- Rearrange your furniture. Check to make sure your sofa or dresser isn't blocking a heat source. If it is, move it. Who says things have to be flat against the wall all the time?
- Wear layers. That ugly old sweater Great Aunt Mildred knitted for you? You might not want to wear it to the office, but it's perfect for wearing in the family room. And who cares if long underwear is ugly? It's also warm. Tell your kids that being cold is not cool.
- Seal up drafty windows and doors. A tube of caulk costs about $3 at most home improvement stores; invest in a few and use them to stop up the gaps along your window sills. Install weather stripping to block drafts along your exterior doors.
- Check your electrical outlets. Electrical outlets are basically holes in your walls with wires poking through and plenty of space for cold air to seep in from outside. Don't seal them with caulk, though; pick up a package of fire-retardant foam outlet sealers at the hardware store and slip them behind the face plates.
- Don't be afraid to use plastic. Warm air hits cold glass and creates a "ghost draft" that wafts through the room; covering the windows with sheets of transparent plastic creates a pocket of air that acts as a buffer between the cold glass and the warm room.
- Heat only part of the house. Why heat the rooms you're rarely in? Cover or close air vents, turn up the fins on baseboard heaters, or turn down the radiators in the rooms you use the least.
- Bulk up in the bedroom An extra comforter can make a huge difference on a chilly night. You don't have to pay top dollar for a luxurious eiderdown -- even inexpensive fleece blankets will make things cozier when you turn the heat way down. And who says footie pajamas are just for kids? (So what if they're not sexy? Cold feet aren't sexy either.)
- Don't fire up the fireplace. It seems counter-intuitive -- that cozy fire is making the house nice and toasty, right? Wrong. An open fireplace actually ends up sucking warm air out of the room and up the chimney. If you can't resist the glow, invest in a set of glass fireplace doors or use a wood stove for extra warmth instead.
- Do turn on the fans. Also counter-intuitive -- aren't fans are for cooling off, not heating up? Well... heat rises, and the air above your head really doesn't need to be toastier than your toes. Use your ceiling fans to help push that warm air back down to the parts of the room that really need it. If you have a wood stove, you can position fans in the doorways to help direct the warm air to adjacent rooms.
- Throw one on. Use the throw that's been on the back of the couch for years. Or invest in a few new ones. Or, even better, get crafty and have the kids make their own (no sewing involved!).
The weather outside is getting frightful -- but your heating bill is not so delightful. Fuel prices may have dropped, but winter heating can still cost you a pretty penny. Here are 10 ways to lower your heating bill right now: