When winter strikes, keeping your home warm and cozy can be challenging. Heating costs can take a big bite out of your budget, leaving you feeling frustrated and cold. Luckily, there are a few easy and inexpensive ways to heat your home during winter.
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Here are nine inexpensive winter heating tips to keep your home warm all season long:
- Get a programmable thermostat.
- Use curtains.
- Close air vents in unused rooms.
- Maximize insulation.
- Install weatherstripping on doors and windows.
- Fix air leaks.
- Rearrange your furniture.
- Add rugs or carpets.
- Reverse your ceiling fans.
Buckle up as we take an in-depth look at each of these tips and how they can help warm up your home while keeping your heating bills low.
1. Get a Programmable Thermostat
According to data from the Energy Information Administration, about 43% of home energy bills in the United States go towards heating and cooling costs. And with winter heating costs going as high as 140% more than other times of the year, it’s no wonder most people are looking for ways to save.
One of the best ways to slash your heating bill while keeping your home warm all winter long is to upgrade to a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to automatically adjust your home’s temperature when you’re away or asleep, so you aren’t paying to heat an empty house.
According to the Department of Energy, you can save about 10% annually (around $180) by setting your thermostat back 7-10°F (-14 to -12°C) for 8 hours a day from its standard setting.
So, if you usually keep your house at 72°F (22°C), you could save money by setting the temperature to 68°F (20°C) for 8 hours a day. Automatically adjusting your thermostat with a programmable model makes it easy to save money without sacrificing comfort.
2. Use Your Curtains
Take advantage of the sun’s natural heat during sunny days by opening your curtains and letting the sun’s rays warm up your home. Open curtains on south-facing windows to let in the most sun and keep them open as long as the sun is shining.
Just be sure to close your curtains at night to keep the heat in and prevent heat loss through your windows. Thick, heavy curtains are the best at insulating your windows and keeping the heat in, but you can always hang a blanket over your windows for extra insulation.
Ensure there are no gaps, cracks, or holes around your windows, as these can let in drafts and cause heat loss.
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3. Close Air Vents in Unused Rooms
Do you have a guest room, home office, bathroom, or other space in your home that you rarely use? Close the vents and shut doors in these rooms to prevent heat wastage.
Leaving the vents open in these rooms will cause your furnace to work harder to heat them, driving up your energy bills for no reason.
To keep your family warm all winter long, you can redirect this unused heat to other high-traffic areas in your house like the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. This is a relatively simple task that can make a big difference in your home’s heating efficiency.
However, you should exercise caution when closing vents and doors in your home, as this can cause uneven heating and strain your HVAC system. Using “zone HVAC systems” can help you heat and cool your home more efficiently without damaging the system.
4. Maximize Your Home’s Insulation
Your home’s insulation is key to keeping the heat in and preventing energy loss. It prevents the heat you generate inside your home from escaping through the walls, ceilings, and floors.
During winter, insulation keeps your home warm and cozy while protecting you from frigid temperatures and high energy bills.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, boosting your attic insulation can reduce energy heating costs by 10 to 50% since about 85% of heat escapes through the attic.
Check your attic insulation and, if necessary, add more to reach the recommended level of R-38 or about 10 to 14 inches (25 to 36 centimeters).
You can also insulate your walls, windows, and doors to reduce heat loss further. Check for cracks, gaps, or holes in these areas and seal them with caulk or weatherstripping to prevent heat loss.
5. Install Weatherstripping on Doors and Windows
Gaps and cracks around doors and windows are one of the leading causes of heat loss in homes, accounting for up to 30% of heat loss.
When cold air comes in through these cracks, it can make your home feel drafty and cause your furnace to work overtime to heat your home, further driving up your energy costs.
One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent heat loss is to install weatherstripping around doors and windows. Weatherstripping is a thin strip of material (usually foam, felt, or metal) that you attach to the edges of doors and windows.
This creates a seal that prevents air leaks and blocks drafts. Sealing these gaps helps reduce drafts and save you up to 10% on your home energy bills without compromising your comfort.
The best weatherstripping will withstand friction, temperature changes, and typical wear and tear.
You can use a combination of weatherstripping for irregularly shaped gaps like those around door frames. Ensure you follow all the instructions on the packaging and take care not to damage your doors or windows.
6. Fix Air Leaks
Air leaks account for 25 to 40% of heat loss and can significantly dent your winter heating efforts if not properly fixed. The most common places for air leaks are gaps and cracks around doors, windows, attics, basements, and electrical outlets.
Air leakage occurs when outside air enters your home or warm air escapes from your home through these cracks and gaps, straining your furnace and driving up your energy bills.
To check for air leaks, hold a lit incense stick or candle near doors, windows, outlets, and other potential leaky areas.
If the smoke wavers or the flame flickers, you have an air leak. You can fix these leaks by caulking or weatherstripping doors, windows, and other openings. This will create a barrier that prevents outside air from coming in and warm air from escaping.
7. Rearrange Your Furniture
If you have radiators or baseboard heaters in your home, moving your furniture away from these heat sources can help evenly distribute heat and prevent heat from being wasted. Placing a sofa or chair in front of a radiator can block the heat and make the room feel cooler.
Rearranging your furniture is a quick and easy way to improve your home’s heating without spending any money. By opening up the space around your heat sources, you can distribute heat more evenly and make your home feel warmer.
8. Add Rugs or Carpets
With bare floors losing almost 10% of heat, adding rugs or carpets is an easy way to improve the insulation in your home and make it feel warmer.
Carpets and rugs act as insulators that, besides helping trap heat in the room, also add to your room’s overall aesthetics. They also add a layer of padding that makes it more comfortable to walk on bare floors.
Rugs and carpets are available in various colors, styles, and materials to match any home décor.
If you have hardwood flooring, adding an area rug can help improve the insulation and make your home feel cozier. Hypoallergenic carpets and rugs are also available if you have allergies or sensitivities.
9. Reverse Your Ceiling Fan
While ceiling fans help circulate air and keep rooms cool in the summer, you can actually use them to help heat your home in the winter. Reversing the direction of your ceiling fan will push hot air that has risen to the ceiling back down into the room, making it feel warmer.
To reverse the direction of your ceiling fan, switch the direction switch on the fan from counterclockwise to clockwise. You may need to use a stool or ladder to reach the switch.
Once you’ve switched the direction, turn on the fan at low speed to see if it’s working correctly. If the blades are spinning in the correct direction, you should feel a gentle updraft and a slight increase in the room temperature.
Please note that while reversing your ceiling fan can help push warmer air down to where people are, increasing the speed will lead to a cooling effect. As such, you should operate the fan at low speeds during winter.