10 Ways to Keep Your Home
Warm During Winter
With that record-breaking cold snap we recently experienced, many homeowners are looking for ways to keep their homes warm and energy-efficient during winter time.
To best way to demonstrate the importance of energy efficiency in a home is to imagine all the heat generated within it represented in the form of floating dollar bills. Every gap in the seal separating the interior of your home from the outside is costing you money, meaning that every time you open a door or leave a draft unattended for another day, you’re wasting money.
So what can you do about it? Either find a way to heat your home for free (good luck!) or make your home more energy efficient. There are a number of tips and tricks that help keep your home warm during winter time, and this is far from an exhaustive list. What follows are 10 simple and affordable ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
Use These Tricks to Keep Your Home Warm During Winter
1) Mind the Blinds (and Curtains). Your blinds and curtains provide aesthetic value and privacy, but they can also help keep your home warm during winter. During the day, it may be a good idea to keep your blinds open, but after sunset or on cloudy days, make sure to close the drapes/blinds; heat generated within your home will take longer to dissipate if you limit the number of cold surfaces it comes into contact with. This little trick is far from an end-all solution, but your wallet will thank you. If you’re in an especially energy-saving mood, there are insulated curtains and blinds available from a number of manufacturers.
2) Use Fireplaces Properly. Curling up by the fireplace wrapped in a soft blanket is how many of us imagine is a nice way to spend a cold evening indoors, but it’s far from energy-efficient – especially because many homeowners don’t use their fireplace properly. Heat rises, and with a fireplace, a lot of that heat escapes upward through the chimney. This is called the “stack effect,” where cold air rushes in to replace all that heated air that’s escaping (this is what leads to that draft under the door). To mitigate this effect, use a glass front with your fireplace, and when it’s not in use, keep the glass closed and make sure the chimney flue is shut. If you know you won’t be using your fireplace at all in the winter, consider purchasing fireplace insert insulation for the added efficiency.
3) Seal Cracks and Gaps. If you’re aware of a draft around a door, window or elsewhere in your home, it’s best you deal with it sooner rather than later. Check under all the doors leading to the outside for a draft, and if you find one, close the gap as soon as you can. An easy and cheap fix is to purchase a “door snake” that slides in under the door and seals the threshold, but some other options include installing weatherstripping, using foam tape, or replacing/adding a door sweep. Which one works best for you depends on how effective, convenient and expensive a solution you’re looking for. If you’ve got no other options, rolling up a towel and placing it at the bottom of the door is better than nothing to keep your home warm during winter!
4) Make Sure Vents are Unobstructed. This one should be obvious, but homeowners are only human. Furniture shifts and pets get curious causing a vent to end up blocked or not opened fully. Even if a vent isn’t fully obstructed, moving furniture or decorations out of the way can go a long way in increasing air circulation and keeping your home warm. Likewise, make sure your intake vents are unobstructed as well to avoid air flow imbalances due to irregular air pressure between rooms.
5) Close Your Doors. If you’ve got a particular room in the home that you spend most your time in, close the door whenever you are or aren’t using it. Your goal in the wintertime is to close as many gaps as possible between cold and warm air, and a doorway is a rather large gap. You’ll wind up with warmer rooms without touching the thermostat. Inversely, if there is part of your house you don’t use, lower the heating in that area and keep any doors or access ways closed. This can help save a little on the heating bill while keeping warm air elsewhere throughout the house circulating more efficiently.
6) Make the Most of Sunlight. Sunlight is free heat, and while windows aren’t always your friend in the wintertime, you can utilize them for more than just natural light. During winter, south-facing windows get the most sunshine, so it’s a good idea to leave the blinds and curtains open on those windows before leaving the house. Just remember to close them back up when evening comes around.
7) Ceiling Fans are Your Friend. Not many homeowners look to their ceiling fan to help them keep their home warm during winter, but they should! Most modern ceiling fans even have a “winter setting” built in to help with air flow, which essentially just reverses the fan’s spin direction so that warm air is pushed down rather than pulled upward. Heat rises and gathers near the top of any room; inversely, cold air sinks. To make the most of the heat in a room, a ceiling fan can help circulate that air and help the heat spread throughout the room rather than just the ceiling. Just make sure your ceiling fan is spinning the correct direction before leaving it on.
8) A Naked Floor is a Cold Floor. Wooden floors are a great feature of a home; unfortunately, uninsulated wood floors account for a large portion of heat loss during the winter months. Carpeting can help a room stay warm, but no one wants carpeting throughout the house! Installing proper floor insulation is the best option, but for those who don’t want to spend the time or money required for a project like this, consider putting a rug or decorative carpet down, if only for the season; they add a nice level of coziness to a room, and, more importantly, trap heat far better than a naked wooden floor.
9) Get Cooking! Utilize all the ways your home generated heat, including the oven! If you or someone in the house likes to cook, winter time is the perfect time of year to indulge that hobby–especially because we aren’t maintaining our beach bods. Cooking takes a significant amount of energy, so use the heat generated by it only as a byproduct. All that concentrated heat is going to dissipate anyway so leave the oven door slightly open after cooking a hearty meal and get some added benefit from all that heat.
10) Purchase an Window Insulator Kit. Drafts are often found around window edges, and, as with doors, there are numerous options for homeowners who want to do something about it. If you find a draft, a good idea may be to purchase an inexpensive window insulator kit from a big box store. It take a bit of time to put up, especially if it’s your first time installing something like this, but the efficiency it affords makes it well worth the effort. We’ve even seen a case of a homeowner using bubble wrap as an added layer of insulation. For DIY homeowners, installing a couple pieces of rigid foam insulation behind the molding is probably the way to go.
Your Warmth Matters Most
One of the most overlooked heat generators is you! The human body generates a lot of heat, so if you’re the type that spends most of your time in one room, keep the door closed and let the room get cozy. If you can’t get the room warm enough, get blankets, cuddle up with pets, or purchase a portable heater because, in the end, it’s far more important that you are warm rather than any particular room of the house.
As mentioned before, this is far from an exhaustive list, so if you’ve got any ideas not on the list feel free to share them in the comments below! Thanks for reading!
“I Need ProMaster!”
If you need help with any sort of weather- or winter-proofing, or you’ve stumbled on a greater problem while working on your home, a Home Repair Hero is only a call away. Visit our Schedule Service page to get in touch with us, or call us at (513) 322-2914 and we’ll get a professional craftsman on it as soon as we can.