During the wintertime, you're trying to stay as warm as possible. This usually involves turning up heat on your thermostat to feel comfortable and cozy — but it comes at a price. According to a recent report from the US Energy Administration, heating costs are expected to rise by 28 percent this winter. The good news is, you can keep chilly air out of your home without increasing any heating expenses. Here, experts offer five smart tips showing you how to lower your heating bill all winter long.
Preserve the warmth with strategic shelving.
Since heat rises and can escape up to the ceiling, consider installing shelves above radiators and heating ducts — the strategic decor will bounce the warm air rising off of them back down to ground level where you are. Also smart? Reverse ceiling fans to direct rising warm air back down.
Create toasty air with a DIY humidifier.
“Indoor moisture drops in the winter because heating systems dry out the air, and dry air feels colder,” David Sheppard, founder of HVACJudge.com, explains. Instead of turning up the heat, transform a slow cooker into a humidifier. Simply fill it ¾ of the way with water, cover it and turn it to high, then remove the lid after 15 minutes to release the steam and infuse your entire home with added warmth.
Plug sneaky pipe drafts with spray foam.
The biggest culprit when it comes to drafts is your pipes, says Alex Capozzolo of SD House Guys. “That’s because they lead outside and aren’t well-insulated,” he adds. The fix: Fill the area where the pipe goes out of the wall (inside the house) with foam insulation to prevent cold air from sneaking in. One option: Great Stuff Gaps and Cracks Insulating Spray Foam Sealant (Buy from HomeDepot, $7.98).
Insulate the windows with bubble wrap.
A clever way to keep cool air out and warm air in? Bubble wrap, says home expert Stefan Bucur (RhythmOfTheHome.com). “Cut a piece the same size as the window, then spray water on the bubbly side (it makes it stick) and place against the glass — all drafts will be blocked!” he says.
Boost your radiator with aluminum foil.
Keep warm radiator air from escaping through your walls with aluminum foil, recommends Jennifer Osterhout of EveryDayOldHouse.com. “Just cut a square of cardboard, wrap it in foil, shiny side out, and place it between the heating coils and the wall — the foil will reflect the heat back toward your room," she says.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman's World.
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