With winter just around the corner, keeping your home well heated is probably one of your top priorities. But simply cranking up the thermostat isn’t the answer unless you’re okay with getting high energy bills. No worries, though!
Let’s dive into five quick and easy home improvement tips and tricks to help heat your home this upcoming winter.
Seal the drafts
The battle against the cold begins with a simple but necessary step: sealing the drafts. These hidden gaps allow warm air to escape and cold air to enter, which makes your heating system work overtime.
Start by conducting a thorough inspection of your home, focusing on windows and doors, which are common draft sources. You can use a candle or incense stick to detect air leaks; the smoke will waver where drafts are present.
Once identified, use weather stripping or caulk to seal these gaps. Consider also door sweeps for the bottoms of doors, especially those leading to colder areas like garages or basements. This relatively small effort can yield big results in maintaining your home’s temperature and reducing your energy bills.
Remember, draft-proofing also means taking care of often overlooked areas such as keyholes and mail slots, which can be fitted with brushes or flaps.
Next, you need to take care of your insulation. Proper insulation is like a thermal blanket wrapped around your house. It’s crucial in retaining heat and ensuring your comfort. Begin with the attic, as heat rises and can easily escape through an inadequately insulated roof.
The recommended insulation level for most attics is R-30 to R-60, depending on your region’s climate. Check the current state of your attic insulation; if it’s compressed, damaged, or insufficient, consider adding another layer.
Next, inspect your walls. Adding insulation to existing walls can be challenging but is achievable through blown-in cellulose or foam insulation methods. Don’t forget the basement or crawl spaces as well because adding insulation to these areas can prevent cold floors. Upgrading insulation does require a non-trivial upfront investment, it pays off in the long run.
Maintain your hot water system
Keeping your hot water system in top shape is a no-brainer during the winter months. Start by checking your water heater. If it’s a tank model, it should be drained at least once a year to remove sediment that accumulates at the bottom.
Inspect the pressure relief valve to ensure it’s functioning correctly. A faulty valve can lead to pressure buildup, reducing efficiency and posing a safety risk. Next, insulate your hot water pipes. This can reduce heat loss as hot water travels from your heater to your taps, making your system more efficient overall.
In most cases, it’s smart not to mess with water heaters yourself, but to call hot water system experts to handle any maintenance and repairs. This will ensure everything is performed with codes and safety in mind.
Invest in smart thermostats
Smart thermostats aren’t just your temperature regulators; they’re your personal heating assistants. Imagine a thermostat that learns when you are home, sets the temperature to your preferred level, and reduces it when you are away to save money and energy.
Imagine how convenient it would be to be able to adjust the temperature in your house using a smartphone, whether you’re relaxing in bed or making your way home from work. These devices are also able to ‘learn’ your habits which is great for optimizing your energy usage and creating personalized heating schedules.
Use window treatments
Window treatments are often overlooked but can play a significant role in improving your home’s heating efficiency. During the day, take advantage of natural sunlight by opening curtains or blinds on south-facing windows.
The sunlight will naturally heat your home, at least to a degree, and reduce the stress on your heating system. In the evening, or during very cold weather, use heavy curtains or blinds to provide an additional layer of insulation. This can help keep the warmth inside and block out the cold.
Thermal curtains, in particular, are designed to insulate windows, trapping heat during the winter and keeping out heat during the summer. If you have older windows that aren’t as efficient, consider using clear plastic film kits.
So there you have it. We hope these easy to implement tips and suggestions will help you ensure a comfortable and cozy living space for you and your family this winter. Stay warm!