As winter approaches, colder weather is coming. And as the temperatures drop, it becomes challenging to maintain comfortable temperatures inside (at least without seeing a huge spike in your utility bills).
Thankfully, there are some proactive things you can do to keep your toes warm and your wallet full. Let’s check out a few savvy thoughts and ideas:
1. Install a Programmable Thermostat
“Before programmable thermostats, you were stuck with only two options: pay to heat/cool your home while you are out, or come home to an uncomfortable temperature in an effort to save on bills,” W.E. Brown mentions. “Now, programmable thermostats can do the work for you without giving it a second thought. No more readjusting throughout the day.”
If you don’t already have programmable thermostats in your house, it’s a quick and easy upgrade. These days, you can find options for well under $50. Take things to the next level by investing a smart thermostat, which automatically learns your behaviors and preferences and adjusts without any programming. These devices typically cost between $150 and $300 but can pay for themselves within just a 12 to 18 months.
2. Use Curtains
Curtains aren’t just for design or aesthetics. They actually have practical value in warming your house.
During the day, keep curtains open. This allows natural sunlight to penetrate your windows and incrase the temperature inside your house. During the evening, close curtains to keep cold drafts at bay.
3. Use an Electric Fireplace
A fireplace is a great source of heat, but you should understand the differences between various kinds.
Wood-burning fireplaces, for example, are very romantic on a chilly evening, but they can be incredibly inefficient. They keep you hot when you’re sitting directly in front of them, but that’s about it. For all of the heat that’s being pushed out, cold air is being pulled into the house via the “stack effect.”
An electric fireplace could be a better option. These fireplaces run on electricity and are much more efficient. They can also be installed in rooms without needing a chimney. You can find them in a variety of styles, including wall-mounted, traditional with logs, and traditional with glass.
4. Use Doors Strategically
If you have a large home with lots of rooms – some of which are frequently used and others that rarely get touched – doors are helpful for controlling the flow of heat throughout the house. By closing doors, you can segment the airflow and create a sauna effect in certain rooms.
“I do this with my office, and it works like a charm,” homeowner Jeremy Anderberg writes. “I simply leave the door closed at night, let the heat run like normal, and since there aren’t as many gaps for heat to escape, it’s nice and warm in the morning. At times, it even gets too warm.”
5. Learn to Love Rugs
Contrary to popular belief, rugs were not created as a room aesthetic. They were actually designed to trap heat that escapes through creaky wood floors. And according to the National Energy Foundation, insulated wood floors still account for up to 10 percent of a home’s heat loss. Add a rug, or even a roll of carpet, to your floors in the winter and notice the difference it makes.
6. Dress Appropriately
If you’re walking around in shorts and a t-shirt, you shouldn’t be surprised when you’re cold. Dressing appropriately – even when you’re inside – is always important.
Layers are the way to go. They allow you to quickly and efficiently regulate your own body heat as the ambient temperature changes. You should also wear socks and hats, as they address key areas of heat loss in the body.
Learn to Love Winter
Most people hate winter because it means staying cooped up in a cold house without anything to do. But if you’re smart about how you manage your house, winter can actually be a wonderful time to gather the family together in a cozy and inviting setting. By keeping the aforementioned tips and techniques in mind, you can maintain a warm house without blowing through your budget. Which changes will you make this winter?