You don’t have to spend too much on your heating bills to keep your house warm during winter. In fact, there are different ways to prepare your home so you won’t have to suffer the cold weather. We spoke with the experts who shared different ideas on how to keep house warm during the cold season.
Here are the top 21 ways to keep your house warm during winter:
1. Insulate Outlets on Exterior Walls
Eric Worral, Marketing Director, RentPrep
Heat loss can occur through a variety of ways, and electrical outlets can be a hidden killer. On a cold windy day, hold the back of your hand up to an outlet that is installed on a wall that has windows. If you can feel cold air, you’ll know you’re losing heat and money. The solution is sometimes referred to as socket sealers or outlet insulating kits. They’re about two dollars apiece and even cheaper if bought in bulk. This will install underneath the faceplate and will quickly add up in savings.
2. Install Double-Pane Windows
Than Merrill, CEO & Founder, FortuneBuilders
While installing double-pane windows will come with an upfront cost, the upgrade will save homeowners money in the long run due to their energy efficient qualities. In fact, double-paned windows can reduce energy usage by up to 24 percent during cold winters. Keep in mind, however, that quality matters when it comes to energy-efficient windows. Poorly manufactured seals or improperly spaced glass can lead to leaks, nullifying energy savings altogether. But, if you want to keep your home or investment property warm all winter long without having to run the heater 24/7, double-paned windows are your answer.
3. Upgrade Your Roof’s Insulation
Kershan Bulsara, Manager, Roofmaster Ottawa
Upgrade your roof’s insulation to keep your home nice and warm during the winter. You can crank your furnace up all you want, but if your roof is poorly insulated, that heat will escape and leave you with a massive heating bill. With heat escaping, your home never reaches the desired temperature on the thermostat, so the furnace just keeps pumping out hot air, to no avail. At the same time, without proper roof insulation, cold air can enter your home during the colder months from outside. It’s critical to make sure your roof is insulated correctly when looking into temperature optimization upgrades for your home.
5. Eliminate the Source of Drafts from Outside
Welmoed Sisson, MD Home Inspector & ASHI Certified Inspector, Inspections by Bob, LLC
One easy way to increase your home’s comfort level is to track down and eliminate the sources of drafts from outside. You can do this by turning on all the bath vents and kitchen vents, and using a stick of incense to spot where the air is getting in. Common culprits are around doors, door frames, windows and frames, and electrical outlets on exterior walls. Fixing these draft sources will greatly increase the comfort level inside the house.
6. Update or Upgrade Your Windows
Brian Gow, President, Scheel Window & Door
If your windows are old and dated, they most likely have low thermal performance. Old single and double-pane windows can often allow too much interior heat to percolate outside. Frost can become a nuisance as well, as it can eventually lead to mold if it lingers along wooden frames. Upgrading might be your best option. New window designs have higher thermal performance and better insulation to keep the heat inside and the cold air outside. You can also get triple and quadruple weather-stripping on windows to improve thermal performance, which also helps lower your utility bills.
7. Replace Your Furnace with a Higher-Efficiency Unit
Erin Davis, Lead Designer, Mosaik Design & Remodeling
As the weather cools, simple home improvements can increase efficiency in your home and make it more comfortable. One way to do this is by replacing your furnace with a quiet, high-efficiency unit, which typically includes tax rebates. Also, make sure to replace your furnace filters regularly, at least every three months or so. Old filters can get clogged and decrease efficiency as well as the lifetime use of the unit. A local HVAC contractor should be able to provide a home performance test on your house and suggest remedies that stop the drafts for good.
8. Maintain Your Windows & Doors
Kevin Tennant, Franchisee, Glass Doctor
Window and door maintenance is a great way to keep the heat in and the cold out. Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows. Use a high-quality brand that stays sealed. Check and replace as needed for all current weather stripping around windows and door frames to prevent heat loss. Seal the air leaks around chimneys and keep your flue closed when not having a fire. Also, replace screen doors with storm doors, and store the screens until the weather warms up. Do the same with screen windows.
9. Install Heating Controls in Your Home
Nick Stokes, Main Editor, HeatWhiz
To help keep your house warm during the winter, it’s a good idea to install heating controls in your home. These will not only allow you to control the temperature in your house, but heating controls also usually come with a timer that will allow you to enjoy a warm home as soon as you get home from work. At the same time, you will save money by programming your heating unit to turn off while you’re not home.
10. Turn on the Fan
Richard Ciresi, Franchise Owner, Aire Serv
Recirculate warm air after it rises to the ceiling by running your fan on its lowest setting in a clockwise direction. This will push warm air back down, keeping your room comfortably warm even during the winter.
11. Invest in a Variable Speed Heat Pump
John Judd Jr, Co-Owner, Judd Builders
One not-so-common tip to keep your house warm during winter is to invest in a variable speed heat pump. A great way to explain the efficiency is describing it like a car’s gears. Instead of being on or off, it shifts to automatically adjust while maintaining consistency to avoid drastic temperature changes. A variable speed heat pump will also give your heating and cooling systems more longevity. Another solution to help keep homes warm in the winter is retrofitting your attic or crawl space with spray foam insulation. All of the new homes we build have spray foam insulation, which helps keep temperatures consistent and reduces the use of heating and cooling units compared to fiberglass insulation.
12. Open Your Blinds on South-Facing Windows to Let the Sun In
Arthur Murray, Managing Editor, Choose Energy
One easy way to stay warm during the cold winter is to make use of the best furnace there is—the sun. Open your blinds and/or curtains on south-facing windows to let the sunshine in. It will naturally raise the temperature of the room, keeping it more comfortable.
13. Use a Humidifier
Patrick Holmes, Indoor Air Quality Specialist, Home Air Quality Guides
The more moisture there is the air, the warmer it feels. By running an inexpensive humidifier, you can raise the humidity levels inside a room to warm it up. With a humidifier, you’ll find that you don’t have to raise your thermostat as high, and this can save you a considerable amount of money each month on your heating bill.
14. Prevent & Seal Leaks in Your Home’s Ductwork
Ken Summers, Co-Founder, Comfort Institute
Do rooms in your house stay uncomfortably cold no matter how high you turn up the thermostat? Leaks in your home’s ductwork can keep heated air from reaching intended destinations. A new technology from the U.S. Department of Energy makes effective duct sealing simple. Sprayed inside the ductwork, the computerized sealing process quickly finds leaks throughout the entire duct system, even parts hidden behind walls or wrapped in insulation. The DOE ranks aerosol duct sealing as one of the best ways to stay warm while reducing energy costs. The average cost for this is around $1,200.
15. Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing
Glenn Gallas, Vice President of Operations, Mr. Rooter Plumbing
Keep your house warm by preventing your pipes from freezing. To do this, allow a small trickle of cold water to run from your faucet. This will keep water moving in your pipes, preventing it from getting frozen. Make sure to open under-sink cabinet doors to keep warm room air circulating around pipes. External openings such as basement doors, windows, and crawl spaces should be sealed with weather stripping, caulk, and sealant. Take the time before the first freeze of the season to drain the sprinkler system. Also, disconnect, drain, and store all hoses and exterior water spigots.
16. Construct Your Homes with Thin-Shell Monolithic Concrete
David Pressler, President, DRD Enterprises Inc
Thin-shell monolithic concrete homes have no air leaks and once encapsulated with closed cell roofing foam on the exterior, the interior remains a constant 76-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is the main factor in a tightly-sealed home, and it keeps the room comfortably warm. Also, only a minimum amount of energy is required to warm an air-tight home. Initially, the use of small individual units for both cooling and heating will be utilized in each room.
Whether you’re using a furnace or a heat pump, make sure to have your heating system checked before the cold season begins. According to Kelley Brothers, it’s best to ensure that your heating system is in good running condition before you need to use it. You don’t want to be caught by surprise and find out it doesn’t work as efficiently as it should when the cold months have already begun.
Wadler Bros. Inc. reminds homeowners to be mindful of the furniture arrangement. Make sure to not block the vents so the heat won’t have a hard time circulating around the room. Assess your layout so it can help the vents efficiently deliver warm air to every space in your home.
According to Lifehack, placing a draft excluder, which looks like a tube, at the bottom of your door helps prevent the heat from escaping and the cold air from entering. This is another way to ensure your house is comfortably warm during the winter. Draft excluders are best placed underneath the front door and doors leading to your garage.
BT.com recommends an unusual way to keep your home warm: putting aluminum foil on the wall behind your radiators located under the windows. Make sure to stick the shiny side toward the radiator, as this allows the heat to bounce back into the room rather than escaping out of the window.
Boston.com suggests that planting trees in the right location can help keep your home warm during the cold months. Plant an evergreen tree on the northern side of your house—it can prevent some of the cold winds from coming in. Also, expose the southern side of your house to as much sun as possible. The best tree to plant on the southern side of the yard is the one that loses its leaves in the winter, such as a maple tree.
Winter is just a few months away, but you still have enough time to prepare your home and invest in things to keep your abode comfortably warm without ramping up your heating bill. If you’re looking for ingenious ways to keep your house warm during the cold season, the above expert tips are a great way to get started.