Heating your home isn’t always easy on your utility bills. Running a whole-house heater can be expensive, as can using several old-school space heaters in every room. The good news is that there are more than enough ways to cheaply heat your home without using costly appliances. What can you do?
The cheapest ways to heat your home include sealing and insulating every room, lighting candles, using fireplaces, lighting wax burners, or insulating the windows with curtains, blinds, and insulation sheets. You can also use rugs or energy-efficient portable heaters.
Throughout this post, I’ll break down the 18 cheapest ways you can heat your home during the winter. Enjoy!
1. Seal the Crawlspace
Many homeowners forget about the importance of thermal bridges in their crawlspaces. Every crawlspace needs insulation to prevent moisture, mold, and mildew.
However, optimal insulation can also help with cold drafts coming through the floors. This is especially important if you have ceramic tiles or hardwood floors.
When sealing the crawlspace, you can choose one or more of the following solutions:
● Spray foam
Remember to seal all cracks throughout the crawlspace to ensure the insulation can do its job. Use wood glue, screw glue, and silicone caulking to keep moisture and contaminants out of the crawlspace.
This will allow the insulation to prevent cold air from entering your home through the floors.
2. Add a Draft Stopper to Each Entrance
Also known as a door draft stopper, a door snake prevents cold drafts from coming in underneath the door.
These handy items are useful for older homes. Still, they can benefit any house that needs to prevent cold fronts from entering.
3. Light Candles and Wax Burners
Candles and wax burners are excellent when heating small spaces, such as bedrooms and bathrooms. Please make sure they’re within sight to prevent fire hazards.
Candles can put off quite a bit of heat, especially if you’re sitting near them. So they’re better for people who spend a lot of time in one spot, such as a desk, couch, or dinner table.
If you choose candles to heat your home, get one with multiple wicks. Having several wicks in a candle increases its heat output.
Place one of these candles in each corner of your room, then enjoy the ambiance and undeniably comfortable temperature increase.
4. Use a Wood Fireplace
Wood fireplaces are surprisingly energy-efficient. They don’t require wind power, solar power, or burning fossil fuels.
A well-maintained fireplace can be one of the most effective and affordable ways to heat your home during harsh winters.
Here’s a list of tips and suggestions to keep in mind when using a fireplace:
● Gas fireplaces aren’t nearly as energy-efficient as wood fireplaces.
● A fireplace is much more effective and efficient when cleaning the chimney regularly.
● Dense, long-burn wood logs are the best for warmth and affordability.
● Removing the ashes between burning logs can improve the airflow and heat.
5. Improve Your Home’s Airflow
There are many ways to improve your home’s airflow and ensure it stays as warm as possible. Let’s analyze the five best ways below.
- Open all the vents at a diagonal angle to allow airflow to move directly toward the central living spaces.
- Move furniture and other obstacles five feet away from HVAC vents to allow uninterrupted airflow.
- Increase your HVAC system’s built-in fan speed (if possible).
6. Close the Blinds and Install Dense Curtains
Dense curtains and blinds are some of the cheapest and most effective tricks to heat your home in the winter.
First, lower the blinds (any blinds will do, as long as they cover the whole window from top to bottom and side to side), then add the densest, thickest curtains you can find.
Density is the most important part of all insulation, regardless of what you use it for.
For example, getting dense blackout curtains will help your home maintain as much of its artificially-generated heat as possible. It also ensures cold air outside the building doesn’t come through the windows.
Most windows are the worst thermal bridges in a structure, so they need optimal insulation.
7. Try Insulation Paint
Insulation paint (also known as thermal paint) can help quite a bit. It’s fairly uncommon, but it’s more than worth it if you can get your hands on it.
How does it work? Insulation paint creates a thin, dense ceramic layer over the current paint. Some insulation paints use other materials, but ceramic is the most common option.
This paint can be used indoors and outdoors, doubling the insulation value. While the paint isn’t the most effective way to keep your home warm, it can exponentially improve your home’s internal heat when combined with other suggestions from this post.
8. Clean Your HVAC Systems
Cleaning and maintaining your home’s HVAC systems is a free (or cheap) way to improve its internal heat.
So, how can you improve HVAC without hiring an expensive professional? Try these suggestions:
● Clean each vent and remove mold and other debris to improve the airflow.
● Replace or clean the A/C filter (depending on the make and model).
● Remove leaves, pest droppings, and other debris from all outdoor HVAC units.
● Apply duct tape or aluminum tape to every duct leak throughout the house (this will prevent hot air leaks).
9. Mount Pictures, Tapestries, and Other Decor
Covering the walls is like layering the windows with drapes and blinds. The more density and coverage, the better the insulation.
Keep in mind that they don’t make astronomical changes. Still, covering the walls can greatly improve the situation when combined with other suggestions.
10. Insulate Your Home With Fiberglass Batts
Fiberglass batts are typically the cheapest form of insulation. Not only are they eco-friendly, but they’re also long-lasting and quite effective.
The only downside of fiberglass insulation is that it’s a bit messy to install, so you’ll need protective gear.
Adding fiberglass batts to your home’s walls, attic, and other spaces will significantly improve its thermal insulation.
You can consider many other types of green insulation if you want higher insulation values without increasing your carbon footprint.
11. Add Rugs in Your House
Rugs add a lot of insulation to your home. They’re most effective when placed on tiles, hardwood floors, laminates, and other materials with poor insulation values.
However, you can use a rug on virtually any flooring to improve heat retention.
I recommend choosing a rug with the following characteristics:
● Area rugs cover more space; therefore, they’re much more effective.
● Much like all insulation materials, density is key when choosing your rug.
● Use a non-slip rug mat if you place the rug on a slippery surface (hardwood, vinyl floors, etc.).
12. Install a Wood Stove
Wood stoves are quite effective if you want to increase your home’s internal temperature.
In fact, Home AI explains that almost every fuel-sourced stove (wood pellets, wood logs, coal, etc.) is great for heating a home. Remember to add a chimney to ensure the fumes escape the building.
Wood stoves come in all shapes and sizes. You can choose whole-house wood stoves or those that only heat one room.
Many people keep wood stoves outdoors, but adding a chimney and following local building regulations will make a wood stove similar to a fireplace.
13. Close Your Fireplace Flue When It’s Not Used
Fireplaces are generally seen as a source of warmth. Still, they can also be one of the worst appliances for your home’s insulation.
According to This Old House, leaving the flue open in a fireplace’s chimney will allow hot air to escape since it naturally rises.
Furthermore, it’ll let cold air into your home, including snow and ice.
While you’re at it, I strongly recommend brushing your fireplace’s chimney to remove soot and look for cracks.
Sealing gaps in the chimney will help it retain and produce as much heat as possible. Soot and other debris absorb heat, preventing it from warming your home.
14. Shut the Vents in Smaller Areas
If you’re not in the bathroom too often, shut the vent. The same applies to garages, bedrooms, and other areas you only go to a little.
Closing the vents increases the air pressure and heat going into the main areas of the home. This is important for those living in frigid climates or two-story homes.
Keep in mind that you can partially close a vent. For instance, slant it until it’s about 90 percent closed if you want a little heat in the bathroom.
This will let around 10 percent of normal heat and airflow into the bathroom, making it more comfortable when you have to use it.
15. Attach Window Insulation Sheets
Window insulation sheets are ideal for those who have single-pane and double-pane windows.
Triple-glazed windows are extremely energy-efficient and thermally efficient, so they might not need insulation sheets too much.
Note: Check which materials the window insulation sheets are compatible with. Most brands are designed to work with specific materials, such as wood, metal, or plastic.
16. Check the Sealants Throughout Your Home
Silicone caulking works wonders when preventing air leaks and heat leaks. In addition, it’s the best material for water-prone areas.
You can also use spray foam insulation to bridge the gaps between insulation sheets, boards, and batts.
Here’s what you should do:
- Remove the old caulking with a putty knife.
- Apply a thin bead of new silicone caulking.
- Let it dry before turning on the water or touching the material.
- Clean the caulking, then fill any remaining gaps with another thin layer.
You can remove the excess silicone caulking with a putty knife or by hand. This makes it look flush and uniform for a like-new appearance.
We also wrote up a pretty extensive air sealing guide that you can use for nearly all areas of your house.
17. Take Advantage of Direct Sunlight
Although it might seem counterproductive to open your blinds and curtains when it’s cold, it could help quite a bit on sunny days.
As mentioned earlier, windows have terrible thermal resistance. In other words, direct sunlight will heat the windows, letting warm air into your home.
Open your blinds and let the sun’s heat naturally warm your home until it passes.
Remember to close the blinds and currents right when the sunlight isn’t hitting the windows. Otherwise, you’ll lose all the heat gained through the process.
This is also considered passive solar design, which is an entire method to build homes with if you want to take it that far.
18. Try Low-Wattage Mini Heaters
Space heaters have only sometimes been known to be energy-efficient. However, you can find plenty of low-wattage modern heaters these days.
Keep an eye out for space heaters that claim to be energy-efficient. Many of these heaters use up to 1,500 watts per hour. This is more than the average laundry machine, refrigerator, freezer, and high-energy appliance.
Whether or not you have a central heating system, you can apply most of the suggestions above to keep your home warm during the winter.
Insulation on windows, walls, roofs, and floors is paramount. Controlling the airflow also makes a huge difference!