By now, you’ve probably gotten your first abrupt taste of winter’s chill. Fall’s weather is unpredictable, but that first really frigid day is a harsh reality check that you’re completely unprepared for the changing of the seasons. Don’t fret! Dig your coat out of the back closet, grab a steaming cup of hot cocoa and read up on our weekend projects to keep your home warm and toasty without breaking the bank.
Check your Home for Air Leaks
If you find yourself shivering in certain rooms, check your home for leaks (some utility companies even offer incentives for making your home more energy efficient so check with your provider if you qualify!). You can hire someone to do it for you or you can easily do-it-yourself with this neat trick. Light an incense stick, slowly walk around and see if the smoke gets streaky anywhere. Note where the smoke pattern changes and continue checking other rooms.
If you find a leak where two surfaces meet like a door frame, you can keep warmth in with foam weather stripping. If the problem is around a gap or hole, spray insulation is an easy solution. If you have an older home, it may be a worthwhile investment to re-caulk all the window panes as they tend to dry out and shrink over time, letting cold air in. Your local hardware store should be able to help you with any of these projects.
Replace Your Gas or Wood Burning Fireplace with Electric
Plug up that chimney. Counterintuitive, you may ask? Yes, but in actuality up to 60% of your home heating is lost through the flue. Electric fireplaces cost only 8-12 cents an hour to run vs. up to 26 cents an hour for gas or wood. If you’re yearning for the warmth and crackle of a fire, an electric fireplace is a great energy efficient investment to retrofit an existing gas or wood burning mantel. Replacements can be bought as a complete built-in solution so you never have to worry about the mess or safety of real flames ever again, or as a log insert you can pop in and out. Still another option is to invest in a freestanding electric stove which start from just $99 and can provide both ambiance and supplemental heat to anywhere your home needs a little extra warmth without having to crank the thermostat way up.
Insulate Your Windows
If you’ve tried closing and locking the windows and shutting the drapes and your home is still feeling drafty, re-insulating the panes may be a worthwhile investment. Often much cheaper than you may expect, installation kits can be found for less than $5 a window at any local hardware or DIY store. These kits contain clear plastic sheeting, double sided tape and instructions. All you’ll need is household items like a tape measure, scissors and a hair dryer. This is a great weekend project that makes a big impact and is especially effective for attics, basements and garages.
Your Winter Checklist:
- Seal up rooms you don’t use very often to keep the heat where you want it.
- Set your fans to run clockwise, which forces warm air downward.
- Replace your furnace filter and inspect the air ducts for cleanliness.
- Invest in a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
- Bundle up and get ready for the snowball fight of your life!
- Improve your refrigerator, dryer and other appliance efficiency to keep your bills down during this season of higher bills
Facts & Stats:
This post has been supported by Electric Fireplaces Direct. For more information, check out their resource center on Electric Fireplaces Direct or download their free ebook, “The Cure for the Common Cold Room: A Safe & Smart Home Heating Guide.”