12 In-a-Pinch Heating Hacks

A couple people sitting in front of a fireplace with candles and cups of hot chocolate.

Sometimes you just don't want to turn on the heater and rack up the energy bill—or maybe you want to just give your house an extra edge on fighting against the cold. With winter weather on the horizon, arm yourself with these clever hacks that will help heat you home so you're not caught in the cold.

1. Put the Fan in Reverse

A lot of people assume that keeping their ceiling fan on in the winter will make their home cooler, but that’s not necessarily true. If you turn your ceiling fan on low and spin it clockwise (or in reverse), this will help bring the warm air that’s trapped along your ceiling back down to ground level.

2. Lay Down Carpets and Area Rugs

Hardwood might look beautiful, but it’s cold to walk on once the temperature drops. Adding carpets or area rugs to your home will help keep your house a lot warmer in the winter months, since nearly 10 percent of a home’s heat is often lost through wooden floors that aren’t properly insulated. Even if you just lay down cushy carpets for the season, you’ll help keep heat inside where you want it, when you need it.

3. Snuggle Up With Your Loved Ones

A woman wearing a sweater and holding an orange cat.

Cuddle up to your loved ones while watching beloved winter holiday movies, and take advantage of their body heat. Pets make excellent heat warmers, too!

4. Install Weatherstripping

If any of your doors or windows have holes, cracks, or any other space where a draft comes in, it also means hot air can get out. Caulk or fill in these spaces and add weatherstripping around your doors.

5. Wear Layers

If you find your house comfortable enough to wear a t-shirt when it’s freezing outside, your thermostat is turned up way too high. You shouldn’t have to shed multiple layers every time you walk indoors. Save energy by wearing more layers, like thick wool socks and heavy knit sweaters. Keep a pair of slippers nearby for when you take off your boots.

6. Reflect Heat With Foil

Aluminum foil being installed.

A bit of aluminum foil can go a long way when it comes to heating your home in a pinch. Add sheets of aluminum foil behind space heaters, heating vents, and radiators to reflect heat back into the house.

7. Use Draft Stoppers in Front of Doors

One way to stop hot air from escaping and cold air from seeping in under doors is to use a draft stopper. These are also known as door snakes, and are basically long tubes of fabric filled with dried beans or rice. If you don’t want to make your own draft stopper, you can use either a rolled up blanket or towel and lay it down along the bottom of your door to physically keep cold air out.

8. Keep Doors Shut

Do your best to keep all outside doors shut rather than going in and out. Every time you open a door to the outside, you’re letting a ton of hot air out and cold air in. You should also keep the doors between rooms shut, too. It’s easier to warm up smaller rooms individually rather than a bunch of rooms all at once.

9. Burn Candles for Warmth

A collection of lit candles in a fireplace.

Candles of all shapes and sizes will do their part to warm your home. Even the tiniest tealight candle will give off some heat, and if spread out around the room, they will do wonders to provide extra heating. Just remember to blow out any candles before going to bed or leaving the house.

10. Wrap Windows in Plastic

Another way to help heat your home this winter is to cover your windows in plastic to create an extra layer of insulation between the window and the outside. It also stops hot air from getting out and cold air from getting in. You can buy plastic window insulator kits or if you’re really in a pinch, just tape up any type of plastic, like a plastic garbage bag or bubble wrap, to your windows. It may not look as nice, but it will do the trick.

11. Open and Close Curtains With the Sun

Keep your curtains wide open while the sun is out and shining, letting in as much natural heat as possible. Once the sun starts to set, close them to prevent heat from escaping into the cool night. Even better, look for insulated curtains to hang up during the winter.

12. Use the Oven to Cook Warm Food

While cooking indoors during the summer months can leave you sweltering hot and incredibly uncomfortable, it does an excellent job of warming up the house in the winter. Eating comfort foods like casseroles and warm pies not only warms your belly, but also warms your home as you cook them.