As Ohio and pretty much all of the United States that aren’t California endure some truly chilly temps, keeping warm is the name of the game. The first solution is obvious: juice up the thermostat. But do you really want to pay that extra high utility bill?

Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and layer up when the wind chill drops the mercury below zero degrees. Here are some ways you can keep warm during the most frigid temperatures without turning up the heat.

Warmer clothing

Layering up is a no-brainer when it comes to keeping warm. We are big fans of hoodies, sweatpants, and nice thick socks this time of year. And while the thought of a wool sweater might be enough to make some feel a little itchy, wool is one of the best materials to wear when it’s cold. Unlike cotton, wool traps heat, keeping you warm. It also helps wick away sweat, which keeps you dry and prevents you from overheating.

Open and close your blinds and/or curtains

During the day, keep your blinds and curtains open to let the sunshine in. It will help naturally heat your home. And when the sun sets, keep your blinds and curtains closed. Use nice heavy curtains too, because they can act as a shield that prevents cold air from coming in through your windows. If you still feel a draft, there’s no shame in weather-proofing your windows with plastic sheeting and tape. Duck brand All Weather Repair Tape is specifically designed for window insulation.

Use humidity to your advantage

Use a humidifier whenever possible. Humid air can actually feel warmer. It’s better for you too, because once that furnace kicks on it will dry out your sinuses while you sleep. Anyone who is prone to sinus infections should run a humidifier all night in the bedroom. And don’t run the bathroom fan after you shower. Let that humidity keep you warm while you dry off, then seep into the house for a little extra help.

Run ceiling fans in reverse

Be selective about this one. You probably don’t want to have the fan over your bed blowing air on you all night. However, if you have a ceiling fan upstairs, try running it in reverse to blow the warm air back down.

All. The. Blankets.

Load the blankets on your bed, use a down comforter, and switch to flannel sheets if you have them. Keep a few extra throw blankets around the living room on chairs and couches so you can snuggle up when you’re sitting down and relaxing.

Warm food and warm drink

We are absolute soup freaks this time of year. When you make soup, make double the recipe so you can freeze some in freezer-proof containers to reheat later for a hot meal in a jiffy. If you’re not a cook, some local suggestions for ready-to-go soups include Bruno Bros., Belleria, Panera, Aladdin’s and Rulli Bros. Heat them up on the stove or nuke them. If you do feel like whipping a batch of soup up on your own, this recipe for Potato Corn chowder is a favorite.

Potato Corn Chowder

  • ½ pound bacon
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 5 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can (15 oz.) creamed corn
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional or to taste
  • 1 (2.5 ounce) package country style gravy mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cubed Velveeta
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In large saucepan, fry bacon until crisp. Set bacon aside to drain, reserve about two tablespoons of fat in the pot. Add celery, onion, carrots and garlic; cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Add potatoes; simmer over medium-low heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in corn and chiles; return to a boil. Dissolve gravy mix in milk; stir into boiling mixture. Add cheese; cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Season to taste. Serve with crumbled bacon on top.