10 Ways to Heat Your Home Affordably This Winter

hands applying a strip of black insulation to window
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The price of everything from produce to toilet paper is rising constantly, causing us to reevaluate household budget items like heating costs. There are a few ways to attack energy expenditures. The first is to set up a highly effective heating system, but that comes with a high initial investment. This approach includes geothermal, solar, and natural gas systems.

The second tool is to make your home as energy efficient as possible to minimize heat loss. The more warm air you can keep inside the home, the less you'll pay to heat.

Third, you can make some adjustments in order to require less heat production, which will directly result in lower bills. Here are a few ideas to put these approaches into motion.

1. Passive Solar Heating

The sun is a powerful tool for providing natural heat. If you’ve ever sat next to a window in the summer you know what we mean here. Even during winter, the sun can help provide heat in the right situations. When the sun is beaming on a window, leave the shades and curtains open. However, when you can feel a cool breeze coming through the face of the window, it’s time to cover it again.

2. Close Off Rooms

One very effective way to lower heating costs is to not heat the entire space. To do this, close off little-used rooms such as the spare room and the back bathroom. Keep the door closed and close the vents. However, closing too many vents in the home can make the furnace work harder so choose discriminately. If you don’t have a door to the space, you can add one or simply hang a thick blanket across the doorway opening.

3. Cover Windows

hands installing window insulation film

Whether you have blinds or curtains, choosing an energy-efficient design can save you a bundle on the energy bill. Multi-layer shades or thick curtains keep warm air from seeping out and blocks cold air from seeping in. When the weather is cold, keep the windows covered. You can also install window film. It’s an easy DIY project that significantly reduces drafts.

4. Use an Energy-Efficient Space Heater

In spaces where you spend most of your time, relying on portable space heaters helps reduce your overall heating bill. Rather than trying to bring the entire house up to your desired temperature, pay to only heat the space you’re in.

5. Invest in Blankets

plaid blankets

If you feel a chill, reach for a blanket instead of the thermostat. There are times you’ll want to make the overall environment more comfortable, but for times you’re sitting at your desk or watching TV, a blanket may do the job at a fraction of the cost.

6. Wear More Layers

The same goes for clothing. It’s winter so layer up, even when you’re indoors. It doesn’t mean you have to pull out the thermal underwear, but it does mean grabbing a sweater rather than raising the temperature.

7. Install a Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats can shave a significant amount of money off the power bill. They work by keeping the furnace from kicking on when the space doesn’t need to be as warm, such as during the night or when everyone is gone from the house. Programmable thermostats require a low upfront cost and earn a checkmark for cost savings.

8. Service the Furnace

hand with wrench servicing furnace pipes

Regardless of whether you heat using electric, oil, or natural gas, you’ll want to service your furnace one to two times per year. Keeping it in tip-top shape adds to efficiency and lifespan, both of which will save you money. Also be sure to change your furnace filter every one to three months.

9. Insulate Everything

Adding insulation to the attic, the outlets, the door jambs, and around windows adds up to considerable savings. You can also roll towels to place in front of drafty doors. Basically clog any space where cold air is seeping into your home.

10. Look for Rebates

If you’re in the market for a new appliance, consider the energy efficiency rating before buying. Also, buying when the electric company or the government is offering rebates can save you a bundle on the initial cost or offer savings at tax time. Either way, your new furnace or woodstove will also save you money when you upgrade to a more efficient model.