With temperatures soaring beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit in many parts of the United States, it seems like winter is the last thing on our minds. However, there is never the wrong season to think about how to keep warm in the winter while keeping the gas bill low.
Many of us perform juggling acts when it comes to staying warm during the winter months, as well as staying within the monthly home heating budget. Let’s review a few proven tips on how to stay warm and keep the heating bill from becoming a runaway financial freight train.
Here Comes the Sun
Take a hint from our canine friends: The sun is our friend in winter. Have you ever noticed how a dog lies directly in sunlight during the coldest months of the year? The reason is the sun exudes a warmth that helps fight against the settling of cold air. Open the drapes and let the sun in next winter to generated natural heat, while not having to turn up the thermostat.
Speaking of the Thermostat
If you have a thermostat, you know the device can be the center of controversy during the colder months of the year. Install a programmable thermostat that automatically changes temperature readings to account for different times during the day. You can set the programmable thermostat at a higher temperature reading when you and your family or at home. During the day, lower the temperature reading to account for an empty house.
Add Insulation in the Attic
You do not need The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore to tell you that warm air rises and cold air sinks. Take advantage of the timeless scientific principle by adding insulation in the attic. By adding insulation in the attic, you will trap the warm air rising from the lower level of your home. Not only will you reduce your gas bill, you will also enjoy improved air quality and a much safer home structure. Insulation does a great job of preventing heat and moisture damage.
Generate Warmth from a Radiant Heating System
Radiant heat transfer is the delivery of warmth from a hot surface through the use of infrared radiation. Think about the warming effect a stovetop produces and you have the fundamental principle behind a radiant heating system. Radiant heating is much more efficient than baseboard heating systems, as well as more energy efficient than forced-air heating systems that require the use of wasteful ducts to circulate warm air. You will also gain more floor space, since you do not have to deal with vents and/or registers.
Close Curtains When the Sun Sets
Now that you have let the sun into your home, take advantage of the natural warmth by closing the curtains at night. After the sun fades into night, you want to trap the warmth generated by the fiery ball in the sky. Double layered curtains are especially effective at trapping the natural warmth generated by the sun.
Do Not Vent in Frustration
What good are heating vents if there are objects blocking the flow of warm air? The answer is no good at all, which means you should perform an inspection of your room to detect any furniture and other large objects that are covering the heating vents. Not only will you enjoy a warmer home, you will also benefit from a more energy efficient heating system. Pay special attention to the heating vents located in high traffic areas of your home, such as the living room and all of the bedrooms.
Close Doors to Stay Toasty Warm
They say never close a door on opportunity, but when you have the opportunity to enjoy winter warmth while keeping the gas bills low, closing doors in your home is the perfect opportunity. Warm air likes to escape to other areas of the home. In many cases, the other areas of your home are low traffic areas that can be warmed by a space heater. Close the doors to the rooms where you do not spend much time to trap the warmth generated in high traffic rooms of your home.
A Fireplace is a Terrible Thing to Waste
A fireplace exudes a romantic ambiance that is the ideal setting for a cold winter night. However, does a fireplace actually generate warmth that keeps your gas bill low? It will be toasty warm near the fireplace, but much of the heat goes straight up the exhaust system. The warm air then meets winter’s icy blast above your home. The net effect for your home is rooms that do not receive any warmth from the fireplace. You can use a glass front for the fireplace to trap more warmth indoors, but as we have seen, there are cheaper ways to keep your home warm in the winter while keeping the gas bill low.
Circulate Warm Air
It is instinctive to give ceiling fans a rest once summer leaves and the chill of autumn enters our homes. Nonetheless, your ceiling fans will act as the warm conduits for the radiant heating system you installed. Moreover, many ceiling fans contain a winter setting that reverses the movement of the fans from counterclockwise to clockwise. Ceiling fans do an outstanding job of spreading warmth in larger rooms.
Seal All Leaks
You know about the air leaks that are cause by cracks along doors and windows. You sealed every one of those leaks, but have you performed an exhaustive inspection of your home to find other sources of cold air leaking into your home? Cold air leaks represent one of most energy wasting issues homeowners face. If you want to make sure every leak is sealed, hire a licensed and certified home improvement contractor to perform the inspection.
How to keep your home warm in the winter while keeping the gas bill low does not require you to install a complex, expensive heating system. By starting with the addition of a radiant heating system, you have established the groundwork for keeping your home warm in winter, without having to dig deep into your pocketbook.
by Emmy Noel