Ask the Readers: What Winter Savings Tip Do You Swear By?

By Linsey Knerl on 6 October 2009 (Updated 12 October 2009) 72 comments
Photo: Steve Keys

******We have our winners!

Comment #9: I agree that warm feet are  Submitted by Holly Mc. on October 6, 2009 -  I agree that warm feet are the key to being warm! I fill a 2-liter soda bottle with the hottest tap water I can run (don't try boiling water -- they melt), close the top securely, and then tuck one or two under a thick feather comforter. They (and my feet) stay warm for hours. 

Tweet from 2Bfrugal Heating bills: use the crock pot: it heats the house & U have dinner finshed when your home 

It's here! Fall has arrived, and with it reports of frost, breezy evenings, and *gasp* snow! If you're not already thinking ahead to how you'll ever pay that ominous heating bill, now is your chance to learn from your Wise Bread friends. We want to know your proven tips for saving money this winter. It can be on heating, gasoline, snow-shoveling bills, or even your ice rink fees. If it's winter-weather worthy, it's eligible!

Do you plaster plastic over your windows? Are you a fan of our homemade window de-icing recipes? Do you swear by your own methods for warming up your cold feet?

Share your thoughts here in our comment thread or on Twitter, and you'll be entered to win one of two $10 Amazon giveaways. It isn't enough to buy a custom fireplace, but it can assist with the cost of a nice pair of thermal underwear. Dozens of readers have already won. You could be next!

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate

We're doing two giveaways -- one for random comments, and another one for a random tweets.

How to Enter:

  1. Post your answer in the comments below, or
  2. Tweet your answer. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

At the end of the drawing, we'll update this post to include (and link to) all of your helpful responses.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Thursday, October 8th at 11:59 am CST. Winners will be announced after October 8th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email and Twitter Direct Message.
  • You can enter both drawings -- once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.
  • Only tweets that contain both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)

Good luck!

Looking to warm up on the cheap?  You have to read these:

 

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Guest's picture
DM

We use hand/foot warmers. If it is particularly cold we will add the "toasty warmers" used by skiers. As long as our hands and feet are warm we tend to feel warmer all over. The heat stays really low and we are perfectly content.

Guest's picture
Hermosa

I sew rice into a polarfleece bag and place it in the microwave for a few minutes while I'm getting ready for bed. Once it is hot, I put it into the bed down towards the bottom.

It provides a warm pocket for my feet all night and I'm able to turn the thermostat down a little farther while I sleep because then my feet don't get cold!

Guest's picture
Jen

I knit "fuzzy feet" (i.e., felted wool slippers) for my hubby every year. He wears them almost nightly and they keep him from turning up the thermostat!

Guest's picture
Stephanie

We use the plastic wrap for our windows & door snakes for the doors! Thanks!

Guest's picture
Satsuki

I am a hot beverage fiend. I try not to buy cocoa mix anymore. I'm always testing out new recipes for it instead. I just saw this one yesterday:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/hot-cocoa-recipe/index.html

Guest's picture
accident

I bake a cake. The extra heat from the oven helps keep the place comfy and the cake ain't too bad either! ;)

Guest's picture
Steve

I find when it gets cold it is all the more reason to snuggle with a loved one. I love knerling up with my wife Linsey on those cold winter nights.

Guest's picture
Kate

I agree with the tip about snuggling...and on top of snuggling with my husband, when the cat curls up on the bed too it makes it even warmer!

Guest's picture
Holly Mc.

I agree that warm feet are the key to being warm! I fill a 2-liter soda bottle with the hottest tap water I can run (don't try boiling water -- they melt), close the top securely, and then tuck one or two under a thick feather comforter. They (and my feet) stay warm for hours.

Guest's picture
jbd

we have a summer weight down comforter that we bought 15 years ago that enables us to keep the heat lower and not be too. cold. WE just bought insulating curtains for a few rooms so we'll see how that helps too.

Guest's picture
GT0163C

I take advantage of the free radiant heating from the sun during the day. I open my blinds during the day, letting the radiant heat from the sun help to warm my living and bed room (south/west facing). At night, I close the blinds to help provide some extra insulation and keep the warmth in.
I also put extra thick blankets on the bed, keep a warm throw within arms reach of the couch and wear sweaters while I'm home. All of that helps me to be able to run the furnace a lot less.

Guest's picture
Molly

Wear socks. Wear layers - and the first layer needs to be tighter. Go to bed with mittens on. :-)

Guest's picture
Amy

The sliding patio door in our apartment has seen better days, and since our family room is about two feet away, we were really feeling the effects of the worn out seal. My fiancé put some weather stripping and it really seemed to help keep the cold out.

Guest's picture
Lauren McCormick

I find that as it gets colder my dogs seem to curl up on the bed more, keeping it nice and toasty. I have one who loves to sleep near my feet!

Guest's picture
Rachel

We bought a door draft guard last year and it helped keep in the heat as well as keep the house cool in the summer.

Slippers and tons of blankets are essential- as is baking every day!

Guest's picture
Justin

I'm a gadget geek, so I have a digital thermostat. However when it gets cold, I reinstall my mechanical thermostat (the ones with the little bubbles of mercury inside).

When your furnace kicks on, it usually turns on both the heat pump and the emergency strips. When the emergency strips are turned on, THAT'S where you waste your money.

There are 2 ways to keep your strips from turning on:
1 - Only change your heat temperatures by 2-3 degrees at a time. That will keep your furnace from going into "emergency mode" and heating the strips.

2 - Do what I do and remove the faceplate from the thermostat and change the temperature so that ONLY ONE of the mercury bubbles touches the contact. If both bubbles touch then you're heating the strips.

Guest's picture
Kristin

I change the temperature on my thermostat incrementally throughout the winter. So when it starts getting cold around October, I start with the thermostat on 68, and every 3-4 weeks, I turn the thremostat down another degree. That way my body has a chance to adjust its own internal thermostat to compensate.

Guest's picture
Guest

Wood stove probuly saves us hundreds a year. Im in canada though so it gets pretty cold here. I also put alot of time in the fall presurving food , I do it for fun but there is a money saving side effect of not having to buy over priced jam when berrys grow for free here. Cheers

Guest's picture
Guest

Of course they're up their year round anyways - but in winter I make them come on MY side.
Plus I married a man who always runs about 10 degrees warmer than me.

Guest's picture
Kenneth

I'm surprised to see only a couple responses so far that include this really basic change: wear a sweater! (I like it cool, so sometimes I wear an old polyester fleece vest instead.)

In addition to keeping my feet warm, as several have noted, I sometimes wear a knit cap if I'm sitting for a while. It does quite a good job of keeping the heat in.

Guest's picture
croatian1

I am all for saving money on monthly bills, but I refuse to sit in my home with a hat on my head, and dressed for the outdoors. Living in MN, it gets cold, and having a hubby who is cold I try to make it comfortable for the both of us. He will use my heating pad for his feet, which helps warm the rest of his body up. He works outside and comes home frozen so he needs to come home to a warm house. Dinner is usually in the oven when he gets home, so it is even toastier. We are on the budget plan with our gas company, and gas prices are down, so this coming winter we will be paying $52 a month. Now, that is for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house, that we keep at 70-72 degrees.That price also reflects our gas stove, water heater and dryer. I can't complain about the cost at all. I have been in friend's and family's homes that are freezing and it is no fun!

So a heating pad helps, cups of tea (warms the hands also!), I am going to make the rice filled bags someone wrote about this year (these can also be used as draft stoppers as well.) This summer we also recaulked all of our windows and added weather stripping as needed. We do our part, but refuse to be uncomfortable, and refuse to have our family and friends avoiding our home because it is so cold!

Guest's picture
Emily

I wear a lot of sweaters and don't turn my heat up that high. I also like to spend time in other locations outside of my apartment (like a coffee shop or library) and "use" their heat. If I'm not at home, I won't notice that it's slightly chilly inside!

Guest's picture
Kevin

This doesn't save money, but it saves effort.

I shovel the driveway before bed even if it's still snowing; then in the morning, I don't have to get up extra early to dig out my driveway. Maybe just a quick pass with the snow shovel, or it might be low enough to just drive out if I'm in a hurry.

Before I had a garage, I would clear off my car at the same time. Less work in the morning = more time for coffee.

Of course, I enjoy being outside on a snowy night, so it's easy to convince myself to grab the shovel and get a head start.

Guest's picture
Heather

We play/relax/read in one room in the evenings in order to not waste electricity. We drink lots of hot drinks. We pile the blankets on beds so we can turn the thermostat down. When we use the oven, we crack the door when we turn it off so the heat escapes into the kitchen.

Guest's picture
Kevin

A fresh snowfall raises the outside temperature by a couple of degrees, as long as it's not windy.

So if you're cold-phobic (wimps!) take advantage of those days to get outside and get your exercise. At least a nice walk around the block. You can't sit on the couch wrapped up in your snuggie and your hot water bottle ALL winter, lazybones.

Guest's picture
croatian1

Living in MN if you were to wait for a really warm day in the winter to get outdoors, you would be inside for a long time! Plus, when that sun is shining off the snow there is nothing more beautiful, or peaceful to walk in! And snow shoveling is a great workout, not to mention raises the body temperature! So, with winter approaching get those skates sharpened, get the sleds ready or whatever other activity you enjoy and make the most of the long months ahead of us!

Guest's picture
Min

I go for a run immediately after getting home. Gives the heating system time to warm up, and my entire body is warmed up, meaning I don't need the thermostat as high.

Guest's picture
pam munro

Our winters in S. Cal are mild - mostly we have to deal with the rain and damp. I DO have boots and umbrellas and rainwear - even if I wear them only briefly, it's worth it

I dress more warmly, put on sweatshirts and socks and pile on comforters. And I have found you can use candles as small radiant heaters in a pinch....

Guest's picture
catastrophegirl

i live alone, so i close off rooms i am not using often, like the guest rooms, and shut the vents in them and close the blinds. just moved into a new house and i need to install draft stoppers on the interior doors that have a gap under the door.

also i turn the ceiling fans switches to blow the warmer air down from the ceiling [vacuum the fan blades first if they have any dust on them!!]

Guest's picture
stefanie

Now that we live in a place with a wood fireplace, we use this to keep warm on some colder evenings, instead of putting the heat up. We also wear lots of layers, many of them homemade.

Guest's picture
martha in mobile

Boiled wool slippers, fingerless mitts, a stylish knitted hat and a shoulderette (small shawl): I may look like Eliza Doolittle, but I'm comfy! Perhaps more appealing, a set-back thermometer even when I am at home. If I get too cold, I raise the temp 1 degree at a time. Of course, I live in a warm climate, but we do have our 20 degree nights (and we have Very Thin Blood).

Guest's picture
Sally

Piles o' blankets. I'm a big nester in the winter.

Guest's picture

We play a game to see how many weeks/months we can wait before turning on the furnace/heat in our house (and conversely, how soon we can turn it off for the year in the spring). We live in south-west Canada, and can make it until December most years, and have had it off again as early as mid-February. With 4 people, a few cats, liberal sweater/slipper use, and normal around-the-house appliance usage, the temperature rarely drops below 16C (~60F). Each month we abstain saves upwards of $100, and makes for sounder sleeps!

Guest's picture
Jennifer Lissette

Lots of home cooked meals using the oven during the winter. I mean, what says home for the holidays more than a warm house that smells like pot roast and chocolate chip cookies?

Guest's picture
Therese

We use a programmable thermostat and turn down the heat at night and while we are at work.

Guest's picture
Colleen

To reduce costs as much as possible, we shut off the vents in rooms that get little use, change ceiling fans to push warmer air down, add a layer of blankets to the bed so we can lower the temp at night. I also work from home...so we keep it lower during the day and I add a sweater to my outfit.

Guest's picture
echomyst

Back in Canada, my family wore sweaters and thick socks around the house so we could turn down the heater. We used thick down comforters and piled blankets on the couch.

Now that I'm living in northern California, we still use thick down comforters for cold nights and still keep blankets on the couch.

It rains a lot here in the wintertime, but I invested in high quality rip-stop rain coat and rain pants so I can continue biking to and from work.

Guest's picture
Rez

I find the best thing to do is bundle up. My younger sister is ALWAYS complaining about how cold it is, YET, she walks around in shorts & a t-shirt. I mean, come on. I wear shorts & a t-shirt as well, BUT that's underneath my sweater & long pants with long winter socks.

Guest's picture

Just like Jimmy Carter advised, put on another sweater.

Guest's picture
Monique

Definately to stay warmer we all use the slippers around the house and our sweaters. We also keep blankets on the couches to cover with in the evenings in front of the tv.

Guest's picture
Melissa S

For cutting down costs, a small electric space heater has done wonders. We just warm up whatever room we're in for a few minutes, stay bundled (thick toe socks for the win). Also, gaps around doors? Duct tape around the edges does a great job for only a little money (and it can be re-used as long as it's sticky).

Guest's picture
Guest

We're going to try something new this winter. We have several large windows w/ southern exposure. We're going to try filling some 2 liter bottles with water and leave them in the sun all day. We might try sand as well We're hoping that will store at least some heat for the evening, but we're not sure if it will retain it long enough to be useful. At the very least, it should cut down on the heating bill a little bit (very little bit?).

Guest's picture
econobiker

Either paint the bottles black or mix food coloring for the darkest color you can make into the water. This will help the bottles absorb heat more efficiently. Sand actually might be a good choice too in a black bottle.

Guest's picture
Jacob LaFountaine

Time my cooking for later in the evening so it keeps the living area warmer longer

Guest's picture
Rebecca F

I use space heaters to heat the kids rooms, so I can keep the whole house cooler at night.

Oh, and blanket sleepers for the kids as well! You know, the footie pajamas.

Guest's picture
gr8ful

caulk, caulk and caulk!

Around your windows, in the bathrooms,the outlets, anywhere the cold air might leak into the house. It will more than pay for itself when it's cold outside. Brrrrrrrrr!

Guest's picture

This will be my first winter in a new-to-me house, so I am looking forward to see what the bills look like. I have one room that is just a guest room. I see lots of people who want to shut that room off, but the heating and air technician who worked on my mom's ac this summer said shutting the vents in that room can actually make her heat pump work harder, and therefore be less fuel-efficient. Do any other southerners know what I'm talking about?

I am going to add weatherstripping to my front door and see about rigging up a door snake to rest at the top of the front door. The door has about 1/4 inch of space in that corner - my landlord calls it character, and in a 90 year old house, I guess he's right. But weather stripping and a door snake should cut the amount of cold air that comes in through that door plenty.

I keep the temperature at 65 in my house all winter. If I end up going to a programmable thermostat, I'll lower it to 62 while I'm away, but if I don't I probably won't remember to make the change. My dogs will cuddle up if they are cold, and if I am cold, I add layers. One of my mutts doesn't have much of a coat, so she has some sweaters to wear, too.

For the bedroom, I have an electric heating pad that I can use to warm up the bed if it's especially chilly - I plug it in for about 20 minutes and then unplug it, because it's not safe to sleep with those things on. I also let the dogs in the bed if it's cool out - it's a win for all three of us. I also have a down comforter that I will add into the bedding. When it is really cold, I have a down throw and an extra comforter to layer on the bed. I don't usually need all of that, but if the power goes out and I'm without heat, I can do pretty well that way.

When it gets colder, into January and February, I have a small electric heater that I can set up in front of the couch. The mutt without a decent fur coat warms herself in front of it, but she is kind enough to share. A cup of hot tea or cocoa to warm the hands and the stomach helps a lot, too, and tea is a cheap indulgence.

In November, I'll shrink wrap all of the windows except for one in my bedroom (in case we get a warm spell, I like to be able to open a window in my bedroom), and one in the kitchen (for my inevitable cooking disasters), and one in the living room (the dogs look out this window and they tear off the shrink wrap). I'm also going to add another layer of fabric insulation, and by that I mean curtains, to the windows that currently only have blinds and sheers over them. They are all in rooms that don't see a lot of daily activity, but I think that adding a layer of fabric will still help hold the heat in.

Right now, the weather is so darn pleasant, I have windows open and the heat and air off! Ah, fall in the south, I love you!

Guest's picture
Jenn

Smartwool socks, silk or wool long underwear, fleece scarves, down throws/blankets, and a down comforter are absolute necessities for cold weather survival. Also, I find that when my feet and neck are warm, my whole body stays warm.

Guest's picture
Michele

We live in Klamath Falls, Oregon and usually get Nov-Dec-Jan snow and it gets very cold at night, starting in October. We put pink insulation cut-outs in the crawlspace vents to keep the pipes from freezing. We blow the water out of the sprinklers to keep the PVC from freezing. In winter, unused rooms (guest bathroom and bedroom) have the vents shut tight and a magnetic block over the vents and a 'snake' in front of the door to prevent heat from going into the rooms. I put the heavy curtains up with a protective backing that are wide open during the day to let in lots of light and warmth and closed tight at night to keep it in! We stay cozy with the heat at 66 during the day for the Yorkies (well, the dogs get cold and so does the retired husband) and lots of polar fleece comforters on the leather couches. We keep the heat at 61 at night. The oven and dryer in the laundry room and sometimes the natural gas fireplace keeps the living areas plenty warm when we are home in the evenings! We have electric blankets on the beds, so we stay toasty warm with minimal heat use. (and we get to sleep naked- sorry,not gross, just a life long 30 year habit with us as old married people) We also have a cup of hot tea (sometimes with a shot of brandy) for a nightcap and always hit the jacuzzi before bed on a very cold night.
Our gas and electric bills are VERY low during the winter compared to a lot of our friends! And we are comfortable without wearing parkas, socks to bed or heavy sweaters in the house.

Guest's picture
Kelli

Lifelong Minnesotan here, and layers are key. Rather than turning the heat way up we dress in layers as much as possible. It's easy (and free!) to put on a sweater if you're cold. Only when it gets ridiculously cold do we crank up the thermostat or turn on the gas fireplace. I'm a pretty warm person by nature, so I don't have too much trouble in the wintertime. Plus my hubby and dog are nice and cuddly and keep me warm! I'm also a fan of hot soup and bubble baths to get rid of the chill.

Guest's picture
Guest

The best thing I do to keep comfy during the winter is to use the two thick Polartec blankets I bought from LL Bean years ago. I remove the sheets on the bed for the winter and use one of the blankets as a fitted sheet and the other one as my blanket. They keep me toasty warm without overheating like a down comforter can do. Plus the fact that the bed is warm from the moment you get into it is worth anything!

Guest's picture
vegetarian

I moved to Maui. It really worked!

(We are such wimps here, that when winter comes, and it's maybe 7 degrees (F) cooler, we, too, pile on the blankets and sweaters.)

Guest's picture
Kerrie

I've found that the window kits that are supposed to insulate your windows are expensive and the plastic is too thin to do much of anything. Several years ago, I bought ten of those thick clear plastic shower curtains for about a buck apiece at the Dollar Tree. I use nails or thumbtacks to fasten them to the outside of my window frames, which cuts down on air coming in through the windows as well as through gaps in the window frames. since they're clear I can still get lots of light in the house, and since they aren't taped or shrink wrapped onto the windows I can take them down and re-use them the next year.
I also have two pairs of those rubber backed curtains from the 1950's that i found at a yard sale. They're ugly but the rubber backing will keep wind and cold air out really efficiently.
I live in an old leaky building, and mine is usually the warmest apartment out of the entire building!

Guest's picture
Toby

I enjoy burning things to stay warm. Nothing in particular, just flammable stuff.

I also make every effort to sleep during the day when it is much warmer. Somewhere near a sunny window. Like my cat, Prince Snuggleboots. He's just plain awesome.

At night I surf the internet and eat Ben & Jerry's on my couch with lots of blankets. It helps pass the time.

You lose a lot of heat through your head. I always where a hat in the house. Nothing else, just a hat.

When all else fails I go outside. I live in California, and it's usually pretty hot outside.

Thanks for your time

TOBY

Guest's picture
Kristen

We have a programmable thermostat so any time of the year it is set to run less during the day while we aren't there. During the winter my husband and I prefer to be under lots of covers as well so we can keep it fairly low. We close the doors and vents of rooms we aren't using so we are not heating the extra square footage (guest room, guest bathroom, etc). In the summer we close most of the vents downstairs to force the cold air upstairs where it will then sink. In the winter we do the opposite and it seems to help the house maintain a more consistant temperature. And finally I love to where my Duofold shirts and pants around the house in the winter. They aren't bulky but they provide extra warmth. In the end though if I am truly cold I allow myself to turn up the heat because it is not worth being miserable!

Guest's picture
Jae

When it gets colder here, I stop wearing shorts and wear long pants. But then, I live in sunny, warm Orlando!

Jae

Guest's picture
Guest

I live alone, so I am ok with setting the thermostat at 60 and wearing a hat around the house. I also morph into the pilsbury doughkid during the winter (hey, extra adipose=insulation, right? just kidding) in terms of LAYERS. As previous commenter said, wear the first layer close to the skin and you will be toasty warm. The only thing I hate doing is wearing lots of socks because I feel like my feet are getting all sweaty and smelly- but then if I leave off socks they get cold. Bah!

Guest's picture
Mariel Martinez

The first thing is, that we all come up with a plan to make a dinner together, so, several people come and buy several things that may be used for the food (we keep the leftovers) and we all have a good time. Some people bring wine, others the meat, others the vegetables and fruits. The good part on top of the sharing, is that because there are several people, each producing warmth, the heather is not on, so, less electrical bills. We do this in several groups, one for work, one for family, one for friends... And we try to do this at least twice per season.

Guest's picture
econobiker

If you have an electric dryer you can vent the heat into a dryer vent box which you fill with water to supposedly keep the lint down. When I was single, I did this in an apartment and was able to open the exterior door and have steam come out! Downside is some lint gets by the vent box. This lint issue didn't matter in the apartment because I mounted the box right next to the heater intake filter so I could run the HVAC system on fan only and easily distribute the heat around the apartment.

Now married and living in a rental house I am planning to use the same type of vent box but surround it with a larger box with air filters built into it to keep the lint fuzz down. Probably put a diverter inline so the wife can pick to exhaust the heat outside or keep it inside.

Years ago there was also some sort of heat transfer unit for gas dryers which you mounted in line with the gas vent that allowed the exhausted combustion air to tranfer heat to the room air. As I remember this only worked if you had a dryer vent in the wall above the dryer (like in a basement or high up on the wall) as you needed the pipe run to put the transfer unit into...

Guest's picture
Stew

With all due respect econobiker...
Comment 59:
Venting your dryer into your home is a terrible idea.
The increased humidity with almost certainly cause mold.
It will raise the relative humidity too much.
If you rent you may not care but be warned!

Guest's picture
croatian1

This is not a good idea, venting your dryer into the house. In MN you have to have it vented directly out of your house. I also would worry, as Stew mentioned about the mold problems.

Anyone using space heaters, especially in your kid's rooms, I do hope you are not leaving these on all night. Every year there seems to be more and more house fires in the winter here, caused from space heaters. Also how healthy is it to be closed in a room with a heater, and then soon as you step outside into other rooms in your house you are going to feel cold all over again.

Again it is all based on how warm you need your home for you to be comfortable and how many layers I am willing to have on when at home. I love my sweats and fuzzy socks, but when I have to dress in more layers inside then I need to have on to go outside, that means the house is waaaaaay, too cold. Also, depending on which state you live in if the house gets too cold, you can end up with frozen pipes. When the plumber comes out to fix the problems created by this, that cost alone will eat up any money you might have saved keeping your house freezing cold.

Guest's picture
kim

Living in NYC can be expensive, but a silver lining is that often heat and hot water are included in rent. I've fallen in love with the old steam radiators since moving here because they're super warm and the hiss of the steam provides nice white noise to sleep to.

When I paid for my own heat, I would seal up the apartment as much as possible an pile on the layers and blankets. A really good pair of slippers and thermal tops and long undies can make all the difference.

Guest's picture
Marla T

I keep the thermostat no higher that 65 during the day or when at home and turn it down to below 60 at night time. If we are chilly we put sweaters on or get up and do something which usually warms you up quick. Thank you for the giveaway.

koinonia572001@yahoo.com

Guest's picture

We flip the switch on our ceiling fans. In the winter they should turn clockwise (looking up at them). We run them on low to redistribute the warm air that rises.

Guest's picture
Tammy S

We lower the thermostat and wear polar fleece in the house. I even have polar fleece jackets for the short-haired dogs.
Thanks.

Guest's picture
2Bfrugal

Don't forget that heat rises: have your ceiling fans push the heat down. We have a small heater in the crawl space (which is insulated) that radiates heat into the kitchen; we also us passive solar by opening the windows when the sun is bright: I have snuggled with my son during Saterday morning on a dark blanket and enjoy the sunshine.
We are lucky enough to have a dual heating system: heat pump and propane: there is a switch that will automatic change the system to the propane system when the temp drops below 30 (ours set at 20) heat pumps don't work when its freezing outside. If you can't find the switch then use the emergency setting on the programable thermostat. I also lower my temp in the house when we are gone: with the heater under the house the flooring is safe to lower temp to 62 while we are gone and then again its lowered to 64 at night.
Dont forget to ensure there is no leaves or shrubs around the heat pump: it don't like company and works better alone: also ensure that all filters are changed at least every 3 months this will help the system to not work so hard.

Guest's picture
Annie BB

Since we live in a drafty mobile home our power bill quintuples in the colder months.Some tricks we use are: plastic on the windows(this really helped!), hot water bottles,heated rice/flax pillow etc.to warm up the foot and middle of the bed,thick quilt over the sliding glass door,jumping jacks to improve circulation when you are sitting too long,having a family bed (kids are little heaters!nice in the winter).
WOOL! I grab wool items whenever I find them cheap or free. They are great at keeping you dry and they wick sweat so you don't get chilly. A wool blanket on the bed over the sheet will especially help to keep you from overheating.
A knit cap on your head at night will really help keep the heat in.
Since I find thermals too clingy and tight I just wear regular cotton pajama pants under my clothes. It is much more comfortable and the extra fabric seems to hold in warmth better than thermals anyhow.

Guest's picture
MichaelM

Also in Minnesota...and they're predicting snow for this Saturday!

This year:
* We will be caulking the windows and doors this weekend.
* We've got the thermostat set to 65 during the day and 62 at night.
* We wear long sleeve shirts/sweaters and socks, and use lots of blankets.

In Planning:
* We're saving up to insulate the attic and basement better next year.
* We're also saving up to get better windows in a few years. We currently have single pane with storm windows.

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Honey

I save money in the winter by living in Phoenix, where it rarely gets below 50 degrees and you can turn off your a/c but never turn on your heat.

:-)

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Guest

Toby's post just cracks me up, from the flammable stuff to the nothing but the hat bit.

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Steve in W MA

If you normally pay to get your property snowblowed or plowed, consider buying a Wovel (wovel.com), which is a large snow shovel mounted on a big rolling wheel, and doing it yourself by hand. You will make your money back in the first month or two, plus get some moderate (not heart-threatening like normal shoveling) exercise to boot. I am planning on buying one next month for the upcoming snow season as it's vastly more efficient, faster, and vastly safer for your back than a traditional snow shovel.

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Amanda

Layers, layers, and more layers. There is no sense in turning the heat up when you can simply put on another layer of clothing.