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During the winter months, it can be difficult to keep warm. The cold, blustery winds that affect us while outdoors can also permeate our homes, leading to drafty breezes despite blazing fires and ever-running radiators.
Though we all know to wear warmer clothing during the winter months, a few easy techniques can also be used to keep our houses and apartments warmer, preventing the icy winds of winter from chilling our abodes. Try out these easy tricks to keep you and your home warmer in the upcoming months.
Cover Up The Holes
In many cases, cold air enters our homes through small gaps and cracks. Check your home for such holes and plug them to prevent drafts from blowing in. Look for holes where cables, wires, and pipes enter the walls, such as behind kitchen cupboards, near washing machines and appliances, and around your sink and toilet. Though draught-preventing materials can be purchased to plug such holes, non-visible gaps can also be blocked using materials you can find around your home. Wadded-up paper, plastic, cling film, socks, or fabric can easily be used to plug up these holes, keeping your home more insulated during the winter season.
Decorate Rooms and Rearrange Furniture
In many cases, simply modifying your home décor can add to the warmth of your home. Non-insulated flooring, for instance, can account for the loss of up to 10% of a home’s heat. Adding a few rugs to your floors during the colder months will keep your household, and your feet, from getting chilly. Attaching an extra layer of fabric, or purchasing an additional layer of curtains for your windows can also keep out icy breezes. Swapping out your standard bedding for flannel and adding a few extra blankets and throw pillows to your sofa are simple ways to keep yourself from shivering while at home. Make sure your furniture is arranged in a heating-friendly way, too! Couches and chairs placed in front of radiators or over heating ducts may be making your home less energy-efficient. Make sure that furniture, curtains, and clothing racks aren’t blocking any of the major heat sources in your rooms. By doing so, you can ensure that the energy you’re paying for is actually heating your home.
Let in the Light
Don’t keep your blinds shut during the day! Instead, let the sun shine in. To naturally heat your home, keep your blinds and curtains open from sunrise until sunset. When you arrive home in the evening, shut your blinds to keep the cold out. Solar heating is an easy, free way to keep your home warm during the winter season.
Reflect The Heat
If you have radiators in your home, use the power of reflection to prevent heat from escaping through your walls. Simply apply aluminum foil to the walls behind your radiators. Attach the foil so that the shiny side of the foil is facing the radiator, reflecting heat back into the room. If you’re looking for a more formal way to retain heat, purchase a radiator panel and attach it to your wall. These commercially-produced products work in a similar manner, preventing heat from escaping radiator-warmed rooms.
Keep Yourself Warm
If you’re looking to reduce your energy use, focus on keeping yourself warm, rather than your entire home. Wear layers, sip on a mug of hot cocoa or tea, and use a space heater to warm the room you’re in, rather than heating your entire home. Smaller devices and appliances, such as heated blankets and heated foot warmers, can also be used in lieu of blasting the furnace in your home. Consider using your oven and stove more, too. In addition to producing warm meals and baked goods, you can warm up your home without even adjusting your thermostat.
Program Your Thermostat
Manually adjusting your home’s temperature can be a hassle. Instead, program your thermostat, or purchase a programmable thermostat, to save yourself from constantly having to change the temperature of your home. If you’re usually at work or out during the day, program warmer temperatures for the morning and evening hours. Set the temperature lower during daytime hours, when you’re out of the house, and for the times when you’re asleep. Lower temperatures at night will help you sleep better and may even boost your metabolism. In short, programming your thermostat will help you save on both time and money.
Add Window Insulation
Clear window film is a great way to prevent drafty winds from blowing in through your window frames. To insulate your windows, purchase plastic shrink film, attach it to your window frame with double-sided tape, and heat it with a hairdryer to remove wrinkles and affix the plastic to the window. Though less aesthetically-pleasing, bubble wrap can also be attached to windows to keep heat in. Some studies have shown that bubble wrap can reduce heat loss by up to 50% on single-pane windows and 20% on double-pane glass. Window insulation is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to prevent heat loss around the home.
No one wants to end the winter season with an exorbitant heating bill. Instead of cranking up your thermostat, trying keeping yourself, and your home, warm in other ways. If you find that you’re still spending more than you want to on heating, contact your energy provider to discuss other ways in which you can more efficiently heat your home. In doing so, you can keep warm this winter without breaking the bank!
Photo: © AlexMaster / fotolia.com