Easy Ways to Make Your Home Warmer

Posted: 11/25/2014

Used with permission © Eternal Image Photography
Here we are, still in November, and the winter winds have already blown in, creating a “polar vortex” that chills to the bone. Even the coziest of homes can seem a bit like a refrigerator in below freezing  temperatures. And turning up the heat means an even larger utility bill—and that’s already hard enough to afford.

A little bit of grunt work can help even the least handy person trap a little more heat in his home over the colder months. Try any (or all) of these tricks.

Thermal Curtains
Windows and doors are the main way that you lose heat in your home. Anything from bad seals to poor insulation or old windows can mean the heat has a clear escape route. While HA Construction can certainly fix leak problems, thermal curtains will help regardless of how snug the seal on your windows is. They’re thick and keep cold air from coming in and warm air from going out. Of course, if you have single-pane windows from the ‘70s, the assistance thermal curtains provides will be hardly noticeable against the draft those windows let in. You’d better start saving up to replace them! In the meantime, a window sealing kit might help too.

Of note, if you have high quality, energy efficient windows, open the curtains on sunny days and let the sunlight assist in warming your home. But as soon as dusk hits, closes those thermals to keep as much of that daytime heat in as possible.

Also, cover the floors. There’s a reason carpet came to be—bare floors suffer heat loss (as you likely know from how cold the floor is in your bathroom after that perfectly pleasant hot shower). It’s not a bad idea to use rugs in the winter months to keep that heat loss down.

Build a Fire
If you have a working fireplace, use it. Though we have a few recommendations to protect your home and family:
  • Have the fireplace cleaned each fall before you put it to use (do it now, if you haven’t already!) – the soot buildup from months of use last year can cause a fire when you light it up again.
  • Use dry, clean wood – if you keep your wood on hand, make sure that it’s stored in a dry place and covered because wet wood causes lots of smoke. And make sure you know where you got the wood from. Any number of exposures can cause the wood to burn differently and increase risk of home fire.
  • Clean out the ash each morning before you build a new fire to prevent build up and decrease risk of out-of-control flames.
  • Make sure there is an adequate amount of tile or other hard surface space in front of your exposed fireplace. Tile and rock don’t burn, but carpet and hardwoods that catch a spark sure will!
And, if you’re fireplace is simply for looks, make sure you install a chimney balloon to close off the open chimney hole and prevent further heat loss.

Block the Draft
Take an old pair of stockings and stuff them full of socks or old, torn up towels, and lay them in front of exterior doors. Regardless of how good you think the seal is, there may still be a draft at the bottom. Also, spend a few bucks on outlet insulators. Have you ever put your hand in front of an outlet on an exterior wall during those cold winter months? Poorly insulated ones will allow cold air in. All you have to do is remove the cover, slide the pre-cut insulator on and reattach the cover. 

And if the seals on windows and doors aren’t great, but you can’t wretch up the funds to do much about it right now, buy adhesive window insulation tape (foam strips that come in rolls, found at any big box store) and run that along the interior seal of doors and the frames around windows.

Protect Your Pipes
Speaking of insulation tape, you may also want to wrap your water pipes in the crawl space, if they’re not already, to help keep them from freezing in the really cold nights. The general rule is to start where the pipe meets the ground and work your way back to where it enters the home. Obviously, the thicker the insulation, the better.

Heat tapeis another option, but use this with caution. Leaving something plugged in under your house, without regular supervision, always carries some risk. But if you pipes freeze frequently, even with insulation, this may be the best alternative.

And, if worse comes to worse and none of these measures seem to help make your home cozy (or at least bearable) during the winter, give Andy at HA Construction a call. He’ll come do an assessment and let you know if something else is sucking the heat out of your home.