With winter just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about how you can prepare your home for the colder months ahead. Predictions of rapidly rising energy prices (as much as 34%!) are a sign that we all need to be extra vigilant about conserving heat this winter. Here are 7 tips to help you keep the cold out and stay warm all winter long.
1. Seal off your windows
A drafty window is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to heat loss in the home, especially in older homes with single-pane glass. Use weather-stripping or caulk to seal any gaps around your windows and doors. You can also put up plastic film to create an extra barrier against the cold.
2. Put a draft blocker in front of your doors
A draft blocker is a simple and inexpensive way to keep cold air from coming into your home through gaps at the bottom of your doors. Just place it on the floor in front of a drafty door to keep the chill out.
3. Cover your outside hose attachment
If you have an outdoor faucet, make sure to cover it with an insulating cover to prevent freezing pipes. This simple $10 investment will help you avoid the hefty price of repairing an unexpected pipe burst next Spring.
4. Get an electric blanket or hot water bottle
Spare your bed-sharing partner from the torture of your frozen footsies on their backside by snuggling up to a hot water bottle instead. Use an electric kettle for instant boiled water, and tuck your new hot water bottle bestie inside a soft insulated sleeve to keep warm for even longer.
5. Never run a space heater in a closed room.
Space heaters can be dangerous if they’re not used properly, and those warning labels aren't merely decorative. Space heaters cause 1,700 house fires in the US every year, and some models shouldn't be used in closed spaces due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
While modern space heaters are an efficient way to conserve energy by concentrating the warmth in a small space, check the user manual for safety warnings and never leave them running unattended.
6. Use your oven to heat up the house.
Did you know that your oven can double as a space heater? When you’re finished baking, leave the oven door open for a while to let the heat out into the rest of the house. Just be sure to keep an eye on it so that pets or small children don’t accidentally come in contact with a hot oven.
7. Automate your home
A Nest thermostat can save you money by automatically turning down the heat when you’re away from home, and back up to a comfortable temperature just before you arrive.
Timer outlets are a great way to ensure lights and other devices aren't left on when they're not in use. Get an outdoor timer for holiday lights, or use an indoor timer to automate lamps in your living room or office.
8. Dress in layers
As a kid, you may have rolled your eyes whenever mom told you to put on socks, but wearing multiple layers of clothing is one of the best ways to stay warm without turning up the heat too high.
Multiple thin layers under a thick sweater are a good foundation to start with, and you can always double up on socks for extra coziness. It's also good to keep your head covered with a knit cap or hoody to minimize escaping body heat...or just embrace being a blanket burrito this winter season.
9. Keep curtains closed at night
Another easy way to reduce heat loss in your home is by keeping curtains closed at night. Blackout drapes will help block drafts and keep heat from escaping through windows. Upgrade your window treatments with smart motorized curtains that let the sunlight in during the day without you having to lift a finger (or fight with those annoying window blind strings).
By following these simple tips, you can prepare your home for winter before the cold sets in. Sealing off your windows and doors, covering your outside hose attachments, and dressing in layers are all great ways to keep yourself and your home warm all winter long without spending a fortune on energy bills. So don't wait until it's too late—start preparing today!