Tips for a warmer home this winter

Tips for a warmer home this winter
Using these tricks will keep the hot air in and maximize heat flow within your home.

Many aspects of winter, such as snow and ice, can be shut out by a strong roof and closed windows. Cold, however, is more tenacious. It creeps into your home any way it can, even with everything battened down and your home's heater running.

The good news is that steps can be taken to hamper winter chill's home invasion. These tricks will keep the hot air in and maximize heat flow within your home.

Get the right shades
We're talking about windows here, not sunglasses. The Department of Energy recommended dual shades because they can be used to either take in or push back heat, depending on the season. One side is reflective while the other is absorbent. In winter, keep that lighter reflective surface turned inward. This will allow the outward-facing dark side to absorb what heat there is.

Shades should also be hung as close to the window glass as possible. What you're trying to accomplish here is a second seal that will help reduce any leakage that the window could conceivably have.

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Seal the cracks and gaps
Open space, especially around doors and windows, can lead to warm air lost. This Old House stated that door sweeps should be installed under all exterior doors. This will stop cold air (which generally hugs the ground) from drifting in. Windows that will remain shut can be temporarily caulked, closing off any potential openings.

Really, the idea of shutting in the heat goes beyond windows and doors. Chimneys and rooms that are not used frequently can be closed off during the winter months. You're trying make your house as airtight as possible.

Use tin foil to reflect the heat
In 2013, The Guardian wrote a detailed piece on how placing tin foil behind radiators could help seal in heat. In the years since, this home tip has been verified by other sources – as long as it is done a certain way. Running silver tin foil down the wall behind your radiator will reflect otherwise useless heat back into your house. The foil can be molded onto a substance like cardboard so you don't damage your walls. Simply slide the foil-covered piece of cardboard behind your radiator. 

Ideally place a space heater
If you have a room that, despite all efforts, still can't lose that chill then it's time to bring out the big guns. Purchasing a space heater is the best solution for obliterating a stubborn cold spot. These mobile units work best when placed in corners or near walls – maybe under a window – where cold air may be leaking in. In essence, the heater will warm the air before it ever reaches you. Just be sure to place your space heater a safe distance from things like curtains and furniture.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try using a programmable thermostat to find a more efficient way to heat your home – but the jury is still out on how effective these solutions really are. The best course of action is likely the simplest. Take what steps you can to reflect the heat in and seal the cold out.  


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