How to stay warm on a budget and beat the cold weather

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 4:53 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - As cold air moves in and wind chills drop below zero, your home may work harder to stay warm and cozy.

Here are a few tips on how to stay warm, safe, and on a budget this winter.

Check your thermostat. One important step is to set your thermostat slightly lower than normal. For example, 68 degrees is warm enough to protect your home’s water pipes but cool enough to potentially make a difference in your bills.

Stay up to date on winter weather by downloading the WRDW Weather App on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Lighten up. Open the curtains on the sunny side of your house during the day, and the radiant heat will help warm your home. Close them before sunset to trap the heat indoors and shut out the nighttime chill. This is also a great time to break out sweaters and blankets to make sure you stay comfortable.

Limit laundry and household chores. Limit running large appliances during extreme weather if you can, to cut down on energy use. If you must do laundry or wash dishes, try to run complete loads, which saves hot water. You can also set your dishwasher to an air-dry setting or open the door when the cycle ends to let dishes air-dry naturally.


Seal gaps. Gaps around windows and doors are the most common places for air to find its way inside.

Add weatherstripping. If you have gaps in doors and windows, consider purchasing weatherstripping.

Turn off the bathroom fan. An exhaust fan is nice for pulling out steam from a shower in summer, but it also pulls warm air out of the room in winter. Use it only when needed and don’t leave it running when you leave the room. Better idea? If possible, leave the door open when you shower.

Use a space heater. You can save money by lowering the thermostat in your house every day and using a space heater to heat only the rooms you use most.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration also issued some tips earlier this year to stay warm and safe:

Take steps to keep the heat in your house:

  • Close blinds or curtains to help your house stay warm.
  • Close off unused rooms to avoid wasting heat and stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
  • If you are using a portable heater, be sure to plug only one heat-producing appliance in an outlet at a time and keep anything that can burn at least three feet from any heat source (like a fireplace or radiator).
  • Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
  • If your power is out during extreme winter weather, there may be warming centers near you.

Keep your body warm:

  • Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater.
  • Eat regularly, as food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
  • Drink liquids such as warm broth or juice. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • If you are experiencing numbness, memory loss, drowsiness, or gray-yellow, firm, or waxy skin, it’s possible you are experiencing either frostbite or hypothermia and you should go inside and into a w