Let the sun shine!
There’s a lot of free heat available from that giant orb in the sky – keep your shutters & blinds open around the areas of your house the sun streams in to let in as much of that free heat as you can during the day. On the flip side of that, make sure you keep your curtains closed at night – this helps keep warm air in your house and for those in a particularly cold area of the country consider insulated curtains.
Wood-burning fireplaces and the stack effect
Wood-burning fireplaces are a great way to stay warm and toasty on a cold night but it’s not an efficient solution for the rest of your home due to something called the stack effect: where the warm air rising in your home will pull in cool air from the outside from any gap it can find – an open flue in your wood-stove, cracks in your door, windows or home exterior. You can light a candle and hold it around doors and windows to see if it flickers, especially during a windy day and that will help tell you if you have a leak that needs sealing.
Close doors for rooms not in use
To keep your home efficient, it’s good to close vents in rooms not in use as well as doors – this acts to lower the energy needed to warm your entire house and instead concentrates your furnace on the needed areas – this will also help save money on your heating bill.
Space Heaters – But Caution!
Space heaters are a great tool for keeping certain rooms warm however they are a fire hazard risk and must be used with caution – they account for about 30% of all heating-related house fires. Keep any flammable material at least 3 free away and make sure the space heater is on an even and stable surface. Never, ever leave space heaters on during the night or if you leave the home. It’s highly recommended to use the kind of space heaters that shut off when tipped over. Here are a handful with “automatic shutoff features” from Home Depot.
Keep the humans warm!
Another great way of staying warm AND saving money on your heating bill this winter is to just knock it down a few notches and put on some cozy sweatpants and sweaters – get some hot cocoa, tea and blankets and put the money you’ll save on your energy bill towards a family vacation – you’ll definitely want it once it’s below 20 degrees for several weeks at a time in the DC area this winter!