- Use curtains or window shades -- open them when it's sunny so you can get solar gain, close them when the sun goes down or during extremely cold spells to add an extra layer of insulation between you and the frigid air outside -- need a quick, inexpensive fix? Try a pvc/plastic shower curtain liner! It can also help to put curtains on a tension rod on doors leading to the outside.
- Close closet doors to keep more of the heat in the room.
- Wear layers - a fleece vest, sweater, or extra pair of warm socks can keep your body warmer, which is easier than keeping a whole room or house warmer.
- Allow air to circulate around baseboards and radiators -- make sure you aren't blocking all that heat by having a sofa or comfy armchair or bunch of stuff between the heat and the rest of the room and you.
- Keep your baseboards and radiators clean -- dusting and vacuuming regularly helps the heat move more easily.
- Be quick about entering or leaving your house -- and make sure you have all your things so you don't have to go back multiple times -- every time you open the door, you've made a 21 square-foot hole in the wall!
- Be heat smart -- if you want heat, raise the setting on the thermostat slowly and stop when you hear your furnace start -- sometimes a little blast of warmth is all you need.
- It's never too late to find out if there are air-leaks that can be fixed with a small investment -- adding foam insulation, caulking cracks, and well-placed insulation can add up over time to more heat and a smaller fuel bill, too.
- Using low-flow shower heads and installing programmable thermostats can also help you save on fuel and funds.
- Install a door sweep -- or make a door 'snake' -- to keep air from escaping under the sill (DIY: sew a long thin cloth tube of scrap fabric, fill it with dried rice, beans, or sand -- something heavy enough to keep it in place). It's amazing how even a small draft can make a room a lot colder, so if you can cut that bit of air out it immediately makes a difference.
- Keep blankets and lap rugs handy and use them. When we sit, our circulation slows down. Keeping a throw blanket over your lap while you're knitting or watching TV can improve your comfort levels without turning up the thermostat.
- Watch your thermostat, and put it down at night or when you leave the house -- some studies show turning your thermostat down by 1° could cut your heating bill by as much as 5%.
Here are a couple tips that might keep your pipes from freezing: