The harsh winds of winter are upon us, forcing many of us to crank up that thermostat. But, before you do, check out these tips for keeping your home warm all winter.
One of the most important things you can do as a homeowner is maintain your furnace. As the temperature drops, make sure your furnace is equipped to run at full efficiency. Many things may have happened since the last time your furnace was used, including possible clogs and deteriorated filters. Changing these filters and checking for a clean exhaust path will ensure that your furnace is reaching its highest efficiency.
If you have a radiator heater in your home, make sure it has plenty of space around it, especially on top. Also, regular cleaning is an important step in making sure your radiator heater is working properly.
Another key factor in keeping your home warm is stopping the cold air from getting in. If you have storm windows, make sure they are installed properly. Screens that are sometimes used in warm weather months can let cold air leak in; switching these out for storm windows eliminates this issue.
A popular trend of winterizing is replacing the weather-stripping around doors and windows. If it has been awhile since you checked your weather-stripping, it may be worn, allowing for cold air to enter the house. This can be replaced by purchasing a weathering kit or even using the ever-useful duct tape. It is also cold enough now to remove or cover a window air conditioning unit, which is often a source of open, cold air.
Other simple tasks include closing off unused rooms upstairs. Heat rises, and closing off these unused areas will keep the heat where you want it. Windows facing south can be cleaned to generate solar heat. Another trick is to drop the thermostat a few degrees for a few hours each night, which can result in a nearly 5% reduction on your heating bill.
If you have decided to use kerosene heat or a fireplace for your home this winter, be careful. These devices need open air around them, unfortunately making an open window a necessity. However, if you are looking to heat a small area, try a small electric heater.