Love it or not, winter is coming. These cold and flaky breezes of winter belong to the magnificent force of all – nature, so you can't expect yourself to make it through the entire season with a bowl of hot soup, woolly sweaters, and a thick duvet.
For those residing in cold regions, the drop in temperature can mean a tremendous rise in heating expenses just for the sake of keeping yourself and your home warm. What can you do to prepare your home for a sharp drop in temperature? Don't worry; we have a few tricks that'll not only help you keep the house warm but also save a few bucks in the process. Whether you're looking for ways to make your home a bit toastier or refurbishing to make it as energy-efficient as possible, the following cold-reducing ways will help you stay snug.
- Increase insulation
Did you know that a well-insulated home can save up to 45% on heating and air conditioning costs? Well, now you do. When it comes to heat, approximately 25% is lost through the roof. But you can take of this by adding 25 cm of insulation to your home.
It's also worth inspecting your walls, as a third of the heat in an inadequately insulated home is lost through them. Although it is more expensive to install than home insulation, cavity wall insulation can save up to $160 per year on heating costs. It's also worth checking with your energy provider to see if they have any insulation options that can sometimes mean low-cost or no-cost installation.
- Move your furniture away from any radiators, vents, or registers
This may seem obvious, but a chair, bed, or couch moved in the summer often remains on the same spot in the winter, blocking heat flow. This is a waste of money and results in cold rooms. Blocking a supply or return vent in a forced-air system can cause a house-wide pressure imbalance, disrupting heat flow throughout the system. Therefore, it's essential to change the setting of your furniture as per the season.
- Seal gaps and cracks
Unsealed crevasses can account for 15-25% of heat loss in your home during the winter. These allow cool air into your home, and any attempts to warm it up essentially slip through the cracks.
The fix? Sealing gaps in your window and door frames will keep the nasty draughts at bay while also filling in your rooms with warm heat, making your home nice and cozy!
- Use your curtains correctly
Sunlight is free, so take advantage of it. During the day, open up your blinds and let the sun's rays in to make use of unlimited natural heat. Similarly, close your curtains to add another layer of insulation at night and keep the heat in your rooms. Again, ensure there are no leaks or gaps so that the warm air can stay in and the cold air can stay out. It also helps reduce condensation.
- Avoid leaving doors open
This is a simple but frequently overlooked tip. So yea shut the door! External doors always trap heat, which instantly dissipates when they are left open for an extended amount of time.
Heating rooms selectively can be a great way to save energy, but it only works if the heat stays in the room. So turn off heaters in rooms that don’t need to be warned and keep the air inside those that do. Also, we repeat, keep the doors shut.
- Reverse your ceiling fans
In warm-weather climates, ceiling fans are ubiquitous. They move air around the room by spinning counterclockwise. However, not all energy experts agree that using them during the heating season is a good idea (some argue that they cool the air too much), but the fans help bring heated air down in rooms with high-sloped or cathedral ceilings. However, it will only happen if you turn the reversing switch on the side of the motor housing to the clockwise (winter) position. Then, set the fan to its lowest setting. Turn it off if you can't reverse the blade rotation or believe the fan is overcooling the room.
- Minimize condensation
Condensation makes your home damp and encourages mold growth. A moist house also costs more to heat. So to reduce condensation, try the following tips:
- Use lids on pots when cooking
- Air dry clothes (or in a carport or garage)
- Use an extractor fan in the bathroom and kitchen, or open up a window to minimize condensation.
- If there's condensation on your face, wipe it with a towel every morning.
- Lower the thermostat
Your fuel bill is reduced by 3% for every degree you lower the thermostat on your heating system. Although going from 73 degrees to 69 degrees doesn't make much of a difference in comfort, it can save you up to 12% on your heating bill.
Moreover, if you're using a coil-type thermostat, you'll be receiving more accurate readings if you clean it regularly. The process of cleaning is straightforward. Just pop off the cover and gently wipe or blow away the dust.
- Try some baking
Using the oven can help keep the heart of your home – the kitchen (and surrounding areas) - warm while also providing an excuse to make your favorite sweet or savory treats. So don't be afraid to crack open that recipe book and bake some brownies, cookies, or any other fluffy delight during the winter. Of course, ovens were not designed to heat entire homes, but they can provide a small amount of heat while you bake a batch of cookies.
Furthermore, it is essential to note that ovens should never be used as primary heating elements. They can produce carbon monoxide and fire damage if misused.
- Keep an eye on the fireplace
Fireplaces can be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Whether gas or traditional, fireplaces can be an excellent way to warm up a room (or even an entire house).
While most modern fireplaces have draft-reducing checks, many older models do not. So if you own a traditional – throw in the wood and fire – fireplace, be mindful of any cold air coming from a fireplace. When not in use, ensure the damper is closed, and consider installing glass doors on wood stoves. Fireplaces can also contribute to a stack effect if there are any openings in the upper levels, which can be dangerous. Also, keep the fireplace closed to prevent cold air from entering the house through the chimney when not in use.
So you see, there are many little ways with which you can save on energy costs and keep your home warm this winter. While you're at it, don’t forget about investing in simple things like a pair of warm socks, a heater, and extra bedding. Just be sure not to hate winter just because it is freezing you to the bone. After all, winter has its delights too.
partnered post • image by Olga Lioncat from Pexels