The winter is upon us folks, and with it comes the blistering, gloomy cold. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, then you know that temperatures can get pretty low in the heart of the winter season. As such, you have to utilize different tricks and strategies to stay warm. You also have to keep the heating bills in mind, which tend to go up at this particular time. With that said, let’s get into some of the ways you can stay warm during the cold winter, while still keeping the festive mood and bills in check.
1. Check the insulation
Take a thorough look at the insulation in the home. Are there any spots that are not covered with insulation? Identify the type of insulation you have, and make sure that it covers every area that it has to. Insulation is very essential in keeping the whole house warm, so make sure it is the proper one, and that it covers everywhere sufficiently.
2. Prepare the furnace in advance
You don’t want to wait until the freezing temperatures are upon you to visit the furnace. If there’s anything wrong with it, there won’t be any time to fix it. As the cold weather approaches, be sure to give the furnace a good test run, to make sure that everything works well. This will ensure you won’t have to scramble when the time comes, or the pipes freeze.
3. Use space heaters
If you are going to spend a lot of time in one room of the house, you can give the heating unit a break and use a small space heater. They are quite cheap, going between $50 and $100, which is far less than the cost of keeping the whole house warm. The space heater comes in many different models, so you can choose which will fit your style.
4. Make better use of the fireplace
Evening fires do more than just warm the place up, they provide a pleasant atmosphere for the rest of the evening. While the benefits of a fireplace cannot be understated, they sometimes can be inefficient, losing tons of heat up the chimney. The problem is further compounded by strong drafts that tend to pull the warm air upwards. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure the fireplace serves you well.
You can install a fire throwback, which is essentially a sheet of iron placed behind the fire to reflect the heat back into the room, instead of it going up the chimney. You can add glass doors to the fireplace, though this is pricier alternative than fixing an insert in the fireplace, turning it into a small wood stove.
5. Seal any air leaks and unused vents
Drafts and air leaks allow heated air to flow out of the house, resulting in dropping temperatures and enormous heating bills. The solution to this is to make sure that you check and seal any air leaks that you might discover. The onus is on you to do this well before the freezing temperatures become a reality, otherwise it there will be some cold nights ahead.
If you have rooms in the house that aren’t being actively used, seal them and turn off the air vent to those rooms. The temperature in the room may drop significantly, but the upside is that you don’t have to heat it, thus won’t show up in the heating bill. Also check such rooms for air leaks, they may not be used, but may be the cause of the cold drafts experienced in the winter.
At this point, you want to invest in a programmable thermostat. If you haven’t already, then you should. Not only are they savings friendly, but they don’t require a lot of attention once they have been properly installed. They will adjust themselves according to the time of day, so when the temperatures are warmer during the day, or there’s no one home, you won’t be wasting valuable heat. Reducing the temperature during the day has no negative effects, and it certainly saves on the heating bill.
7. Wear warmer clothes
A whole article could be written on wearing warmer clothes in the winter, but we’ll stick to the highlights. Among the must have items are thick socks. Thick socks keep the feet warm even when the temperatures are cold.
Go for clothes that are made from cotton, wool, and fleece fabric. They tend to be much heavier, but also retain heat as close to the body as possible. Wear several layers of such clothes, instead of the usual one layer. Several layers will trap the warm air closer to the body.
If you are sitting down, have an extra blanket or shawl to wear around you. Try and also keep your feet up as much as possible, since the air tends to be much cooler at ground level.
A lot of heat gets lost through the head and neck area, so invest in a thick scarf and hat.
8. Hot water bottles
Many of us will tend to lower the thermostat a bit when retiring to bed, but after a long, cold day, the bed might not be necessarily up to the conditions we hope for. Invest in a hot water bottle and snuggle up with during those nights the bed feels like it’s made out of ice. Another alternative is to cuddle up with someone else, so you can share the natural body warmth.
9. Take warm fluids
Hot chocolate and tea make the top of the cold season’s most common beverages. Drinking warm fluids helps to keep the core body temperature up. Preparing hot drinks may be a small expense considering you may have to use the heater or kettle, but the expense is more than replaced by the energy savings of being able to lower the house temperature a little more.
Stay warm this winter, and enjoy the warmth the closeness of family brings at this time of the year.