In Canada (specifically Ontario), winter is frigid and dark, and seems inescapable! To make things more “miserable,” the cost of heating our homes climbs every year and it’s not cheap. There must be a way to save money and still keep the house at a comfortable temperature, right? Let’s have a look at some tips to try to keep the cold out, the heat in, and your energy bill down so that you can enjoy the season and worry a little less about the expense of heating your home!
Area rugs are often used as a design element in a room as they add colour and style while bringing a space together. During the cold, winter months, they can also serve another important purpose! Incorporating an area rug to your rooms will add an extra layer of insulation to the floor, trapping the cool air underneath and blocks it from seeping up and dropping the temperature of the room.
CLOSE THE WINDOWS
No matter the age of your home, you will at some point have to deal with drafty windows, doors and attics that allow cold air in and draw the heated air out. It is very important inspect these areas and seal up any leaks to keep the heat inside. Not sure where to start? Check the weather-stripping around your windows and doors, and replace if it appears shabby. Next, check for any leaks where heated air can seep into an unfinished attic space. Once you’re done sealing those up, considering investing in full-length window drapes, look for those that are made with a wool-cotton blend. These drapes will help insulate a room from the cold air seeping through the windows.
High ceilings are wonderful and all, of course, but they can definitely increase your heating bill as the warm air rises to the top of the room, leaving you with cooler air at ground level. Not to mention it will take twice as long to heat the larger space. If you have a ceiling fan, change the direction of the blades in order for it to push the air downward. Circulating warm air back through the room will heat the room more evenly and ease the effort of your furnace.
Fireplaces are excellent sources of heat and can very quickly warm a room up but, fireplaces do have their own drawbacks too. Similar to air leaks in drywall and unfinished attic spaces, a fireplace damper that’s left open when not in use, is the easiest way that heated air escapes and allows cold air to funnel into your home. Make sure you close the damper after every use and, more importantly, make sure you open it up again before you intend to use it.
WHAT’S THAT PINK STUFF?
Insulation is probably the most important piece of the puzzle in order to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. To save some money, make sure you have the proper level of insulation in the attic and between the inside walls. All insulation has an R-value measured by the amount of heat allowed to pass through it. The higher the value, the less likely heat will escape, resulting in lower energy bills. Heat rises and easily escapes through an attic if the space is not properly insulated. If you decide to buy the lower-end insulation, you’ll be balancing out the cost when you receive your heat bill (every month). I would suggest investing in the stuff with the higher R-value as it is a one-time cost, it’ll save you more money in the long run.
It is definitely tempting to set your thermostat at a comfortable 20-23 degrees during the winter months, but this is definitely going to boost your energy expenses. The lower the setting, the more savings you will receive. Consider dressing in warmer clothes and some slippers to stay warm, who doesn’t like being cozy right? With that being said, you might also wish to consider setting the thermostat to an even lower temperature overnight, while you’re in bed under the covers. Don’t forget to turn the thermostat down if you go on holiday or are out for a few days, but not too low as you don’t want your pipes to freeze!
Learning how to heat your home more efficiently is the best way to take control of your heating costs. Having adequate insulation in the attic, heavy window treatments and an extra rug on the floor will surely help to keep your rooms warm without breaking the bank. Even if you decide to implement only a few of these tips, that’s ok because any option is better than paying high heating costs!