Tricks to Keeping Your Home Warmer This Winter

 Photo by Elenathewise/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Elenathewise/iStock / Getty Images

Well it’s officially time to start up the pilot lights and stack fire wood. If you are already starting to dread the high heating costs of winter here are a fews tricks to keeping them to a minimum. 

  1. Window Film Insulators: Window film insulators are a thin clear plastic removable layer that goes over your windows in the winter. Most hard wear stores will carry a variety of brands. 3M carries a whole line of great window insulating film. Here’s a helpful video on installation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FkjDcxMTeA  
  2. Rubber Backed Curtains: Can be a really effective way to insulate windows and you can usually find these at op-shops or on eBay. It's also worth hanging curtains or blankets in open door frames or hallway entrances. This will help keep warm air in the rooms you are actually using.
  3. Door Snake: Door snakes are the simplest way to stop drafts coming in from under doors. They are cheap to buy or easy to make and customize yourself. Heres a great tutorial on making your own: http://www.17apart.com/2013/11/how-to-diy-door-snake-draft-stopper.html?m=1  
  4. Adhesive Back Foam: Us self adhesive foam tape for sealing any gaps around doors and windows. It's available at most hardware stores. When hunting down the origin of those sneaky draughts around your home, check for these signs - Do windows close properly, or are they rattly? Can you see a rim of light peeking around your door frame when it's closed? Use your fingers around any gaps to check for hidden draughts.
  5. Extra Blanket Under Your Bottom Sheet: it forms an insulating barrier between you and your mattress. Even if you have a mattress topper, the extra blanket will add another level of warmth. Wool is best because the thick fibers are naturally insulating
  6. Hot Water Bottle or Rice Bag: Boiling up some water on the stove for your hot water bottle or heating a rice/wheat bag in the microwave uses a fraction of the energy of heating your whole room with a heater. 
  7. Seal Leaks With Caulk: Make sure you are getting the most out of your heating system, ensure that your windows are sealed and not letting warm air escape in exchange for cold air. Test for air leaks by placing candles around locations in your house on a windy day with the windows shut; if the flame moves, there is an air leak nearby. If this is the case, make sure to caulk and seal all air leaks, primarily by caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows.
  8. Replace Air Filters: Replacing air filters on a regular basis can help insure that the air in your home is getting circulated efficiently. Clogged and dirty air filters won't let air pass through them like they should. This will ensure that the warm air your furnace puts out is actually getting to where it needs to go. 
  9. Duct Work: This goes along with the air filter part. Your duct work is how the warm air is traveling through your home so if you have weak areas or leaks you might not be getting warm air around your home efficiently. 
  10. Turning Fans on in Opposite Direction: I had never though about using  my ceiling fan once the weather turned cold, but I should. When the fan blades rotate in “winter mode,” (i.e. clockwise) the fan draws air up instead of down. This mixes warm and cold air in the room to keep an even, warmer, temperature.
  11. Close Off Unused Space: It is definitely possible to heat your entire home, but do you really need to? Probably not. Why heat Little Jonny's room two years after he flew the coop for college? Close off all the unused rooms in the house and focus on the ones that get the most use. 
  12. Optimize Your Cooking and Baking Schedule: Summer is meant for BBQing outside, but winter is a great time to take advantage of you oven and stove top. If you’re doing a lot of cooking and baking this year (or even if you’re only heating the occasional pizza), use excess heat from the oven to warm up the kitchen by leaving the door cracked open after you’re finished baking. 
  13. Let in Sunshine: Open all those curtains during the day time and let the sunshine do the work for you, but make sure to close them once the sun goes down. 
  14. Use That Wood Burning Stove or Fireplace: There is nothing quite as nice as sitting in front of a fire place or wood burning stove with a cup of hot coco and a book. If you have one use it! Make sure to get all of your wood early. Not only does it suck stacking wood in the freezing cold snow, you will also pay almost double the price for it once snow hits the ground. A little useful information when purchasing fire wood this year is that there are a few different kinds that you can buy. Harder woods like hickory, elm, pine, and white birch are going to burn longer. Softer woods like aspen are going to burn for shorter amounts of time but they will burn hotter than the harder woods and they burn cleaner. It is nice to have a small batch of softer woods along with your larger amount of hard wood.