Keep your house warmer this win­ter

Lesotho Times - - Property -

WITH win­ter fast ap­proach­ing, many peo­ple — my­self in­cluded — are think­ing about ways to not only keep the house warm, but also save a few bucks while do­ing so.

House­hold­ers are reg­u­larly be­ing ad­vised to in­stall dou­ble glaz­ing, thor­ough in­su­la­tion and over­haul their in­ef­fi­cient heat­ing sys­tem. But apart from those of­ten ex­pen­sive tac­tics, what can be done cheaply and quickly to keep your house warm?

Use tin foil. One way to pre­vent un­nec­es­sary heat loss from ra­di­a­tors, par­tic­u­larly on those at­tached to ex­ter­nal walls, is to use heat re­flec­tive alu­minium foil be­hind the ra­di­a­tor. This pre­vents heat dis­ap­pear­ing through the wall by re­flect­ing it back into the room, says So­phie Neuburg, en­ergy cam­paigner for char­ity Friends of the Earth.

Foil spe­cially de­signed for the pur­pose can be bought for un­der £10. “You can even use good qual­ity kitchen foil,” says Carl Bren­nand, as­sis­tant man­ager of web­site Money­mag­pie, although it’s gen­er­ally not as ef­fec­tive.

Thick cur­tains are one of the main ways to pro­tect your house from los­ing heat through the win­dows. Cur­tains with a ther­mal lin­ing are a rel­a­tively cheap op­tion, says Bren­nand.

“The thicker the bet­ter,” adds Archna Luthra, con­sumer an­a­lyst at mon­eysaving­ex­pert.com. If you don’t want to splash out on new cur­tains you can line them your­self with ma­te­ri­als like cheap fleece, says Bren­nand.

“You can even use PVC shower cur­tains,” he sug­gests. And it’s not just win­dows that can have cur­tains. Plac­ing a cur­tain in front of doors to the out­side adds an­other layer of pro­tec­tion. And it doesn’t even need to be a cur­tain.

But let the sun­light in dur­ing the day. It’s im­por­tant to try to use as much nat­u­ral — and free — heat (in the form of sun­light) as pos­si­ble. Win­dow shades and cur­tains should be kept open dur­ing the day.

Clos­ing your cur­tains as soon as dusk falls will max­imise your house’s po­ten­tial to re­tain that heat.

Stop heat be­ing lost up the chim­ney. It’s now fairly com­mon to have fire­places that are merely dec­o­ra­tive. If you’re not us­ing yours then you should con­sider a chim­ney bal­loon.

It’s then in­flated un­til it com­pletely shuts out any in­com­ing cold air or es­cap­ing heat. Just be sure not to start a fire without re­mov­ing it.

There are also woollen chim­ney in­su­la­tors on the mar­ket. But again, make sure you re­move them be­fore start­ing any fires.

Move fur­ni­ture away from vents. You may have un­know­ingly placed fur­ni­ture in front of heat­ing vents when you moved in or re­ar­ranged. Go around the house and dou­ble check that vents aren’t blocked, and if they are, find a way to move your fur­ni­ture, at least for the win­ter.

This will make sure every room is get­ting its max heat po­ten­tial. Block­ing re­turn vents in a forced-air cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem could also cause air pres­sure is­sues, which fur­ther dis­rupts the flow of heat.

Keep cer­tain rooms toasty warm by clos­ing doors. If you spend a lot of time in cer­tain rooms, you can close doors and cre­ate a lit­tle sauna. I do this with my of­fice, and it works like a charm.

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. If you have big, open spa­ces, you can use room di­viders; it may not seem like much, but any block­age that keeps air from es­cap­ing just a lit­tle less quickly will help keep things warmer.

You can also close doors to rooms that aren’t fre­quently used in your home — just make sure you also close the vents in those rooms. This sort of acts to lower the heated square footage, and the warm air will spread quicker and eas­ier through the house.

As a bonus, this will save a lit­tle bit on your heat­ing bill, too. (Just make sure you aren’t stick­ing your in-laws in the guest bed­room without first let­ting it heat back up for a day or two.)

Use the oven. Bak­ing, con­vect­ing, and broil­ing things will keep your house warmer, es­pe­cially in rooms near­est the kitchen. Don’t be afraid to roast a chicken or bake a ton of casseroles when the tem­per­a­tures dip!

Stick to­gether — share a blan­ket If you walked into our fam­ily room, you’d see that we al­ready have sev­eral blan­kets out for the win­ter months. We love to cud­dle up as a fam­ily un­der a blan­ket or two on the couch, shar­ing our nat­u­ral body warmth with each other. It keeps us all close to­gether and toasty warm.

The house doesn’t re­ally care if it’s a lit­tle chilly, but you care if you’re cold. So throw on hood­ies and sweaters, get a warm robe, sip on hot cof­fee or tea all day, break out the thick blan­kets and bed sheets; do what­ever you need to do to stay warm and com­fort­able.

— Artof­man­li­ness.

With the win­ter months fast ap­proach­ing, comes the in­creased con­cern on how to heat your home.

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