It really is freezing as temperatures drop to single digits, and the first thing we do is to turn on the heaters. In the back of our minds we are all too aware of the escalating energy costs and the large energy bill we will be receiving. Keeping your home warm, efficient and sustainable this winter is possible. Here is how:
Ways to Keep Your Home Warm, Efficient and Sustainable This Winter
There are 3 different ways to improve the heat in your home namely, the cheap, moderate to expensive – and the expensive way.
Cheap ways to increase the heat in your home
Most of us will look at the cheaper ways we can improve our homes heating.
Our behaviour could result in having warmer homes or bodies without having to fork out a cent. A few of these may be common sense to some, but as they focus on energy conservation rather than energy efficiency, they are worth mentioning:
2. Dress warmly
Wearing thermals, woolly socks and a hat will ensure that you can increase your own body temperature by 2 degrees without having to dress like a snowman.
3. Close doors
Reduce the areas where the cold can seep into.
4. Be Active
Getting your blood circulating early on will increase your body’s natural temperature with at least 1 degree. If this means doing a bit of exercising before you get dressed, why not do it if it will keep your body temperature up throughout the day?
5. Use a hot water bottle
Great to use and the heat lasts quite long.
Add blankets to help insulate you when you are in bed or watching TV. Don’t forget those woolly socks, thermal underwear and beanies.
7. Ceiling fans
Hot air rises and therefore switching your ceiling fan to ‘warm’ will assist in pushing the hot air down again. You could help increase the temperature with 1 degree and save up to $80 in total energy costs.
8. Seek the sun
Areas in the home which receive natural sun light should be utilised. Open curtains to soak the heat into the house even if you are at work all day. On the other hand, ensure that curtains remain drawn if they do not receive any sun as these curtains will keep out some cold air.
9. Lower the temperature of your hot water
Because it is so cold outside our bodies are more sensitive to heat. Just think of climbing into a bath with frozen toes. The same temperature was easier to climb into during summer times compared to during winter. Point is that you probably bath or shower in cooler water than when you do in summer, so turn those geysers down.
Here are some tips to ensure a more energy efficient home:
1. Seal up those gaps
This is the first and most important step to take to ensure your home is efficient in preventing cold air from seeping in. Draft seal all the little cracks and gaps in the home. Look at sealing window frames and doors and any other gaps you may found around the house such as those caused by air conditioners. Use brush-strip, woven pile self adhesive strips or ‘door snakes’. A caulking gun can be used to seal up any little gaps you may find, so ensure you look down low and up high. Using a damp cloth to wipe away overfill will spare you the work later. Simple cardboard and bluetack will work great for air conditioner covering.
2. Cover the floors
Floors often allow cool air to seep into one’s home. Ensure you use floor coverings such as carpets and rugs to help prevent warm air escaping and cold air to seep in. Woolly carpets/rugs are the best to use but will ensure your home is kept warm. If you don’t have any yet, this might be a little expensive to purchase at first.
3. Dress your windows
Ensure your windows are covered with heavy curtains, especially from the pelmets to the floor. It is a proven fact that heavy curtains are allot more rigid in keeping out cold air. Proper curtaining will add a definite 2 degrees to your home. Having covered pelmets adds to keeping the house warm and snug. It prevents warm air from being soaked up, over and behind the curtain by a natural thermal current, only to have the cooled air seep back into the room underneath the curtains. A cheaper option instead of pelmets might be to try and install cellular blinds over the windows, but it will not be as effective.
Moderate to Expensive Ways to Keep Your House Warm
There is always the option of implementing a more drastic measure to ensure your home is kept warm, efficient and sustainable during winter.
1. Cover the floors
Same as point 2 above but could be rather expensive if you have to purchase them first time around. 100% Wool work best and can be very pricey.
Having a thermostat simply helps the owner control the heat in the home. With every 1 degree being the difference of adding or reducing 10% of your energy bills.
3. Insulate your walls, floors, doors and ceilings
If your house remains cold no matter how you have tried to improve it, you may want to invest in insulating the walls of your home as well. Ceilings, doors and floors are another option and could mean the difference of 2 degrees in your home. Use only reputable service providers.
Extreme and Pricey Options
There are some extreme ways to permanently ensure that your home is kept warm, efficient and sustainable during winter. These are seen as a long term investment and they could include:
1. Double laminate or glazing of windows
When going this route ensure you opt for timber, uPVC or thermally broken aluminium as cheap aluminium frames will still let cold air through. Also remember that you do not have to insulate all the rooms this way. This method can add to a 2 degrees temperature increase.
2. Renovate your home
Some individuals may find that some part of the house is naturally warmer than the rest. Renovations by turning such a room in to a cosy winter lounge may be an option for some. Ensuring your house is more energy sufficient during the renovation planning will be optimal, and could increase the temperature by a whopping 5 degrees.
3. Buy or build a green house
Some may even have the ability to afford in building their own homes. Build your house so that it includes principles of solar design, proper insulation and doesn’t require any artificial cooking or heating.
The bottom line is that you can make your home much warmer by investing in quality products and materials first time. By ensuring a behaviour change during chilly winters, you can still obtain a warm and cosy home without having to fork out too much money.
This article was written by Timothy Ng. You can read more of his work at http://www.creditcardfinder.com.au/ where he has a number of comprehensive guides including tips for paying bills with your credit card.