Let as much sunlight into your house during the day. From the moment the sun rises to the moment it sets, you want to let as much light and warmth filter in. Even on the coldest days, the sun is warm. If you are going to work or leaving the house all day, open all the curtains and drapes before you leave. Take note of areas in the home that don’t get any sun – you can leave those curtains closed if you prefer.
2. Close Your Curtains After Dark
As the sun begins to set, close all the curtains and drapes to prevent the heat that collected during the day from escaping through the windows. Insulated curtains are ideal for colder climates or if you really can’t stand the cold. If you don’t have curtains, you can hang sheets or other fabric as a temporary measure to add an additional layer of insulation. These temporary curtains can be very useful on the coldest nights.
3. Wood-Burning Fireplaces
While a fire is very romantic and cozy, it doesn’t actually do very much to warm your home. It may be toasty near the fireplace but the remainder of your home is not getting any heat. This is because the heat is being drawn out of the chimney and also because of the stack effect. The stack effects is a physics term which is described in more detail below.
This doesn’t mean you have to give up on your evenings in front of the roaring flames. Use a glass front to your fireplace which will prevent most of the heated air escaping up the chimney. You should notice a difference in warmth in the room and other areas of the house.
Also remember to close the flue and keep it closed when the fire is out. Leaving the flue open is the same as having a window open allowing the cold air in and letting the warm air flow out.
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4. Reverse Switch On Ceiling Fan
If you have a look at your ceiling fan, you will probably find a switch located on the base of the fan. This is the reverse switch which draws air upwards instead of blowing air down. The function is designed for winter use. Hot air rises and the clockwise action (as opposed to counter-clockwise for summer) disperses the warm air and pushes it back down for warmer overall temperature in a room. This is especially important in homes that have domed or high ceilings which trap warm air. There is some debate as to the efficacy of reversing your fan in Winter as the movement may cool the air. Try it on the lowest speed to see if it works for you.
5. Free Your Vents
Your furniture may unknowingly be blocking the vents in your home. Check where the vents in each room are located and move any furniture items that may be preventing the free flow of warm air. If space is an issue or you just prefer your furniture arrangement as it was, make a concession for the colder winter months and some additional warmth. You can always move the furniture back when Spring arrives. Keep in mind that blocking the vents in a central heating system may result in pressure problems that will affect the flow of air throughout the house.
6. The Stack Effect
The stack effect is the way in which air moves in and out of houses and other types of structures creating, in effect, a chimney. As warm air rises, it draws cold air from the outdoors into the home through even the smallest of gaps. This results in negative pressure which in turn causes suction as the warm escapes and needs to be replaced. The effect of course cools the home. The taller the home, the greater the impact of the stack house effect – especially for lower levels where the cold air is being drawn in. Be aware of this effect in double or multi-story homes and buildings.
The best way to eliminate the stack effect is to seal up any gaps where cool air can enter. Doors and windows are the most common source of possible gaps. You can test where there are gaps in your home by using a lit candle. Place the flame near the window or door and if it flickers or leans to one side, there is a gap that is drawing warm air out. Remember that even the smallest crack or gap can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping your home warmer this winter.
Door snakes or door sweeps are great to prevent drafts and warm air escaping under a door during winter. Weather stripping can be used to effectively seal up the spaces between doors or windows and their frame.
7. Seal Cracks And Gaps
Air may also be leaking in or out in other areas of the home such as cracks and gaps that exist due to wear and tear or poor construction. The attic and basement are main contenders for these types of leaks. Check the kitchen hood vent in your home as well. Energystar.gov provides useful information on how to detect leaks and seal them. Tip: Caulking may become your new best friend.