Winter is cold. That part seems pretty obvious. But when it gets really cold, it’s tempting to turn up our thermostat to keep our home—and us—warm.

Turning up the thermostat, however, makes your furnace work more, increasing your gas bills. It might make you feel more comfortable, but is it worth the extra hit on your monthly household budget?

Luckily there are a few tricks you can try to keep warm before reaching for that thermostat:

1. Replace weatherstripping

If the weatherstripping around your doors is cracked or torn or the seal is no longer as tight as it once was, you might be letting in cold air. Tear off all of the weatherstripping around drafty doors, and replace it with new weatherstripping.

2. Fix caulking

If your windows have patchy caulking, they may be another culprit for heat draining drafts. Fix your caulking to create a leak proof seal.

4. Seal electrical boxes

Electrical outlets are some of the worst offenders for letting in cold air because they’re often not insulated properly during construction. An easy fix is to remove the cover, seal any cracks between the boxes and drywall with acrylic latex caulk, install a foam gasket, and replace the cover.

5. Plug holes

Any time pipes, cables, ductwork, or gas lines enter or exit your home, they do so through a hole in the wall. If these holes aren’t sealed properly, you may be letting in cold air. Seal any gaps with expanding foam.

6. Cover windows with plastic film

Some windows have a low R value, meaning they do very little to keep warm air in and cold air out in the winter. Installing plastic film is one way to make up for this. You can buy complete kits from most hardware stores, and they’re simple to install.

7. Open up your blinds

If you have windows that face the sun, open up your blinds and curtains during the day. This will allow sunlight in, helping to heat up your home. Be sure to keep any trees properly pruned to allow in the most efficient amount of sunlight. Don’t forget to close your window coverings at night to keep the heat inside.

8. Keep windows and doors locked

Keeping your windows and doors locked not only keeps your home more secure, it often creates a tighter seal to keep out cold air.

9. Put on a sweater

Putting on a sweater (pullover, hoodie, cardigan, or any other sweater) helps trap in body heat around your core. Because your vital organs are in your core, your body prioritizes body heat there. Keeping your core warm encourages your body to distribute warmth to the extremities.

10. Put on socks

Speaking of extremities, put on socks if you normally walk around barefoot at home. Make them wool socks or other thick socks for added warmth. Use slippers, too, to keep your feet extra toasty.

11. Use area rugs

If you have bare floors (tile, hardwood, laminate, linoleum), your floor can feel cold. Area rugs can provide an insulating layer between the cool floor and your feet.

12. Use blankets

If you’re hanging out on your couch watching a movie or reading a book, wrap yourself in a blanket or comforter to keep warm. At night, use an extra quilt on your bed to better trap body heat.

13. Consume warm drinks

Warm drinks such as cocoa, tea, or apple cider are great for keeping you warm. They taste great, too!

14. Use your oven

When you take your supper out of the oven, keep the oven door open to let the heat escape into your home. Just make sure the oven is turned off though, and be mindful of pets or small children being in the kitchen.

What’s your favourite way to keep warm at home in the winter? Let us know in the comments below.