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5 Money-Saving Ways to Warm Up the House

On average, nearly half of household energy expenses go toward heating and cooling. Here, ways to keep warm without cranking the thermostat

SWITCH UP YOUR FAN

Reverse the direction of any ceiling fans (in most cases, that’s from counterclockwise to clockwise). This creates a mild updraft that pushes warm air down. Most change direction via a switch on the housing that’s easily accessed when the fan’s off.

BE DRAPE SMART

Except in bedrooms, curtains are often always open—or always closed. In winter, take advantage of solar heat gain by opening drapes, especially on south-facing windows, in the morning. Come sundown, close them to reduce heat loss by up to 10 percent. By creating a warmer surface between you and window glass—even double panes get chilly—drapes also improve the mean radiant (a.k.a. “feels like”) temperature.

SWAP FURNACE FILTERS

Dirty filters impede air flow, making a furnace use up to 15 percent more energy. Even if you have a high-efficiency filter meant to be changed every three to six months, check it monthly in winter; if it’s dirty, dark, or clogged, swap in a new one.

BRING THE HEAT TO YOU

Using an electric space heater alone can be an efficient way to heat a small space. But for supplemental heat, it’s more cost-effective (and just as warming) to curl up with an electric blanket or a heating pad.

COVER FLOORS

Add a thick area rug with a beefy pad—these can block heat loss up to 10 percent better than wood alone. And since the fibers trap air, your feet will feel significantly warmer.

thanks to David Tabata, consumer programs manager, American Electric Power Ohio. Curtis Tongue, co-founder and CMO, OhmConnect. Robert Daguillard, Environmental Protection Agency.