cheapest ways to heat a room

The 21 Cheapest Ways to Heat a Room

Here are the 21 cheapest ways to heat a room.

Let’s face it. As long as you don’t implement strategies to save energy, you are wasting money.

If you prefer to save hundreds of dollars every year, you are in the right place. And it’s simple! Saving energy is a lot easier than you think. So, don’t worry, be ready!

In this article, I’m going to show you the 21 cheapest ways to heat a room. Some of them involve heating the room, other ways are about keeping yourself warm. You’ll also learn a few smart tricks to save money or get cash back.

Here are the cheapest and most efficient ways to heat a room.

Cheapest ways to heat a room

1. Use an energy-efficient space heater

By using a space heater, you heat just the room you’re in. And nothing else. You can, therefore, lower the temperature of your central heating and carry the space heater with you everywhere you go.

Alternatively, you can also go and buy one space heater for each room you frequently visit in your house. This way you won’t have to carry one heater around with you all the time.

Contrary to what most people think, space heaters are not that expensive to operate. Yes, they increase your electricity bill. However, they also lower your utility bills. The heat you produce doesn’t have to be produced by your central heating anymore.

It’s like shifting the expenses from one bill to another. In total, your costs won’t increase but decrease.

This way, using an energy-efficient space heater is one of the cheapest ways to heat a room. For quick heating, I suggest using an infrared heater. Infrared heaters provide instant heat and are 40% more efficient than other types of heaters.

The reason is that infrared heaters are able to focus the heat in one direction instead of distributing it everywhere.

For longer heating periods, oil-filled heaters are the best choice, because they are able to heat larger rooms more evenly.

Just make sure the heater you buy comes with various safety features like overheat protection and an automatic shut-off timer. Generally, the more safety features it has, the better.

infrared heaters are one of the cheapest ways to heat a room
Place an infrared heater right next to you. It will save you a lot of energy.

2. Buy a smart thermostat

A smart programmable thermostat controls the temperature in your home in a very energy-efficient way.

It decreases the temperature when you’re not at home and starts heating again when you come back. This way it heats only when it’s really necessary.

You can program a smart thermostat freely:
For example, you can automatically lower the temperature at night, then turn it off when you go to work in the morning and then preheat your house for a cozy movie night right before you come home.

Sounds good? Yes!

A smart thermostat saves you money in the long run. Here’s how much.

According to ecobee, a popular thermostat company, a smart thermostat can save you up to 23% on utility bills.

“ecobee customers in the US saved up to 23% on their heating and cooling costs, based on an internal analysis conducted on October 2, 2013.”

ecobee savings report

In an average American home, a smart thermostat would save around $150 per year. What an investment!

3. Pay your utility bills with credit cards

This one is not possible with all credit card companies, but some allow it. Some credit cards give you a cashback bonus when you pay with them. Therefore using them as much as possible can benefit you.

But even if you don’t get a cashback, you can save money by paying with credit cards.

Paying bills on time with your credit card helps you with your credit score. This, in turn, will save you money in the long run by increasing your trustworthiness with banks.

“It’s important to make sure there’s enough credit available on your bill-paying credit card to cover all the new transactions.”

LaToya Irby – Credit expert

Of course, you shouldn’t go into debt with them. This would harm your credit score. And the interest rates would cost you even more money.

paying bills with credit cards gives you cashback which is a cheap way to heat a room

4. Make use of budget billing

Your utility company averages your previous year’s payments to predict your future energy usage. This way they can charge you the same fee each and every month. By using budget billing, your utility bills get very predictable.

Budget billing improves your ability to plan your budget.

“Utility budget-billing plans might be a good idea for homeowners and renters who want a little more predictability in their monthly payments.”

practicalmoneyskills.com

But not only that: Budget billing is like shifting your winter expenses to summer. This way you actually make use of inflation.

If we assume constant energy rates and no budget billing fees, this would effectively save you money because the bill decreases due to inflation.

Following the laws of inflation, a bill that you pay in the future becomes less and less expensive.

What I like most about budget billing is that you know your expenses upfront. So, you can plan to save and invest money regularly and get a good return on your investment.

5. Insulate your attic

Your attic is your home’s biggest heat sink. Especially when you don’t insulate it properly, it’s becoming a significant money pit.

Because warm air rises while cool air stays on the ground, heat will leak through uninsulated attics.

Luckily you can do the insulation yourself. Even though you have to invest some money in insulation materials, you will make your money back within a short time.

Similar to other investments in this article, you pay once but benefit for a lifetime. Insulation is one of the cheapest ways to keep heat in a room.

Here’s a simple and helpful video that shows you how to insulate your attic as a weekend project.

It’s pretty simple: All you need is fiberglass insulation and a few tools you already have at home.

6. Add a carpet to your room

The laws of physics force cold air to accumulate on the floor. Which leaves your feet cold all the time. Because you want to save money on heating, you can’t afford to blast heat into your room until your floor gets hot as well.

Even in a sauna, the floor is comparably cool.

That’s why you should add a carpet. It will help a lot with feeling warm and comfortable in your room without actually increasing the temperature.

Instead of having your feet touch the cold, bare floor, a carpet will insulate your floor and keep your feet warm.

Having a carpet in your room also limits the amount of air that cools down on the floor. This way, your room will stay warm for longer.

A carpet is a simple and easy-to-install insulation.

7. Wear Slippers

In my opinion, everyone should wear slippers. They just help SO much with keeping your feet warm. Especially for people with lower blood pressure who have cold feet and hands all the time, slippers are a must-have product.

They separate and insulate your feet from the cold floor.

Additionally, slippers that cover the top of your feet create a warm air pocket, similar to how bedsheets work when you are sleeping at night.

Even though you don’t actively heat your bed, the sheets keep you warm.

Similarly, even though your slippers don’t produce any heat, they keep your feet warm. Which will make you feel warmer overall.

The warm air is produced by your body temperature. Slippers simply prevent the warm air from escaping.

wear slippers to save money on heating bill

8. Wear warm clothing

Another point you shouldn’t underestimate is warm clothing. Just by wearing warmer clothes, you can significantly cut your energy cost. Warm clothing is probably the cheapest way to heat and stay warm in a house.

Why?

  • First, you don’t need an active energy source. You don’t need access to electricity or fuel to keep warm. And additionally, clothes cover 90% of your body, which makes them very effective.
  • Secondly, you don’t need to buy anything new. You already have all the clothes you need at home.

To stay warm, all you need to do is to put on another layer of clothes at home. I like to wear a thin cotton jacket at home.

“Don’t shed that sweater when you get home. Instead, wear warm clothing inside and turn your thermostat down.”

money.com

According to the California Energy Commission’s Consumer Energy Center, you can save up to 5% on heating costs if you drop the thermostat by just one degree. Accordingly, dropping it by 3 degrees will save you 15% every month. With warm clothes, that’s no problem at all.

Wearing warm clothes makes dropping the thermostat easy. You won’t even feel the difference.

9. Install solar panels

Installing solar panels on your roof is beneficial in many aspects. Let’s not look at the environmental advantages, but on how you can save heating costs with them

First off, you can save lots of money if you tax deduct your solar panels. Additionally, there are other government-supported options, especially for solar panels.

“You can save 30% on your solar installation with the federal investment tax credit (ITC)”

energysage.com

It’s like the government supports your utility bill expenses. Which opens another range of possibilities for you. I’m sure there are even more tax deductions you can make. For example, when you’re selling the electricity you produce.

As long as you use the energy for yourself, using solar panels decreases your dependency on the electric grid. It reduces the amount you need to draw from the electric grid. Also, you can store excess energy in solar batteries and use it to power your home at night.

However, solar panels are only effective if you live in a state with lots of sunshine – if you do, definitely consider installing some.

My parents once gave me a helpful tip to quickly find out whether you should install solar panels or not:

“As long as your solar panel seller doesn’t have panels on his own roof, it’s not worth installing them.”

my parents

10. Install a hot water storage tank on your roof

When I visited France once, each and every single building had its own hot water storage tank on its roof.

That’s a big water tank that is heated by the sun. Which is especially worth it in warm states with lots of sunshine.

It’s a method to produce energy that relies on temperature instead of the intensity of sun rays. Because of that, hot water storage tanks produce water even on cloudy days as long as it’s hot outside.

Even though this might cut your heating bill a little, it will not be too significant, because most of the energy is produced in mid-summer, where you don’t need much heat anyway.

That’s why hot water storage tanks are only worth it on special occasions.

11. Heat only rooms you use

This one is especially important. So important that you should always do it: Heat only the rooms you use.

The reason is that if you have a 5 room apartment and you spend your time in just one of the rooms while heating everywhere, you waste 80% of the energy.

Accordingly, if you only heat the rooms you use, you could save 80% of the energy. And it’s so simple: All you have to do is turn on the heater when you enter a room and turn it off (or low) when you leave the room.

Therefore, one of the cheapest ways to heat a house is to NOT heat the house, but just the room you’re in.

You can implement this simple strategy using a regular space heater:

Keep your house at mild temperatures using your central heating. Meanwhile, carry a space heater with you everywhere. Whenever you enter a room, turn the space heater on and let it heat.

This way you only produce heat where you need it to be. Space heaters produce focused heat that is very efficient in small spaces.

If you use your central heating unit, it first has to heat a big oil-tank before you can send that heat to just one room. It sounds like a waste of energy to me.

12. Use an electric blanket

You can heat even cheaper than using space heaters. By using an electric blanket.

Electric blankets are like regular blankets, warm and cozy. But they have built-in heating elements that produce additional heat.

If you use an electric blanket, you don’t heat your whole house, you don’t even heat your room. You heat just yourself, which is very effective because it’s such a small space. Generally speaking, the smaller the size of the space you heat, the cheaper you heat.

An electric blanket is so effective because it heats only the air that’s trapped between your body and the blanket. Compare that to the amount of air to heat in your room and you see, why an electric blanket is so efficient.

Because it produces heat for such a small space, an electric blanket needs very little power. In contrast to using a space heater, which needs about 1500W to operate, an electric blanket keeps you warm with just 100W to 150W.

That’s just a tenth of the energy and therefore a significant energy-saving method.

electric blankets are very cheap to run

13. Use a gas heater

In rooms without any electricity, gas heaters are a must-have because they can produce a lot of heat in very short times.

Gas heaters are generally great for garages and laundry rooms where you have no access to electricity or your outlets are already occupied.

The best thing about gas heaters is that you don’t rely on your central heating to produce the heat, which is often a very slow process.

Instead, you can fire a gas heater up quickly and it will produce heat immediately.

What I like most about them is that once you hook them up the gas tank, they seem to last forever.

“A standard 20lb. propane cylinder will last for up to 10 hours in an outdoor gas heater.”

northlineexpress.com

The cost of running a propane heater is about $1.60 per hour – this might sound like a lot at first, but if you remember that you don’t need to run it continuously, and switch it on and off when you need it, it can be worth it.

Like other space heaters, propane heaters are best to heat single rooms and provide heat quickly.

14. Wear a hat

A warm winter hat can save you money and reduce your needs for heating. But how?

“If you don’t have a hat on, you lose heat through your head, just as you would lose heat through your legs if you were wearing shorts.”

Susan Davis

Wearing a hat gives you the ultimate benefit of saving energy yourself. By keeping yourself warm you don’t feel cold and don’t need to heat anymore.

During wintertime, a warm winter hat is a great investment. You probably have one lying around anyways. You can even wear them to sleep to save additional money at night.

During the warmer seasons in spring, a regular cap will do the job as well.

However, wearing a hat indoors is socially awkward, so you should only do it when there are no guests at your house.

It’s best to discuss wearing a hat at home with your spouse. Just to avoid unnecessary arguments later on.

15. Install a wood stove

Wood stoves produce heat without any significant expenses. If you know how you can keep your whole house heated for a few bucks. But it takes time and effort.

If you like chopping wood and you think you need to spend more time outdoors anyway, why not install a wood stove to heat your home for cheap?

It can make a great manly hobby! And your whole family will thank you for the heat you provide.

Wood stoves also make a beautiful atmosphere together with the calm crackling noise of the fire. Are you ready for a few romantic evenings with your spouse?

The price range of a wood stove is very broad. You can get them from as low as $100 up to $5,000 depending on what you want.

I’m sure you find something that suits your needs. You just need a little spare money.

Chopping wood is a great hobby. It saves you money. It provides heat twice (while chopping and while heating). Also, it’s good for educating kids to help you and appreciate the effort behind heating a house.

All you need is access to wood.

16. Leave doors closed

Always leave doors closed. This one might be obvious when you read about it, but I always see people missing to close the door behind themselves.

When you spend time in a room with an open door, you often feel a cold stream of air at your feet, because cold air comes in from outside.

It’s so simple to avoid this money trap: Just close the door whenever you enter a room.

It also reduces the area that needs to be heated. With an open door, you’re effectively heating multiple rooms at once. Remember our important rule: Always heat just the room you are in.

If you leave your doors closed, you can also produce more heat in a shorter time.

the area you have to heat decreases when you close the door

17. Install black window curtains

Black window curtains can produce heat for free! Just install them on a window that faces the sun.

When sun rays hit the black curtains, they heat up slightly (remember: black color attracts heat). Because your curtains are indoors, the heat cannot escape anymore. Your window reflects it.

Therefore, black curtains installed behind a window trap the heat. It’s very similar to how a greenhouse works.

Even though this will give you results, you can’t really measure the amount of energy it saves you.

That’s why I suggest black window curtains only if you already heat your room for cheap and you want to optimize the last few percent.

18. Wash your hands with cold water

Whenever you get cold hands or feel cold overall, wash your hands with ice-cold water. This will force a counterreaction:

Because your body wants to keep your body temperature stable, it wants to counteract the heat loss at your hands. Therefore, your body warms up, your blood flow improves and you feel warmer overall.

Of course, it feels awful while you are holding your hands under cold water. But after a few minutes, your hands will warm up again and you feel better.

Additionally, using cold water doesn’t require any heating expenses, because it’s cold. It’s like you produce heat from nothing.

19. Do jumping jacks regularly

If you spend a lot of time at your desk working, studying, reading or something similar that does not involve any movements, you often start feeling overly cold because your heart activity decreases.

To boost yourself, get up and do 30 jumping jacks whenever you feel cold.

Personally, I love to do it whenever I feel like my hands and feet are getting cold. It’s also great for supporting your brain activity.

Whenever you have to do concentrated work, jumping jacks are beneficial in two ways. They keep you warm and they reactivate your brain.

By doing jumping jacks, you avoid turning up your heater more and more.

20. Go outdoors

A walk outside is relieving. Especially when it is cold outside, going outdoors is a great idea. When you have a walk in the cold, your body adapts to the cool temperatures and produces more heat. That’s why you feel so comfortably warm when you enter your home again!

Even if going outdoors when you feel cold seems counterintuitive, it’s not! It increases your bodies’ resistance to the cold and helps you stay warm without using the heater.

On top of that, a walk is healthy and relaxing. You should be doing it more anyways (me too)!

21. Use a hot water bottle

Finally, here’s another useful and effective way to cheaply heat in a room!

Running a kettle to boil your water costs next to nothing. It costs only 1 or 2 cents to heat the water to fill a hot water bottle that can keep you warm for 30 minutes to 2 hours (source).

In big rooms, a water bottle will stay hot for 30 minutes, wheres in your bed it will provide you with heat for up to 2 hours.

How water bottles are an incredibly cheap way to heat your room. You focus the heat just on yourself (similar to electric blankets). Absolutely no energy is wasted to heat the air in the room you are in.

Even if you boil 10 hot water bottles to stay warm throughout the evening (5 hours), that’s only 20 cents of heating costs.

In contrast, a regular heater would cost about $0.40 to $1.50 to heat for the same time.

Also, hot water bottles are cheap (compared to a wood stove or solar panels)! It costs around $10 to become a proud hot water bottle-owner. That’s a very small amount for so much value!

hot water bottle to replace leaving an oil heater on all night

Conclusion – The 21 Cheapest Ways to Heat a Room

Most of the cheapest ways to heat a room I gave you in this article involve heating just what’s necessary. Heat only the room you’re in. Be as efficient as possible.

This way you can save hundreds of dollars each year. That’s money you can freely spend elsewhere.

Also, you can reduce the need for heat by staying active: Jumping jacks or having a walk outdoors will increase your body temperature. If you do these things you stop freezing and you don’t need to turn up the thermostat.

Even if you pick only 1 or 2 of these tips, you will make a significant impact on your heating bill! So, chose one of these cheapest ways that you like to implement to heat your room and start saving money!

My personal favorite cheapest way to heat a room is by using a space heater.

About the Author

Daniel Hirsch

Daniel is an electrical engineer, blogger, and author. He studied electrical engineering and information technology and decided to blog about heaters after working in the temperature sensing industry.