It's wintertime and it's cold out, so you're worried about your heating bills. Naturally, you can bundle up inside the house to keep the thermostat down, but there are some other things that you can do to help your home stay warm for the winter.
Use Curtains...And Bubble Wrap
Windows and doors account for 25% of your home's heat loss, so covering the gaps around windows and doors is important.
Thick, heavy curtains are wonderful at keeping out the winter chill, but only if you use them correctly. You want to keep them tightly closed to insulate the rooms of your house against air that's leaking around the windows, but you still need to open them whenever the winter sun is on them. That way you get the benefit of the sun's heat to help warm up your house.
One solution that can help keep air leakage to a minimum, but still allow the sun to shine in: use bubble wrap instead of regular plastic. The air pockets that make up the bubbles will retain thermal heat for a while, even after the sun is gone.
Put Up A Shelf...And Maybe Some Tin Foil
When warm air comes out of your vents it tends to move skyward, since heat rises. This means that the ceiling of your living room is warmer than the floor.
A way to combat that is to put a shelf or table above the heater, which will force the air to move in a different direction, into the room. If your home has radiators on external walls you're losing a lot of your heat right through the walls. Heavy tin foil, strategically placed behind the radiator tubes, can reduce the problem by reflecting the heat back into the room and preventing it from just dissipating.
Tune Up Your Furnace...Or Replace It
You should vacuum out the area around your furnace's blower and clean the vents at least twice a year, at both the beginning and the end of the cold season. Keeping the blower and vents clean means that more warm air gets directly to you, rather than trapped inside the air ducts where it isn't doing any good.
However, your furnace can really benefit with an annual inspection and tuneup (from professionals such as Bristol Heating & Air Conditioning) to make sure that it doesn't have any obvious problems. A service technician will:
- make sure that the thermostat is operating properly
- lubricate all moving parts
- inspect the heat exchanger for corrosion
- make sure that the burner properly ignites
- make sure that the drainage system is clear
- clean the blower wheel
- examine the wiring for damage
- perform a temperature rise check
If your furnace is more than 15 years old, however, you should start planning to replace it with a newer, high-efficiency model. Newer furnaces are able to heat your home easier and contribute to a lower overall energy bill.
Doing a few simple things can make a big difference when it comes to keeping the warm air in your home and the cold air out!