Looking for ways to keep warm this winter without busting your budget? Here are some practical and inexpensive ways to keep your home warm.
Whether your house is too cold or you’re simply cold-natured, if you’re looking for ways to keep your house warm this winter, you’ll want to try these home heating hacks. In addition to being easy enough for any homeowner to tackle, they won't cause your utility bills to flare up, even as the temperatures outside continue to plunge.
Use a Space Heater
Space heaters are a simple, convenient and highly customizable way to keep a house warm in the winter. In poorly insulated houses or those without central heating, electric space heaters can be an energy-efficient option when you’re only trying to heat a small area.
Just remember — not all space heaters are created equal. Do your research before you buy. As "Consumer Reports" advises, give preference to models equipped with both a fan (to distribute heat) and safety features designed to reduce fire hazards, such as a sensor that can detect when the unit overheats and will automatically shut off.
Be sure to follow the U.S. Department of Energy's recommendations when purchasing and using a space heater as well. For example, do not use a space heater in a room too large or small for it, and never power the unit using an extension cord. Finally, always turn off the space heater and disconnect it from its power supply when it is not in use.
Wrap Up in an Electric Blanket
Some family members feel the house is too cold, while others think it’s too hot. Sound familiar? Electric blankets may be just the thing. They use very little energy and everyone in the house can adjust their blanket to their preferred temperature, no matter what the thermostat's setting. And some blankets even come with two controls for couples that can’t agree on what counts as comfortable. As always, remember to unplug a blanket when not in use.
Hang Heavy Drapes
Just like you change your summer bedding out for flannel sheets and thick duvets in the winter, you should change out your window treatments. Swap light and breezy fabrics for heavier drapes that can conserve warmth. Open your drapes, blinds, and shades on sunny days for the added benefit of free solar heat. Once the sun has gone down, lower your blinds and close your drapes to prevent heat loss. Just be sure that your window treatments don’t block any radiators or floor registers.
While you're hanging new drapes, check around your windows and doors for drafty areas. A little bit of weatherstripping can help your windows and doors seal more tightly, preventing cold outside air from slowly leaking into your home. Inexpensive yet effective, self-adhesive foam weatherstripping tape should be available at your local hardware store.
Decorate Your Bare Walls
Believe it or not, but mirrors, framed artwork and other wall hangings provide extra insulation for your home. This is especially true for walls located around the perimeter of your house. According to Roland Ennos, a Professor of Biomechanics at England's University of Hull, cases full of books are particularly effective at helping to maintain a stable room temperature.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Once winter arrives, switch your ceiling fans to winter mode. Turn on your fan and look directly up at the blades. Make sure they are rotating in a clockwise direction. A clockwise rotation pushes hot air, which naturally wants to rise, down from the ceiling to the open spaces in your rooms.
Insulate Your Water Heater
Insulating your hot water tank is an inexpensive, easy way to improve energy efficiency and save money on energy bills. If your water tank is new, it’s probably already insulated. If it’s an older model, check to see if it has insulation with an R-value of at least 24. If not, consider insulating your water tank with a fiberglass blanket. According to the U.S, Department of Energy, doing so can reduce your unit's heat losses by 25 to 45 percent and save you about 7 to 16 percent on your winter energy bills.
However you choose is the best way to keep your house warm in winter, you'll also want to protect the investment you've made in your heating system. That means performing the manufacturer's recommended preventive maintenance, regularly changing your filters and otherwise taking care of your system and its key components. To further minimize the costs associated with the repair and replacement of your home's HVAC equipment, consider purchasing an American Home Shield® Home Heating Warranty. Our flexible plans can help you protect your home, as well as your household budget.