Tips for Conserving Heat in the Winter
Winter is here. Some parts of the world are already experiencing massive snowfall and are underprepared, while others are steadily dropping in temperature and enduring the first harsh reaches of cold weather. It’s something most of the world has to deal with in some way, big or small, so it’s something we should be used to. But does it feel like each year gets a little colder?
This isn’t about climate change, but about your own personal climate control. Heating bills are on the rise but heating quality may stay the same, or even get worse over time with equipment degradation. If you’re feeling the chill a bit more than usual, consider these tips to keep your home warm without breaking the bank or burning it down with a hand-made fire.
Heating systems are fixtures in modern houses that we can’t do without. They provide warm air to every, or any, room in the house. Smart technology has also been implemented so that rooms can detect heat individually, and individual rooms can be set to different temperatures so you never have to fear the icy-cold bathroom floor in the middle of the night. But these systems are mechanical, and prone to wear and tear. They have many moving, electrical parts, whether they are electric or gas or oil powered you need to keep them well maintained with at least annual check-ins or have some handyman knowledge yourself to keep them functional.
If something feels a little off, call your heating company or a local alternative before the weather gets bad. You don’t want to be snowed in and seeing your breath in your own home waiting for the roads to get plowed so a repairman can tell you what parts they need to order. Fix any problems early before it gets too cold.
The main way heat leaves a home is through the walls. Homes that go through different seasons need to be built to maintain stable temperatures regardless of the season itself. As such, they are designed to keep some heat in for the winter, but let most heat escape in the summer to stay cool. If your house is especially old, or particularly new, you may want to consider getting your insulation checked. Having good insulation provides a passive solution to conserving and preserving heat inside the home.
Getting the right kind of insulation installed before the weather starts to shift for the worse will help keep your home warm all winter, and when the snow melts away and the sun shines in the spring and summer, it will also keep you cool without needing to power your air conditioner non-stop.
Speaking of an air conditioner, if you have an outdoor unit, you might want to cover it up for the winter. Or if you have an in-window or standing unit, it might be time to put them away. It’s a chore, to be sure, but you don’t want those cracks in the window to let cold air in. Having just one window not properly sealed can drop the temperature for the room its in, and the entire house, quickly. No amount of tape is good enough to fully seal it. Windows are designed to be shut and air-sealed as well as opened to let in a breeze.
Control Your Thermostat
It may sound a bit odd in a way to conserve your heating for the winter, but don’t blast your thermostat all the way up. In fact, you might want to consider turning it down a little, at least at night. Lower temperatures can lead to more relaxed sleeping. And if you’re breaking out the thick comforter blankets to sleep under, you’ll warm up easily.
If you’re feeling cold but also feeling a bit light in the wallet and want to conserve your electric bill along with conserving your heat, you can always bear the cold with some thicker layers. It’s tempting to just go around in pajamas or skivvies when you’re at home, alone, relaxing, but it’s also chilling. Put on some sweatpants instead of shorts and a long sleeve shirt or sweater on colder days. Keep the thermostat in the mid-70s to keep the heater from running itself too much.
The sun is a natural source of light and heat for most of the year. Even in the winter we can get days of pure, blinding white as the sun comes down over snow covered roads and fields. And that’s just what we want. When the sun is out, open up the curtains and enjoy the light. With proper winter-treated windows, you won’t be letting in the cold through the glass, only the light as it warms up the house.
And to keep the house hot, lay down some rugs or temporary carpet across any hard, flat surface. Carpet traps heat easier than wood or tile. You don’t have to go crazy and carpet your bathroom, but a few rugs here and there will make a huge difference where you’re not stepping over icy-cold surfaces. Remember, heat rises, which means the floor will always be the coldest, but it doesn’t have to be that cold. Keep the heat around for longer by giving it something easier to warm.
It might be time for you to upgrade your HVAC system. Or perhaps just one part of it. Having a new control panel will give you more options and better control over how your home stays heated. Contact your air conditioner company and see what kind of Smart technology they can fit you with before you need to worry.