When winter comes, keeping your house heated is surely one of the top priorities. However, heating is expensive, and depending on where you live, it may be prohibitively so. In fact, the Energy Information Administration estimates a considerable rise in heating costs this winter, from oil and gas to electricity.
For many people, they can’t reasonably keep the heater on all the time, so anything that can save money and energy can make a huge difference in the coming utility bill. To help you out with this, we’ve prepared some handy DIY homeowner tips to maximize your heating unit this winter.
These tips are not only meant to help you use your heating unit more efficiently, but also offer ways to help you use your heating unit less. This not only saves you money, but puts less strain on your heating unit, ensuring that you get the most mileage out of it for years to come.
How to Maximize Heat without Turning up the Thermostat
#1. Get more rugs
This tip is only really worthwhile if you have a linoleum, tiled, stone, or wooden floor, though some other types of materials may apply. These kinds of floors can get pretty chilly, and using large rugs helps keep them warmer without requiring any installation know-how. You can usually find some good, durable, thick rugs secondhand, although a good rug isn’t going to break the bank, especially in the long term.
#2. Get long curtains for your windows
When it comes to your windows, the more barriers you have between them and the rest of your home. While curtains are not the greatest barrier you can have, they certainly help, and the longer they are, the better. To get the most cold blockage out of your curtains, you’ll want to get thicker materials, such as microfiber and polyester. If you want to further keep the cold out and the heat in, you can also stuff paper towels onto the top of the curtains by the rod.
#3. Insulate your home
There are multiple ways you can improve your home’s insulation, the most common being to use insulating material along your walls and attic. There are multiple types of material you can use, including loft insulation or insulation loft boards. Some homes may be more inclined to certain materials and methods, so be sure to look up the guide that adheres to the type of house you own. You can either choose to do it yourself, or if you’re not comfortable with doing that, you may instead hire a professional.
Beyond insulating your walls, you can also insulate your windows, which is done using insulation film. To do this, take the tape included with the insulation film, and place it along the window frame you’re insulating before peeling the tape on the top and sides. Next, remove the film, and either apply what’s there or trim it so that it meets the size of the window frame. Carefully apply the film, removing the tape on the bottom as it reaches.
Finish applying the film, and use a hair dryer to smooth out the wrinkles and make it fit tighter. You can also apply bubble wrap over the film, making it that much more insulated. This also provides more security, considering the fact that insulation film is fairly easy to tear.
#4. Seal your doors
The windows are a common way for the outside temperature to leak in, but doors are also a problem. Thankfully, there are ways to help keep drafts out of the house. To check whether there’s a draft on your door, you can get an open flame, such as a candle, and hold it near the edge of the door. If the candle starts to blow, you need to get that part of your door sealed.
You can seal the door using multiple tools, including caulk where necessary. You should also apply weather stripping around the door frame, and a draft guard at the bottom of the door. Additionally, a deadbolt helps keep the door more securely shut.
#5. Get a smart thermostat
Using a smart thermostat, you can more easily control the temperature of a building without having to set it manually. For example, you can have the thermostat automatically lower the temperature during the day, and increase it at night. You can also schedule it such that the temperature is lower when you’re not normally in the house. Many smart thermostats even have an app that allows you to control them from your phone or tablet.
While a smart thermostat may be a bit of an expense early on, it can save you a lot of money in the long run. Such a thermostat will require you to do some wiring, and the thermostat will come with step-by-step instructions on how to set it up. Do note, however, that one thermostat may not have the same instructions as another, so keep that in mind. That said, there are some Wi-Fi enabled thermostats that can connect to certain furnaces.
#6. Use reflective radiator foil
All too often, heat is wasted because the heat goes into the wall or outside of the house. There are multiple ways you can try to keep it trapped in your home, including some of the above-mentioned solutions. However, one of the best ways is to use reflective radiator foil.
Reflective radiator foil is best used on the wall of a radiator if the wall is an outside wall. By applying it there, the heat is instead reflected away from the outside wall. This enables you to run the radiator at a lower heat, as you no longer have to heat the outside wall and the rest of the room at the same time.
#7. Reverse your ceiling fan
The best part of this one is that it’s the one thing on this list that’s the easiest to do yourself. All you need to do is go to your ceiling fan, look for a switch that reverses it, and flip it. Not all fans have this, and it does use some energy to run. However, by reversing it, instead of making it cooler, it would actually make it warmer.
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