Home heating costs are expected to rise this winter, but there are ways to keep your home warm without spending a small fortune. The following 10 tips can help you get more from every penny you spend on home heating by conserving the heat you already have and taking advantage of cheap or free heat you might not know is available.
All you need to find the worst air leaks in your home is a stick of incense and some patience. Light the incense stick, and when it begins to smoke, use it as a magic wand of sorts to find leaks. Slowly move the incense stick around door frames and windows, and watch the smoke — anywhere an air leak exists, the smoke will shift direction. Once you find a leak, use weather stripping, caulk or spray insulation to seal it up
Change your air filter
If your furnace's air filter is full of dirt, the furnace has to work harder to push air through it, which raises your heating bill. Change furnace filters regularly to keep your furnace functioning efficiently.
Lock your windows
Use thermal curtains
Replace thin or lace curtains with thermal curtains, which are designed to help insulate the window against cold air. They require more up-front cost, but they can pay off in energy savings over time.
Harness the sun’s warmth
Install window insulation kits
Windows account for a lot of heat loss in homes. Inexpensive window insulation kits are available at hardware stores, and they're easy to install. For less than $10 per window, you can create a new, shrink-wrapped (though temporary) barrier between your window panes and the harsh weather outdoors.
Close off unused rooms
Don’t waste money by heating an unused room in the winter. Close the room's heating vents (but leave the intake vents open, if there are any), and close the curtains and door. Put a rolled-up towel along the base of the door to prevent warm air from getting into the room. Finally, hang a sign on the door that says something like "Toxic Waste Storage — Do Not Enter" to make sure the rest of your family knows to keep that door closed and stay away. When you close off an unused room, you’re redirecting more heat to the rest of your home.
Reverse your ceiling fans
Warm air rises, and in the winter, you’ll want to redirect that warm air toward the floor. If you have ceiling fans, set them to rotate clockwise in the winter and they’ll keep that warmer air away from the ceiling.
Add moisture to the air
Just like in summer, moist air feels warmer than dry air. A mister or humidifier can raise the moisture level in a room and make it feel warmer (and it can help you avoid dry, cracked skin and irritated sinuses).
Rearrange your furniture
Pull your sofa and chairs away from the walls and windows and create a closer, more intimate arrangement. This allows you to share some of your body heat, and the closeness just makes you feel warmer.
You can find these and more money-saving home heating tips — as well as home heating safety information — in the free ebook "The Cure for the Common Cold Room".