There are plenty of ways to fight winter’s chill without cranking up the heat. Some ideas are as old as the pioneers, like piling on the blankets, dressing in layers and consuming hot soup and tea. More modern tactics, like weather stripping or installing a programmable thermostat, can cut your energy bills dramatically. But there are plenty of simple measures you can take around the house to weather the cold without cranking up the thermostat.

There are plenty of ways to fight winter’s chill without cranking up the heat. Some ideas are as old as the pioneers, like piling on the blankets, dressing in layers and consuming hot soup and tea. More modern tactics, like weather stripping or installing a programmable thermostat, can cut your energy bills dramatically. But there are plenty of simple measures you can take around the house to weather the cold without cranking up the thermostat.


Winterize your bed


Pull out the flannel sheets, extra blankets and a down comforter if you’ve got it. Keep blankets on hand for the couch and other places where your family typically relaxes together.


Manage your curtains


At Amicus Green Building Center in Kensington, Md., owner Jason Holstine advises customers to open the curtains on south- and west-facing windows by day to absorb heat from the sun, then close them again at nightfall to keep heat from escaping the house.


Reverse your fan


If you have a ceiling fan, Holstine suggests using the “warm” setting, where blades go counter-clockwise to push warm air down from the ceiling. Turn the fan off when no one is in the room.


Humidify


Running a humidifier can make your house feel warmer, says Holstine, and restore much-needed moisture to the air, a big help to your skin and furniture.


Target your heat


Invest in a space heater to target heat in areas like the bathroom or home office, says Judy Woodward Bates, who runs the site www.bargainomics.com. Make sure it’s at least 3 feet away from furniture, walls and other items, and turn it off when you leave the room.


Bundle up feet


Bates lives in Alabama, which has experienced an especially cold winter this year. She swears by house shoes and slippers, since it’s impossible to feel warm when your feet are cold. Wear thick socks around the house, and get some slippers or house shoes to add extra layers between your feet and cold floors.


Clear the vents


Is your furniture blocking the heat coming out of your air vents? While warm air does rise, reconfiguring your furniture can help it heat the room more directly.


Dodge drafts


Is cold air seeping in from under the door? Use rolled-up towels or hand-sewn “draft dodgers” to block cold air.


GateHouse News Service


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Did you know?


- The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 68 degrees during winter days, and turning it down at night. You can cut your heating and cooling bills by 10 percent a year by simply turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day.


- Hot water bottles were a favorite way to stay warm before the 20th century but have seen new popularity in Japan, and among some thrifty, energy-conscious Americans.