Winter months mean low temperatures and high energy bills! Sometimes, even with the heat at full blast, our homes can be chilly and drafty. Here are some tips to keep your home warm and cozy inside when it’s cold and blustery outside (and hopefully save you a few bucks on your bills!):

1. Go Don Drape-r on your windows!

The windows in your home are great for letting light in, but not so great with keeping the heat in. Even the best windows have to let some air in and out at the seams. Otherwise, they would break. A great way to keep in that expensive heat is to invest in some thick drapes. Keep them open during the day to let natural light warm up your home, and close them at night to keep that precious heat from escaping easily. If new drapes aren’t in the budget, tack up some spare blankets at sunset on those especially drafty windows or doors.

2. Shut it!

If you have rooms in your home that are not being used regularly, shut the door. Keeping doors closed prevents cold air from moving around the house easily and can keep the areas that you’re using warmer. In turn, don’t be afraid to shut yourself IN at night! Your bedroom will stay warmer with the door shut. Even the radiant heat generated from your body will be more contained in a smaller space and not wasted traveling around the house. If you have a ceiling fan, be sure to reverse it for the winter months, and turn it on low. This will keep the rising heat from being trapped in the ceiling and will circulate it back down to you.

3. It’s Flue Season.

If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, you undoubtedly love using it in the evenings when it’s frigid. But, while you are warm and toasty next to a crackling fire sipping your Merlot, the fireplace is drawing cold air through the rest of your house, up and out your chimney. In fact, a roaring fire can pull 20,000 cubic feet of your warm air out of your home per hour. So, use your fireplace sparingly and be sure to close the flue when it is not in use. An open flue in the wintertime can let out as much warm air as a wide-open 48 inch window. Spreading and lighting some candles around the house is a great way to generate heat and achieve that romantic glow without the need of opening a flue.

4. Can I Vent About Something?

You may have inadvertently covered your vents with furniture or rugs, or may have even closed them. If your home has a heating system which pushes air through vents, go around your house and make sure they are open and clear of obstacles. If your bathroom has venting fans installed in the ceiling, use them sparingly. Vent fans draw warm air up and out of your house replacing it with cold air from the outside. Make sure they are turned off when not in use. If your home has radiant heat, put some sheets of kitchen tin foil behind them. This will reflect the heat out toward you instead of just letting it rise to the ceiling.

5. Get Baked!

Now that I have your attention… using your oven in the winter serves dual purpose! Avoiding your oven in the summer is the exact reason you should use it more in the winter. It heats up the whole house! So, start making your casseroles, roasting your chickens and baking your cakes. Not only is cooking at home much less expensive than eating out, the energy generated from your oven feeds your family and warms your home!

Please note: This tip does not apply to my dear friend, Robert, who uses his oven as liquor storage. Robert, you should probably just eat out.