START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

14 Tips for Using Less Heat this Season

14 Tips for Using Less Heat this Season

It feels like it got chilly over night! The temperature’s dropping here in the northern hemisphere, and for a lot of us that means dialing up the thermostat to take that chill out of the air.

Whether you have electric or gas heat, warming your home isn’t so hot for the environment. The majority of our electricity here in the U.S. comes from dirty coal. Natural gas drilling often uses a dangerous method called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” which contaminates water in the areas around drilling sites.

Never fear! There are lots of ways that you can reduce your heating bill without setting hand on the thermostat.

1. Get a Draft Dodger

Nope, I’m not talking about avoiding military service. Draft dodgers are filled fabric tubes that you wedge under the door to keep out cold air. Normally filled with sand or small beans, they do a great job of adding a little extra insulation around doors or windows.

You can purchase draft dodgers online, and if you’re feeling crafty it’s quite easy to whip up your own!

2. Make the Most of the Sunlight

If possible, keep your blinds open during the day and close them at night. This does double duty. In the daytime, sunlight will warm your home naturally, and at night your blinds will help keep heat from escaping through your windows.

3. Trim the Tree

Not the Christmas tree! If you’ve got plants blocking the windows on the side of your house that gets the most sun, prune them back. This will help you take advantage of sunlight during the day (see #2).

cozy rug

4. Cover the Floor

You know how unpleasant it is to step out of bed onto a cold floor. That chilly tile is a sign that heat is escaping. Area rugs can go a long way toward keeping your house warm, especially if your basement or crawl space isn’t as insulated as you wish it were. When temperatures start warming up, you can just roll up unwanted rugs and stash them in the attic or under the bed until you need them again!

5. Bundle Up at Bedtime

It’s hard to fall asleep if you’re lying in bed shivering. Once you doze off, though, your body tends to tolerate cold rather well. If you can, turn the heat down at bedtime, and just toss some extra blankets on your bed to warm you up while you fall asleep.

If you’ve got a thermostat on a timer, you can even set it to start warming the house 30 minutes or so before you’re planning to get up, so you don’t have to hop out of bed into a chilly room.

6. Don’t Warm an Empty House

Heading out for the day? Turn down the heat before you go! There’s no sense running the heater if no one’s there to benefit from it. This is another case where a programmable thermostat can help a lot. Just set it to warm back up before you’re planning to get home.

If you have pets, keep them in mind! Don’t turn off the heat off completely. Different animals can tolerate different levels of cold, so ask your vet before taking things to extremes.
snuggling

7. Get Snuggly!

When it gets chilly, our two cats love to get under the covers at bedtime. They’re on to something! Body heat is free, so take advantage.

8. Insulate Where You Can

If you’ve got some spare cash in your budget adding insulation to your attic or crawlspace can make a huge difference. You can also look into replacing old, inefficient windows with newer ones. For lower budgets, pick up a caulk gun at the hardware store and seal any areas that are letting heat escape.

9. Layer Up

Mom had some good advice when she said, “If you’re cold, put on a sweater!” Wear warmer clothes in your house, and you won’t get cold as easily. This sounds like an obvious tip, but it can make a huge difference.
tea time

10. Drink Up

Fall and winter are all about spiced hot cider and delicious teas. If you’re chilly, you can warm your hands and your body with a hot beverage. Red wine can also warm your body, but you want to be careful not to use the cold as an excuse to overindulge!

11. Stay Active

Exercise is another one that does double duty. When you get moving, you can warm your body from the inside out, and that can last for a while even after you’ve settled down. Muscle helps generate heat, so weight-bearing exercise can actually help your body become more tolerant to cooler temperatures.

12. Reverse Those Fans

It might seem counter-intuitive to run the fans when it’s chilly in the house. Most fans have a switch on the side that lets you reverse the direction. Flip the switch so the blades turn clockwise, and it will help push warm air down.
crowded room

13. Throw a Party

This is a great time of year to host a get-together. Next time you’re having a large group of people over, turn down the thermostat. All of those bodies will warm things up in no time!

14. Eat for Warmth

Cold weather makes us crave soups and stews, and this is a situation where it’s great to give in! A piping hot meal warms you from the inside out.

Do you have any tips for keeping warm when the temperature’s dropping?

Image Credits:
Cold Window. Creative Commons photo by bru_camargo
Cozy Rug. Creative Commons photo by ejchang
Snuggling. Creative Commons photo by subspace-eddy
Tea Time. Creative Commons photo by jody_art
Crowded Living Room. Creative Commons photo by billselak

Read more: Eco-friendly tips, Green, Home, Household Hints, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

686 comments

+ add your own
10:29PM PST on Nov 12, 2014

I am confident you've got a great enthusiast following there. http://thefifthfuel.com/air-sealing/

5:15PM PDT on Oct 20, 2014

Exercising early in the day warms you and sets you up for maximum energy for the rest of the morning and into early afternoon. Exercising later in the afternoon warms you up into the early evening hours and helps you have enough energy to finish the day well. Think: bike riding (if it's not snowy/icy out), walking, jogging, splitting wood, sledding/skating with the kids, even building a snowman, and, of course, shoveling the driveway. And don't touch that thermostat til you've at least tried adding a layer.......you'll be surprised how effective it is.

5:10PM PDT on Oct 20, 2014

Weird. Why does this primer in using less heat show a thermostat set at 68 degrees? Yikes! Would've been way more effective to show a thermostat set at a cooler, more reasonable temp........68 degrees? Really? Good grief! Try 62 or at least 65....the environment will thank you, your wallet will thank you, your health will thank you.

6:05AM PST on Dec 18, 2013

Great information, thanks so much.

9:12PM PST on Dec 19, 2012

Thanks for the tips! I knew most of them but a little review never hurt anyone. :) I did reverse my fans though, thanks for that one! I have also noticed that even if I have on a hat & sweater & sitting in a room with a space heater my feet can still get cold. I find that I need to make sure I have dry socks on too! If your socks get wet from sweat your feet will get cold.

1:14AM PST on Dec 3, 2012

I have my heat set at 64F degrees. When I had ceiling fans, I used to do this trick too. I also like my tea.

9:09PM PST on Dec 2, 2012

Really good info.

4:41AM PST on Nov 30, 2012

Thanks for wonderful ideas!

12:15PM PST on Nov 29, 2012

good tips--and besides being better for the environment, it should save you money

11:18PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Simple tip- turn a light on. It is a cheap form of heating. You use it too take the chill off a room.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Today NY, tomorrow the world...

The video was so sweet, Merry Xmas all. Thank you

Interesting! Thank you!

Thank you for the article. I try to be grateful for all the gifts that the creator has bestowed upo…

CONTACT THE EDITORS



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.