Young woman wearing a red winter jacket with furry hood, holding her hands together on isolated background

If I told you there are some really sneaky ways you can cut the cost to heat your home that won’t require wearing a parka 24/7, would I have your attention? Well, get ready, because that’s exactly what I have for you today.

Young woman wearing a red winter jacket with furry hood, holding her hands together on isolated background

These easy tips could cut your heating bill by 20 percent or more, and none require more than 30 minutes of work. You will need to purchase a few inexpensive supplies, all of which are readily available online or at your local home improvement center. But don’t worry—you will quickly recoup those costs in lower heating bills.

Replace worn weatherstripping

Open an outside door and look at that piece of “plastic molding” or strip of foam rubber that runs across the top and down both sides of doors and all the way around windows—designed to seal the air gap once closed. Is it torn, shredded, missing or otherwise not doing its job? Replace as necessary wherever it is allowing small drafts.

Weatherstripping available online or at any home center comes with sticky-back adhesive which makes it a cinch to install. HERE is a 5-minute video that shows exactly how to do this. Easy!

Door thresholds

Look under your front door and any other outside doors. See any daylight? That’s where precious warmed air is being sucked out into the cold. You may be able to adjust the threshold to close this gap. Look for four or five screws that when loosened will allow you to adjust the threshold height.

If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace it in order to get rid of all daylight. Watch this really helpful video.

Electrical outlets

Identify every electrical outlet box in the exterior walls of your home. Take off the outlet covers to see if the air gaps behind are all filled with insulation. Whoops. There goes more warmed air! You can fill these gaps with acrylic latex caulk. But I wouldn’t bother with that mess.

Instead, you can buy ready-made rubber gaskets online. I’ve seen them in a two-pack for about $1.50 at my local home center. They’re easy to install and will help make your home airtight. Video.

Plug holes

While you were looking for outlets on exterior walls, did you see any holes? Look under the kitchen sink, for example. See where the pipes go through the wall? If those areas are hot sealed fully, they too are sucking warmed air out, and that’s costing you money.

You can seal these gaps with expanding foam that comes in an aerosol can at the home center. If you see an “escutcheon ring,” which is a trim piece that is up against the wall where the pipe goes through, pull that back to fill the area with foam. That ring is only decorative and doesn’t make it airtight.

Space heater

If your home is large and you’re occupying only parts of it at a time, invest in a good space heater so you can turn down the thermostat to an otherwise much-too-chilly level. To keep a small area of your home warm, take a look at a good infrared heater that uses very little electricity, using the wonder of infrared rays that heat surfaces, not the surrounding air.

Even a typical space heater that uses 1500 watts of electricity will cost about 28 cents per hour, based on rate of 13.11 cents per kilowatt-hour, the current U.S. average rate.

MORE: 11 Money Savers That Will Pay for Themselves Over and Again

Plastic film

Experts tell us that the surface of your windows accounts for 25 percent of the home’s heat loss. Simply covering the windows and patio doors with clear plastic film for this purpose can cut the loss significantly. Transparent film is inexpensive. It comes in sheets that you apply yourself using a regular hair dryer. If you follow the directions carefully, the film will be nearly invisible but extremely effective. Helpful video.

Fill the flue

If you have a typical wood burning fireplace, that chimney space is a big, nasty energy thief, whenever the fireplace is not in use. Get into the habit of closing that flue solidly between uses.

If you rarely use the fireplace, consider an inflatable chimney balloon. You can get one for about $50 and it can be reused. You just inflate it inside the chimney and it fills up the space. Deflate to use the fireplace. And if you ever forget and start a fire with it in place? It will automatically deflate. Check this video.

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Programmable thermostat

I’ve suggested this to you before, now I am pleading with you to get one of these amazing pieces of technology. Just program it to meet your comfort needs and then forget it. It will look after your heating costs in ways you wish you were so efficient. Programmable thermostats range from as low as $40 to this amazing piece of technology that allows you to control your home’s heat from your smartphone, wherever you might be.

Sealing your home as tightly as possible is the secret to cutting the cost to keep it warm. Do it now and you’ll get a big bonus come summer. It will cost less to keep it cool, too.


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