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15 Tricks to Keep Your Home Warm While Saving on Heating

Keep the temperatures up but your heating bill low.

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Soak up some rays

The sun keeps the whole world warm—why not take advantage of that free energy in your own home? Leave your shades open during the day to let in as much sunshine as possible. (Related: Here are more ways to save on every household bill.)

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But close your shades later

As soon as the sun starts to set, whisk your curtains shut to hold in the heat. Warmth can escape through windows and doors, so invest in thick curtains to add as much insulation as you can. Place some in front of glass doors too to protect another vulnerable area.

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Try weather-stripping

For an almost-invisible way to block out drafts, add weather-stripping to your doors and windows. Installing a bit of the rubber insulation on the edges is way cheaper than investing in all-new doors and windows. Don’t miss these other savvy tricks for keeping heating costs down.

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Cut off unused rooms

Don’t waste precious heat on areas of the house you rarely use, like the guest room or dining room. Seal the vents in those rooms, and close the door if possible to contain the warm air in the spaces you need it most. (When you do need to break open the guest room, here are easy tricks to make overnight visitors more comfortable.)

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Rearrange the furniture

If you have large pieces of furniture right in front of a radiator, they’re probably absorbing some of the heat that you’re trying to let into the rom. Give a bit of space between to let the warm air circulate more easily. Try to keep seating away from the window too so that you don’t feel the cold air from the outside.

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Adjust the heat through the day

Turning up the heat only when you need it takes less energy than maintaining a constant temperature the whole day. In fact, dialing it back 10 to 15°F for eight hours a day could save 5 to 15 percent on your yearly heating bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Adjust your thermostat manually, or program it to turn on when you come home from work and to go back down when you’re ready for bed. As a bonus, you’ll sleep more deeply in a cooler space. (Find out more ways to set up your bedroom for better sleep.)

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Inch the temperature up

When you do come home to a cool home, it can be tempting to crank the heat all the way up to warm your home faster. But heaters don’t work that way—setting your thermostat to a higher temperature won’t warm the space up any faster. Instead, you’ll just be wasting energy by telling the heater to work harder than usual to reach that high temp.

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Stay warm at bedtime

If you’re uncomfortably cold with the heat down at night, don’t go running to the thermostat just yet. Swap out your usual cotton sheets for cozy flannel, and add a few extra blankets or a down comforter. You can also use a blow drier to heat your sheets before you crawl into bed.

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iStock/Ross Everhard

Turn on the fan

Yes, you read that right—a ceiling fan can actually keep your home warmer if you set it right. Counter-clockwise pushes hot air up, giving you a cool breeze in the summer, but if you reverse the direction, you’ll actually be able to push that warm air back down. Use it on a low setting to get its effects. When temperatures do warm up, use these AC tricks to feel colder while saving money.

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But avoid exhaust fans

Cut down on how often you use fans to clear steam from your bathroom or kitchen. Like any fan, they pull out hot air from your home, forcing your heater to work harder to keep the temperature up. Only use it when cooking if the steam is in the way, and shut it off right after your shower, opening the door to let the vapor out instead.

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DIY with foil

Your radiator emits heat in every direction—including toward the wall behind it, which can absorb the heat that could otherwise spread through the room. Stick radiator foil behind the heater to reflect the warm air back into your home. You can also use regular kitchen aluminum foil, though it might not work as effectively.

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Add a rug

Wood floors can let heat flow right through, but adding a large rug will add a bit more insulation. Plus, your feet will have something cozy to pad around on. Don’t miss these other almost effortless ways to save money.

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iStock/Imran Khan

Locate mini drafts

Even a small draft can make a room feel significantly colder. Inspect your home for small spaces, like keyholes, cat flaps, and letterboxes. Add a keyhole cover, or block extra space with a piece of an old blanket.

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Block a drafty chimney

Cuddling up by a crackling fire is a cozy way to warm the house. But if your fireplace is more for decoration than for use, it will end up doing just the opposite by letting in drafts of cold air. When your hearth is flame-free, make sure to keep the flue shut. If yours doesn’t have a damper that opens and closes easily, consider buying a chimney balloon, which is an inflatable device that blocks cold air while allowing ventilation.

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Worry about you, not the room

Getting yourself warm is even more important than heating your home itself—after all, that’s the goal of adjusting the temperature in the first place. Put on a cozy bathrobe and fuzzy socks, or get your hands on a hot water bottle to stay warm without touching your thermostat. But check out these medical reasons you always feel cold if your chills aren’t seasonal.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.