With Christmas fast approaching and winter being in full swing, it is inevitable to be stressed over keeping your house warm on top of holiday preparations.
Heating bills are not cheap, but there are many ways to stay warm and cozy this season without compromising your wallet.
Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
This has a positive impact on both the bill and efficiency. You can program the thermostat so that it maintains a lower temperature when the house is empty (64 °C) which has been proven to significantly cut down on your electricity bills.
Set at warmer temperatures (68 °C) when you are at home and want to be protected from the effects of a cold home.
Warm Up Your Floor
According to the National Energy Foundation, uninsulated floors account for up to 10% of energy loss. Keep floors warm in winter by laying down rugs and carpets, which traps warm air and is more comfortable to walk on than cold floors.
Let in the Sunshine
Sunlight is free, so it’s the cheapest way to warm up your home. Let in some of this natural heat during the day by opening the curtains in the most sunlit places of your house before you leave for work.
Keep It Dark at Night
Curtains have a dual function in keeping your house warm. Opening them in the day brings in the sunlight whereas drawing them up at night provides insulation.
You may invest in insulated curtains if you are in a particularly cold area or hang up temporary curtains at night in front of the doors.
Free Up Your Radiator
Although it may seem like a good idea to place your favorite seat near the radiator, this is actually preventing it from warming up the entire room. So, ensure that your radiator is not obstructed by curtains or drying clothes to allow warm air to circulate freely through the room.
Moreover, you can install the radiator under a shelf, which will reduce airflow upward and keep warm air at ground level. Just make sure to not keep any heat-sensitive items on the shelf.
Take Advantage of Insulation
Up to a quarter of heat is lost through uninsulated roofs, so it is vital that you stop this heat leak with insulation. Though installing insulation may seem like a costly expenditure, it is cost-effective in the long run by lowering your annual electricity bills.
Inquire with your energy supplier about any sales that may save you installation costs.
Warm Up Your Hot Water Tank
Cold weather means hot showers, which equals extra charges on your bill. Nevertheless, you can lower costs by insulating your hot water tank so that the water stays warm for longer.
Your Fireplace is Making the House Colder
Winter is unimaginable without the warmth of a crackling fireplace. Unfortunately, they are terribly inefficient. The place near the fireplace may be warm and cozy, but the cooler air is pulled from the rest of the house, leaving it cold because of convection currents.
One way to prevent this is to keep the fireplace covered with glass so that the heat does not escape and keep the flue closed with a fireplace plug when the fireplace is not in use.
Otherwise, the chimney will act as an open window, and you will lose valuable air.
Along with fireplaces, another cost-effective heater are terra cotta pots. Simply place overturned pots over candles and prop the pots up with little stones to let air in.
However, don’t attempt this if you have children and pets at home, and don’t leave the candle unattended.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Not only do fans help you cool down in the summer, but they also keep you warm in the winter. How? Simply reverse the setting so that they move clockwise during winter, causing the warm air to flow to the ground. Make sure that your fan is at low speed so that the air is not cooled.
Shower With Hot Water
Hot showers are blissful during the bone-chilling winter, but they can also help keep your house warm. After showering with hot water, don’t turn the bathroom fan on, and keep the door open. The humidity will warm the house, and the shower will warm you up.
Spend More Time Upstairs
This is simply physics at work. Hot air is lighter than colder air and tends to rise, so spend more time upstairs to stay warm.
Use a Humidifier
Humidity in the air keeps your sweat from drying too quickly (which has a cooling effect) and also makes the air feel warmer. Set the humidity at 40% to avoid growing molds and go for ultrasonic models, which have cold and hot air options. The heating effect is well worth their cost.
Utilize Your Oven
Few things taste better than freshly baked cookies and bread on cold winter mornings. Make use of your beloved kitchen appliances this winter and cook using the oven and the stove. Even boiling some hot water helps.
This will warm up your kitchen and, consequently, the rest of the house will be less cold. Remember to keep the oven door open after you are done to let the hot air out.
Keep Your Vents Clear
Check around your house for any furniture or other items that may be blocking the vents. Reposition them, at least for the winter. Blocked vents will prevent the warm air from reaching you, and the room will not reach its max heating potential.
If possible, invest in a duct booster fan to regulate the flow of air into a particular room from the forced-air central heating system.
Close the Doors and Windows
The simplest way to keep a room warm is to keep all the doors and windows in that room closed. For rooms you frequently use, leave the door closed overnight, and let the heat run normally. Then, you will have a warm and toasty room the next day.
You can also amp up the heat by covering less-used windows with plastic wrap that has air pockets. Additionally, you can keep less-used rooms locked; just make sure to close the vents so that your house heats up faster and lowers your bills a little.
Seal Potential Warmth Leaks
There are a lot of potential leaks in your house that may be cooling your house. For instance, the attic, basement, mail slot, and the doggy door could all be allowing cold air in. Locate these and seal them temporarily for the season.
Reflect the heat
Radiators are great for warming the house, but a lot of heat may be lost through the walls. Avoid this by installing low-cost radiator panels that reflect the heat back into the room.
Alternatively, place some aluminum foil behind your radiator to prevent heat escaping through the walls. The foil reflects the heat.
Warm Yourself Up
All the fuss about keeping a house warm is to warm the people living inside it. The key to staying comfortable this winter is to stay warm yourself. So, put on warm coats, hoodies, thick woolen socks, and drink lots of hot liquids.
Warm your hands and feet by microwaving heating pads for 20-30 seconds or placing a hot water bottle near your feet underneath a blanket before going to sleep.
If you use these measures, then you can probably handle the thermostat being a few degrees lower and cut down on heating costs.
Staying warm doesn’t mean you have to incur hefty bills. With a few tips and tricks, you can avoid a cold house this winter without stressing over utility bills.