Winter weather is fast approaching, and every winter, most of us are scrambling to keep temperatures up indoors while keeping those heating bills down. For most older buildings, it is quite the task to keep them heated efficiently without spending those big bucks to replace older insulation. However, there are a few quick tips to help houses stay warmer without spending much, if any, money to do so.

Seek and Seal All Leaks

Some are more noticeable than others, but almost all homes have a few leaks. It could be a front door with a seal strip that is frayed or broken at the end or a badly installed window with just the tiniest of gap between the frame and the wall. Consider breaking out a little sealant and filling in any suspicious looking cracks or gluing down a new seals on the doors. This is a good task to do on particularly blustery autumn days as the drafts will be fairly noticeable. An old trick is to walk around with a candle and watch to see if the flame flickers or sways in front of doors or windows. This means that air is getting through somewhere.

For those with a seemingly endless insect problem, sealing the cracks will also help with that as well.

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sunny house

Allow Sunlight in During The Day

Even if it is cold outside, the sun will help to warm the house. For those who can be around the house all day, open up the shades on the Eastern side of the house in the morning and the Western side in the afternoon, closing the blinds after the sun leaves that side of the house. However, for those who can't be home, there isn't too much heat loss through windows without sun during the day. Of course, the best windows to open up during the day are those with a Southern exposure as the winter sun is lower and will shine right in almost all day.

Keep The Curtains Shut At Night

Once the sun sets, it is detrimental to leave the curtains open. Unless you invested in some of that great (and expensive) thick insulated glass, even closed windows let heat out. Keep all the curtains closed to prevent heat from escaping from the house. Particularly savvy heat savers will want to employ insulating curtains, but these can range from the specific store bought kind to the improvised kind that utilize a old rug or a thick blanket from the closet.

Mind the Fireplace

A fireplace can be a wonderful thing when you have an abundance of wood to keep that fire crackling, but when not in use, a fireplace can be a major heat sink. When lit, some fireplaces can actually pull cold air down in some spots, but more commonly, the fireplace just lets cold air seep down when it is not lit. This is why almost all new fireplaces have glass to close in front of the fire to let the heat in and keep the cold out. When not in use, keep this glass closed as well as the flue to help stop any cold air from sinking down into the house.

Try Out The Ceiling Fan

This isn't true for all models, but a good portion have a switch on them for their winter setting, which causes the fan to rotate the counter clockwise pulling the hot air down from your ceiling. For those with high or sloped ceilings, this works particularly well when placed on low. It doesn't create a breeze and it will circulate all that wasted warmth down to people level.

Move Furniture Away From Vents

During that summer rearranging, you may have slipped a couch or two over floor vents in your home. Winter is the time to double check and move any furniture that is placed over vents to a new spot. This is particularly necessary for baseboard heating as it is already a pretty horrible method for heating a house as it is. For central heating, this will allow heat to blow out instead of blowing back into the vents and disrupting the heat flow. For baseboard heating, this will allow the heat to rise instead of getting absorbed in the back of your furniture.


Install a Programmed Thermostat

This is one little upgrade to the house that you can get use out of all year round. Programmable thermostats help increase efficiently of central heating and cooling systems which keeps bills lower. With a programmable thermostat, users can program it to keep the house cool while they are at work or asleep while telling it to be nice and toasty during the evening hours when everyone is home. Turning off the heat during the day will cause the house to get too cold and will cost more to heat it back up, but keeping it a few degrees lower is more efficient and will shave a few dollars off the heating bill.

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Close Off Rooms

This is a handy trick I picked up from my brief tussle with baseboard heating, but it works just as well with radiators as well as central heat. If you find yourself using certain rooms more than others (especially ones with the thermostat in it), there is no reason to waste all that nice heat on rooms that you are not in. Close the door to that room. With central heat, it will still get some heat pumped in, but it will prevent all the heat from your main room from flooding into the rest of the house.

Use the Oven

Had a craving for a nice apple pie or wanted to try out that cheddar biscuit recipe? What better time than winter! While using the oven is an utter waste in the summer, it serves not only to provide tasty treats, but it will also help heat the house. So go ahead, make that roast that needs two hours to cook and don't feel bad about it.

Cover Up That Wood

A research study by the National Energy Foundation found that when wooden floors remain without insulation, it leads to up to 10 percent of total heat loss in the winter. There are pads that can be placed under wood floors when they are installed to prevent this, but for those who didn't install their wood floor, a rug can have the same effect. Add some nice rugs to not only increase the aesthetic beauty, but to keep heat in.

relfecting radiator

Reflecting Radiators

For those that still rely on a radiator, before the winter season starts, place some tin foil behind it (shiny side out) to reflect back the heat. There is exclusive radiator foil, but the kitchen variety can be used as well. Place a fan on the lowest setting in front of the radiator and this will also help spread the love.

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