While the fun times with family and excitement around great presents given and received will warm your heart this holiday season, none of that will keep your toes cozy during the cold winter nights. There’s nothing worse than a drafty home, but regardless of where you live in the country, you’re going to have some more frozen than usual days and nights ahead.
So how do you combat that cold without blowing your monthly heating budget? Utility bills can get out of control in a hurry if you just set your thermostat on high and forget about it, and it’s hard to swallow that extra cost, especially after the expense of the holidays. Luckily there are some low-cost ways to keep your home warm this winter. Here are just a couple of tips to help you on your way.
First of all, let natural heat do some of the work for you. Whatever windows you have that face south should be exposed during the day, with blinds or curtains pulled entirely back. The heat of the sun will help warm whatever room they face. Depending on the amount of shade, you have to contend with, the sun may be enough to heat that room for the whole day. Close the shades again as the sun goes down to retain whatever heat the room has collected.
Close all the windows
You should also locate every draft in your house and block it out. If you live in an older home, the windows probably aren’t completely sealed. Buy plastic weather sheeting you can put over the windows that seal flush against the wall.
That way, you’ll make sure your heating system is working on the house and not heating the whole neighborhood. Problem windows could be caulked in advance, which will assist the plastic sheeting. Lay rolled up blankets at the bottom of doors, especially exterior doors, so you don’t lose heat that way either.
The best approach to traditional heating may be to only heat the rooms you use the most. If you can skip the central heating and use space heaters, you can bring them with you from room to room. Closing the doors off to keep the heat just in the room you are sitting in will always be more cost-effective than heating the whole house.
Warm the house!
If you are going to use central heat, shut the vents off in rooms you don’t use and close those doors. They may be a bit frigid, but there is no reason to heat unused rooms. A more high tech way to tackle this problem is to install programmable thermostats in each room. That way, you can set it to warm up while you are awake and then cool off at night when you are snug under the covers.
Speaking of covers, the most cost-effective way to stay warm this winter may be to bundle up. Try lowering your thermostat by a couple of degrees and adding on another layer of clothes. The house may be chilly, but if you can wear an extra sweater or snuggle on the couch under a blanket, your wallet will thank you at the end of the month.
Also, consider bringing an electric blanket into the bedroom. The heat pumps out of those things as hot as you could ever want it, and that way you aren’t wasting any heat on the house at all. Go mountain biking this winter, read our article on biking in winter.