During the colder months is it important to keep as much heat in your home as you can. Yes, to save on electricity, and also to ward off colds and to spend less time visiting the doctor, or waiting in line at the pharmacy for those winter medicines. Lately if you have been watching the temperature drop not only outside your home, but also within your four walls, then this is exactly the thing you need to read.
There are a number of ways to keep toasty at home, and today we will run through six of them. In order to keep snug, you can start by searching out any drafts and blocking them up, by making sure windows seal properly, by using draft stoppers, and eliminating areas that are damp or moldy. Or you might simply have to upgrade your heating system if you aren't getting enough warmth. But let's not waste any more time—let's check out how you can make your cocoon or nest comfortable and balmy this winter.
The primary reason a lot of our homes aren't as warm as they could be, has to do with airflow—mostly where it flows out of. Doors and windows are the main culprits, especially if your property wasn't built within the last century. Most modern homes now have double glazed windows and thick doors that actually do stop warm air escaping. But if you don't, then a simple trick is to put up heavy curtains, especially just inside the front door, to cut off a long hallway, or to use in the living room entrance.
Also make sure you shut any doors to the rooms that aren't in use to keep the heat in the rooms you are using. It's no use heating up the whole place if you are only spending time in one corner!
If your home is prone to mold, or has corners where excess moisture sits, then you may want to invest in a dehumidifier. They are an inexpensive way to reduce the humidity in the air, which increases comfort and health, and are especially useful in bathrooms or rooms with little windows. Not only does a dehumidifier make the air dryer (and warmer), but it also eliminates unpleasant odors (handy for pet owners too).
A good way to tell if you need a dehumidifier is to look for water stains on walls or ceilings. There may also be areas of small black mold spots on walls (typical around the bath or shower areas). Or if you notice condensation frequently on windows, then that means it's time to head to the shops and buy a dehumidifier (your lungs, and allergies will thank you for it).
Insulating windows, or making sure they shut properly is a high priority when it comes to keeping the warm air inside your home (on average, between 10 to 25 percent of a home's heat escapes through its windows alone). Usually the wood used in older windows shrinks with age and wear, and even newer windows can have problems after a short while.
An easy way to tell if your windows do have gaps is to pass a burning stick of incense along edges and see what happens to the smoke. You can also look for cracks on the window pane, or give windows a little shake to see if they rattle. And if you find gaps, then seal them up with a silicon based gel, rope caulk (a putty that can be removed at the end of winter), or even by dabbing clear nail polish into the gap as a temporary solution.
A lot of the time wall-mounted radiators are more capable at heating just one wall, instead of a whole room. So to make the most out of them, you could try adding some radiator reflector panels. These are usually stuck to the wall behind the heater, and bounce the heat from the rear side back into the room.
Heated towel railings are another great addition to (bath)rooms—not only to dry and warm your towel ready for post-shower coziness, but also to generally warm up the room when not in use. These heating and ventilation contractors will also have more tips for you if needed.
If you want to invest some more time and money into staying warm, then underfloor heating might be the way to go. There are two main types: wet (Hydronic) or electric. Both have pros and cons, but generally speaking, a wet system is much more expensive to install, but once up and running, it will be extremely efficient. It is better to install in new houses, since it gets buried under a layer of screed, and the pipe system can be hard to access if there are any problems.
An electric system is much cheaper and easier to install—great if you want to upgrade an existing floor. They require less components and are suited to upper floors as well. The downside to this system is it has high running costs, and you have to be careful placing heavy furniture back once it's finished.
Tough decision, but one worth making if it means having toasty feet in the mornings!
The ultimate way to stay warm this winter, is of course, with a fireplace. Either clean out your existing one and make sure the firewood is chopped and stored well, or building a completely new one!
It can be built into a wall, free standing, integrated into a pillar, or hovering in the middle of the room. There's a thousand ways to include a fireplace into your home, and there's no denying how cozy it feels putting another log on the fire when it's dark and stormy outside.
Check our ultimate fireplace guide out here for some great ideas.