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This time of year people tend to look for more…inventive ways to stay warm without cranking the heater.

While there’s a number of home improvement tips that can help you cut down on the heating bills (using ceiling fans, insulating the attic) they tend to represent a lot of upfront costs and can become a more time-consuming project than you may be able to handle right now.

 

So other than layering up at home and maybe springing for that weighted blanket you’ve been looking at, let us present you with an idea that might sound a little ridiculous—get some more books!

 Most of you bibliophiles out there are probably already interested, but let’s dive into it a little further. A lot of home heating issues tends to revolve around insulation—thin walls, unsealed joints, and the like—and how heat can escape through these areas. Generally, solving these problems involves pretty big home repairs, but in recent years people have been finding economic (and fun) ways to provide extra insulation along thin, exterior-facing walls to help prevent (or at least reduce) the escape of warm air.

 

In recent years, people have been turning to books to provide this sort of insulation. It breaks down like this—a lot of commercial and residential insulation products are made out of cellulose, a wood- or paper-based product used to fill empty spaces in a home to help slow down air coming in from the outside.

You might already see where this is going, but think about what else in your house is made out of paper: books!

 

Thrifty homeowners and concerned contractors have noticed that, when placed in large quantities along exterior walls in a home, books can actually have a similar effect to standard cellulose insulation in that they prevent cold air from entering a home in areas where it isn’t wanted. By placing your bookshelves along your exterior walls (any wall directly facing the outside of the home) and stacking them to the brim with books, you can actually provide a second layer of insulation to prevent cold air from getting in.

 

We can’t promise the temperature change would be as drastic as if you went ahead and filled your attic up with cellulose insulation, but there will be a marked effect on your overall comfort level—and your heating bill. So go ahead and stack those bookcases with all the stuff from the attic you’ve read a million times, all the stuff you plan to read, and even the few books you’re currently juggling through. Not only will it let you show off your book collection and spruce up the living room or the entryway, you’ll find yourself even more warm and cozy when you settle in.

(And when summer comes and you need to keep the cold air in, you’ll be glad you have all your old friends ready and waiting against the wall!)

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