These Royal Velvet curtains from JCPenney have the Good Housekeeping Seal and will do the trick.

Use draft stoppers on your doors.

Don’t let cold air creep through the crack under your door like a stranger in the night. All you need to seal off the chilly breeze is a door stopper. The best part? You can DIY your own, which is super cute and complements your home decor.

Cover your floors with rugs.

Did you know heat can escape through floorboards? To prevent this, Sachs recommends using rugs made of fabric that offers insulation, like wool, to help trap the heat inside. Plus, rugs feel nice and cozy on your feet.

Prevent drafts around electric outlets.

If you’ve ever noticed a slight chill when you plug in your smartphone, you’re not imagining it. To block that air out, pick up an outlet insulator from your local home improvement store. They’re basically foam sheets that you put behind the face plate to block any cold temperatures.

Close off rooms you don’t use often.

If the only people who spend time in your guest bedroom are, well, guests, don’t spend money heating it all winter long — instead, close the vents and door ASAP. Sure, that room might be freezing when not in use, but at least you’re not wasting money heating it.

Install a programmable thermostat.

Most people think lowering your heat all the way when you’re not home and raising it when you return will save energy, but according to Rothman, the energy spent to compensate for such drastic changes defeats the purpose of using the lower setting. But nifty programmable devices, like the Nest thermostat, help you heat your home more efficiently by lowering the temperature just a few degrees when you’re not home.

Check your roof for potential leaks.

If you’re missing a shingle up top, you’ll pay for it down below. “Rain, snow, and debris can damage your siding,” explains Rothman. To ensure cold air isn’t infiltrating your home, you might want to enlist the help of a professional to make repairs as needed.

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