Looking for ways to stay warm this winter that don’t involve cranking the thermostat? We have good news! There are plenty of inexpensive and effective methods for keeping your home cozy without breaking the bank (and you just might make your home more efficient in the process).
1. Let in the light
Use natural solar heat to warm up a chilly room. Once the sun is up, part the curtains, raise the blinds, and open your shutters to let those rays in. Then use window coverings in the evening to keep all that valuable heat from escaping.
2. Conserve heat with curtains
Apart from window replacement and weather stripping (which we’ll cover later), winter heat loss via windows can be lessened through the use of good, old-fashioned window coverings like curtains, shutters, blinds, and roller shades. While most coverings will help mitigate heat loss to some degree, certain practices will help you maximize your savings. For example, a standard set of drapes can reduce heat loss by 10 percent, but securing or sealing that same drapery where it meets the wall (at the bottom, middle, and sides) can reduce your heat loss by as much as 25 percent. Just remember to leave those coverings open during the day to let in the light and then close them after sundown to retain warm air.
3. Try weather stripping
You can seal or slow air leaks around windows, doors, and thresholds with the proper installation of weather stripping. Choose products that make sense for the location you’re working on (for example, vinyl is good for high-traffic areas that might get wet, while felt and foam are easy to install and can work well in dry, low-traffic areas).
4. Cover your floors
Experts say as much as 10 percent of heat loss can come from your floors, especially if they aren’t insulated. To help nix drafts, cover up floors (especially hardwood) with throw rugs or area carpeting, which can help stop the flow of air (and keep your feet toasty).
5. Invest in insulation
Adding insulation to your home gives you better humidity control, reduces noise and pollutants from entering your home, and helps you save on energy costs in summer and winter. Consult with a professional home insulation contractor to see which areas of your home might benefit.
6. Talk to your local utility company
Many local energy companies have assistance programs that can help qualified customers reduce their energy bills and make other energy-savings improvements to their home at little or no cost. Check with your local utility company to see if they’re offering any programs that can help you stay warm this winter.