5 Cheap and Simple Ways to Stay Cozy This Winter

Editor’s Note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published November 9, 2012. Enjoy!

Despite the fact that climate change brought on extreme heat, drought and storms this year, winter will be here before you know it. In fact, there’s reason to believe that although we’re likely to see less winter precipitation, what we do see will be more intense than years past.

According to an early 2012 study led by University of Arizona researchers, we could see an average 12.6 percent increase in the intensity of extreme winter precipitation events in the next 20 years and a 14.4 percent increase in the next 50 years. This means lots of cold, snow, ice and for some, skyrocketing utility bills. Add that to the threat of cold and flu that has a way of catching us at the worst time, and it’s no wonder people dread the onset of winter.

Well, it’s time to put a little jolly back into the cold weather season. A few simple changes, coupled with smart behavior made easy by some cool technology, and you’ll find that Old Man Winter is more bark than bite. Here are five of our favorite ways to save money, energy and your health this winter. Think we missed a tip? Please share it in the comments below!

1. Lower the temperature in your home to increase savings up to 12 percent. It seems obvious, but if you’re lounging around in shorts in the middle of January, you’re wasting energy. Control your home’s temperature, especially while away or asleep by adjusting your thermostat. If you’ve got a programmable thermostat, turn the temperature down 8 degrees for 7 hours each night and an additional 7 hours each weekday for seasonal heating savings of approximately 12 percent. For the average home, this could result in savings of about $180.

2. Look for the Design for the Environment label on more than 2,800 products during winter cleaning. Thanks to toxins in many cleaning products, indoor air can often be more polluted than outdoor air. Add in the fact that we almost never open the windows to let fresh air in during the winter, and it gets even worse. The EPA’s Designed for the Environment (DfE) logo differentiates products that use only the safest ingredients to protect people, our pets and the environment. In 2011, Americans using DfE products cut the use of harmful chemicals by more than 756 million pounds.

3. Keep a tight ship by sealing up drafts, cracks and unnecessary vents. Any opening into your house is a potential path for warm air to leave your home and cold air to get in. Maintain a comfortable temperature without cranking the heat by sealing up your doors, windows, vents and outlets. Use temporary silicone caulking around the inside and outside of door and window frames, and if you can, seal off windows entirely with a plastic window seal kit (this will also trap heat from sunlight inside during the day). Make your own draft snakes out of rolled up small blankets/towels or by filling up pantyhose with rice. Place them at the bottom of any outside facing doors.

4. Test your home for radon gas. One in 15 homes may have elevated levels. Radon, a colorless odorless gas, is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and levels can increase during colder months. Purchase an affordable Do-It-Yourself test kit online or at a local hardware store to determine the level in your home. Addressing high levels often costs the same as other minor home repairs.

5. Get creative about recycling heat. Warming up your living areas doesn’t always mean you have to adjust the thermostat. Baking or cooking on the stove instead of microwaves and crock pots adds plenty of heat and often moisture into the air.  Better yet open the oven after cooking your meals and let the heat escape. Open your dishwasher immediately after running to let hot air/steam out. Flip the seasonal reverse switch on ceiling fans to blow warm air downward, ensuring it stay where both you and your thermostat can feel it. This should keep your heater from switching on as often.


Related Reading:

Herbs That Warm Up Winter

How To Vanquish Costly Energy Vampires From Your Home

Why Warming Up The Car Is The Worst Thing You Can Do This Winter


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Pat P.
Pat P.6 hours ago

I have a big old stone/brick/stucco drafty house (retaining the cold), with no insulation, a very old furnace and water heater, both poorly energy efficient. My kitchen, which juts out and is exposed on 3 sides, gets down to 36 deg (on the coldest days), with air actually blowing through the house. On a windy day, its like living in the Arctic! I, also, have hypothyroidism with a extreme fluctuating body temperature, neuropathy in my feet (that feel like ice) and legs. I get chilled and nothing seems to help. I can wear a hat, scarf and gloves, lots of clothes, and still my nose is cold! The only remedy is to turn up my heat very high (about 80), making my energy bills astronomical--on a very low income. One winter I covered most of the windows with plastic that was claustrophobic--like living in a bubble. I even covered some doorways with curtains, and due to drafts, they blew back and forth about a foot each way! Never again! All this, and its not even winter, yet! I am chronically-ill, so often bed-ridden. I wrap my feet in a heating pad, using lots of covers. At least, then, its cozy!

Kristal Marks
Kristal Marks8 hours ago

Body heat is great! Take this time to snuggle up to your significant other if you're lucky to have one.

Donna T.
Donna T.9 hours ago

thank you

Sarah Crockett
Sarah Crockett12 hours ago


Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson13 hours ago

Good ideas for people WITH HEAT!
How about ideas for those who don't!

Beth M.
Beth M.13 hours ago

Or my favorite- snuggle with my kitties!

Janet B.
Janet B.14 hours ago


federico bortoletto


Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman17 hours ago

Thanks, good "stuff" here, many ideas here are possible.

Renee M.
Renee M.17 hours ago

Thanks for the tips.