Summer has passed, the leaves are changing color, and it’s time to start thinking about keeping your house warm for the winter. You’ve removed the air conditioners and stored them away; you’ve called the oil company for a service check to make sure your heater is ready. So, you’re all set, right?
Maybe not. The truth is, there are several additional things you can do to make sure your home is as energy-efficient as possible this winter. Heat lost to drafty windows, doors, and poorly insulated walls will end up costing you both in terms of money and your comfort.
Try the helpful tips listed below to ensure your home is warm and cozy this winter.
Curtains and drapes can make a big difference on those days when the winter wind is howling. By providing an extra bit of insulation, drapes can help keep your house comfortable and cozy on those long winter nights. Open them during the day to take advantage of the sun’s warmth, and then close them when the sun goes down to keep heat trapped in your home.
Use A Programmable Thermostat
Another way to lower your heating bill and reduce heat-loss is to install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to set different temperature settings for different times of the day. Why heat the house while you’re at work, after all? Programmable thermostats do more than save you money, though–they can actually provide health benefits. According to studies, lowering the temperature of your home while you sleep increases the body’s metabolism.
Consider New Shutters
Window shutters can help your house retain heat. Does your home have shutters? If so, are they old, and likely in need of replacing? Replacing old shutters is a great way to increase the energy-efficiency of your home. Unlike the other suggestions on this list, though, it is not recommended that you try to install shutters on your own. In fact, Charlie Jones from Shuttercraft.co.uk recommends that you use a professional installation service when getting new shutters for your windows. Properly installed shutters can reduce the amount of heat lost through your windows by up to fifty percent! Conversely, shutters that are installed incorrectly will likely prove ineffective and energy-inefficient.
Use Window Shrink
Available for purchase at drug stores, hardware stores, and online, window shrink is an effective, inexpensive way to help insulate your home. Simply apply the clear plastic seals to your windows. Window shrink is easy to install, and in less than half an hour you could reduce the amount of heat escaping from your home by up to fifty percent!
Fireplaces And Ceiling Fans
Few things say warm and cozy quite like relaxing beside a roaring fire. If you aren’t using your fireplace in conjunction with your ceiling fans, though, you could be losing a great deal of heat to a “stack effect.” The “stack effect” refers to the phenomenon that heat always rises. When you heat your home, hot air rises and escapes through vents and porous areas of your ceiling. A great way to counter this effect is to set your ceiling fans to spin clockwise. Doing so will push the heat downward, helping to keep it in your home where it belongs. Be sure to try this handy trick to get the most out of your fireplace.
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Rearrange The Furniture
It may seem overly simplistic, but this often-overlooked tip can make a world of difference when heating your house. Take a look and see if any of the forced air vents in your home are blocked by furniture. Blocked heating vents will decrease the energy efficiency of your home. Also, furniture in front of a forced-air heating vent can be a fire hazard, so you’ll want to deal with that as soon as possible.
Use Your Oven
Winter is the perfect time of year to get back into baking. Your oven is a space-heater of sorts, and using it can help you to heat your home and to save energy. As an added benefit, the house will smell great as the kitchen radiates heat out into the rest of your home.
Insulate Water Pipes
Insulating the water pipes in your home will help to save energy by cutting the time it takes to heat up your water. Also, insulating your pipes will keep them from freezing and potentially bursting, which will save you money in repairs.
Insulate Your Home
Take a good look around your house. Chances are there are plenty of nooks and crannies through which heat is escaping. Is there space between the bottom of a door and the floor? Heat will be rushing out of that too. By taking preventative measures, you can save yourself money in lost energy. Use insulating tape around drafty doors and anywhere you believe heat may be escaping.
Check Your Heating System
All of the abovementioned tips can help you transform your home into an energy-efficient space, but they will avail you nothing if your heating system itself is inefficient. Be sure to keep up with regular inspections and maintenance of your heating system so you can be sure you aren’t losing energy before it even enters your home.
Use A Humidifier
Is there one room in your house that just seems to be a bit colder than the rest? A great trick for adding a bit of warmth to this area is to use a humidifier. The more moisture is present in the air, the warmer the room will feel. Everyone wants a warm, comfortable home during the long winter months. By following a few simple steps such as insulating your home and water pipes, sealing your windows, utilizing your oven and fireplace, and regularly maintaining your heating system, you can increase the energy-efficiency of your house, which will save you money and keep you comfortable. New interior or exterior shutters are another great way to save energy and reduce your heating bills.
Be sure to try the above mentioned suggestions to keep your house warm and cozy this winter!