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