Baby, it’s cold outside – 15 Heat Saving Tips

Normally, this would be a really dumb topic for me to even consider writing about. After five upper Wisconsin winters, where 2 feet of snow laid on the ground from November to March and temps were always below freezing, Tennessee winters are so… eh. But we have started the new year with some really cold weather.

I got to thinking about the current financial strains most of us are already feeling with the cost of gas and recovering from the holidays. So, I’ve gathered some tips for keeping home heating costs down. Some are obvious – we’ve heard them over and over before; but others may be new to you.

Here are some ways to maximize warmth in your home this winter, and reduce heating costs.

1. Dress warmly indoors. Wear slippers or socks. When your feet are cold, the rest of you tends to follow suit.

2. Adjust your home thermostat. A good rule of thumb: Set your thermostat at 69°F when you’re home awake, 64°F when you’re sleeping and 62°F when you’re out of the house. A programmable thermostat is excellent at lowering costs. And if you time it right, you don’t have to wake up to a cold cold house.

3. Let the sun shine In: While up to 25 per cent of your home’s heat is lost through its windows, they are also a source of solar warmth. During daylight hours, keep your drapes open and let the sun help heat your home. In winter, open the blinds and curtains on the sunny side of the house (the south-facing side) when the sun is shining and close them as soon as the sun goes down to retain the solar heat. Close curtains on the shady side of the house (north-facing side).

4. Curtains made from heavy fabric with lots of folds can prevent cold air from seeping in and warm air from seeping out, which reduces your heating costs.

5. Insulate your windows with plastic window film to reduce heat loss by 50 per cent. We used this on our windows at the back of house in WI, and what a difference it made in our bedrooms! It may not be the most lovely option, but it was worth it.

6. Check to see where drafts may be coming in. Caulk, seal and weather strip around windows and doorframes, baseboards, ducting and electrical outlets (yes, electrical outlets – you’d be amazed at the cold air that can blow in from those!), as well as fireplaces to save up to 20 per cent on your heating bill.

7. Remember to close your fireplace flue when you’re not enjoying a fire.

8. Close interior doors leading to hallways or stairways to keep the heat where it’s needed most. Don’t heat areas of your house you don’t use regularly, such as guest rooms. Close heating vents or turn back thermostats in those areas and close the doors for a painless reduction in heating costs

9. Did you know a bathroom fan can suck all the heated air out of the average house in little more than an hour? Over the course of the winter, ventilation fans can increase your heating costs by a surprising amount. Use both bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans more sparingly in winter.

10. Keep your furnace, heat pump, or other heating equipment in top operating condition. Dirty filters reduce the efficiency of your furnace or heat pump. Poorly tuned units are inefficient and use more fuel.

11. Layer your bedding- Invest in a down comforter for your bed, or layer your bedding for maximum warmth while you sleep. Then, turn down the thermostat and enjoy the savings. If you have more to spend, consider adding down pillows and flannel sheets to your bed as well.

12. Stock up on blankets- Keep blankets handy in your living room, office and any other room of the house where you sit for an extended period of time. It’ll save you numerous trips to the thermostat.

13. Eat warm foods- Soups, stews and other cold weather foods are perfect for keeping the chill off. Compile a collection of cold weather recipes, and then rotate through them regularly. To keep warm between meals, be sure to keep plenty of coffee, cocoa and cider on hand. Often just the warmth of a mug is enough to warm you back up.

14. Make the most of your energy use- Many of our day-to-day activities require the use of electricity, but are you taking full advantage of your consumption? Consider these simple, stay warm ideas:

  • Leave the oven open after you cook to take advantage of the heat that’s built up inside. (Note: This isn’t a good idea if you have young children or pets.)
  • Wash and dry your bedding just before bed. Warm sheets will spare you the unpleasant experience of slipping into a cold bed.
  • Save your dish washing for a time when you’re cold; the warm water will clean your dishes, while giving you a temperature boost.
  • Do your computer work when you’re cold; computers give off a surprising amount of heat.

15. Stay busy- Moving around is a great way to keep warm, so grab your chore list and get to work. If you run out of tasks to keep you busy, give exercise a try.

What do you do to keep your heating costs down?

sources: and


  1. Phyllis Sommer says

    great list. we had our attic insulation checked and added a whole bunch to it this year. i read a great tip to use bubble wrap on windows which is easier to get than the film. but then i read about one that works all year round, and i think i may seek that out. for now, bubble wrap it is!

  2. Great tips Karla! Happy new year.

  3. Wonderful tips. Thanks!

  4. I totally sit with my laptop in my lap to get warm!! Is that just another excuse for reading blogs?

    ;) Thanks for all your tips!

  5. What great ideas!
    We also use a space heater in our bedroom at night. We can turn the heater down, close (or partially close) our bedroom door to keep the heat in, and stay warm all night. By pushing the door closed, we don’t even have to have the space heater turned up high at all. Then, in the mornings, I take the space heater into the bathroom with me to heat it up while I shower.
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. infinitygoods says

    Excellent cold weather tips!
    Wishing you a Happy New Year 2008!

  7. Ornery's Wife says

    Great tips. I didn’t know that about the vent fan.

  8. crafty carolinagirl says

    Lots of great ideas! I didn’t know about the thermostat so I will be changing mine to the new temperatures.

    I curl up with my cat. She is like having a furry electric blanket.

  9. Low heating cost is always a good idea. Thanks.

  10. Great List! I didn’t know about #9- attic fan! We have a whole house ventilation system with louvers on the windows. We shut the louvers in the winter, but didn’t think about just turning off the fan during the colder months.
    Thanks for the reminder!
    my word verification said “lzbt”, is that an idicator of my attitude?

  11. Kelly @ Love Well says

    Great tips, Karla. And since I live in Minnesota (where our high today is 7), I can vouch for all of them — especially the warm feet bit. My mother, who lived in Minnesota for 20 years while we were growing up, walked every morning without fail (even if it was -20), and she always said that brisk walk warmed her and her feet at the beginning of the day, so she stayed warm. When I was a teenager, I thought she was crazy. But now? I believe her.

  12. Those are all great tips, Karla.

  13. Good tips. We drink lots of warm beverages too. Of course baking lots of goodies helps keep the house warm! :)

  14. tickledpink.nicole says

    My mother, who grew up in England, kept our house pretty chilly. She claimed even the Queen would tell us to put a cardigan on.

    Thanks for the tips!

  15. Great tips….I’m going to book mark them.

  16. I just blogged today about the film for the windows, we have old windows and I am amazed at the difference the film has made and it isn’t as noticeable as I thought it would be.

  17. Dandelion Momma-Janis says

    These are wonderful and timely tips. I live in North Georgia and although it is definitely not as cold here as it is in some of the more northern states, it is definitely felt. Thanks for sharing! Blessings to you!

  18. All most excellent tips – thank you (over from Shannon’s). My husband has expounded on the vent fan for a long time (I just had a hard time admiting that he was right. ;P) We too keep all extra doors closed within the house. During the day I leave the temp in house at 63 deg. and just keep busy ;-) 67deg and never above when we’re home. My husband was caulking and sealing like mad this holiday season – oh and we just have a gas fireplace, but wow – was there ever a draft coming in through there!

    Thanks for sharing!


  19. This is a great post! I’m linking to you on Shak & Jill ( Thanks!

  20. Karla, great tips. Living alone I don’t have to battle anyone with the temperature control for the heat and I usually set it for 60 at night and no higher that 68 during the day. Even an extra pair of socks can help keep your feet warmer, if necessary and layer your clothing as well. Happy New Year.

    Mrs. Wetzel

  21. Hubby and I share an electric throw blanket when we watch TV or read in the evenings. It keeps us warm and keeps us from turning up the thermostat. I got the throw on clearance at Wally world last year for $10 marked down from $30 sometime in February.

  22. all good!

    i like to snuggle with my kids!

  23. Great suggestions, Karla. We actually do follow most of the things you listed, since we’re up here in the frozen-north Canada. When we moved to our (old) house on our acreage last December (06), we had a new furnace installed, which came with a programmable thermostat. The 95% efficient furnace saved us three-months worth of heating costs (which for last year was approx. $100 per month). The new thermostat is awesome. We’re not sure what we did without it before.
    Keep warm.

  24. What a great list of tips! I didn’t know that about bathroom and kitchen vents — thanks for passing that along!

  25. Great tips.

    But using a dryer isn’t necessary in a well heated house.

    The towels etc go from the washing machine to the heating and I hang them one by one over the heating.
    It saves a lot lot lot of money.
    Works for me.

    Feel welcome to visit my entry for wfm at my blog

    Laane on the World

    Have a happy New Year!!!

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