If you're like most people, you brace yourself for large electric or heating bills as winter approaches. While increased costs are inevitable, you don't have to spend a small fortune to heat your home when cold weather strikes. In fact, a few little changes can save you a nice chunk of change on your heating costs. Here are four easy, cheap ways to warm up your house in the winter without turning up the heat.
Make Your Own Draft Stoppers
Those cracks under your windows and doors may not seem like much of a problem, but they actually let in a significant amount of cold air. Even worse, they let heat escape from your home, so you can probably imagine the dollars flying out your windows. Reducing airflow at these cracks is easy and cheap to do by making your own draft stoppers. All you need are large tube socks and a few bags of rice.
Fill the sock with rice, stopping at about two inches from the top. Put a rubber band tightly around the top of the sock if you plan to use it again. If not (or if you have little ones crawling around), sew the top of the sock shut. The stitching doesn't have to be pretty—it just has to work! You'll probably need two socks per door or window, depending on the size of the sock.
Draft stoppers are also fairly affordable at most retail stores. But this is a fun activity that your kids can get involved in, and you can make as many as you need for a fraction of the price.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Did you know that your ceiling fans need to change direction in the winter? As you probably learned in science class as a kid, heat rises and cold air settles toward the floor. Draw that air back down to keep you and your family toasty and warm by flipping the switch. You'll usually find this small switch near the top of the ceiling fan.
In winter, the fan should rotate clockwise. Remember to switch it back to counterclockwise in the spring to draw heat away from you. According to Good Housekeeping, this tip can save you 10 percent on your heating bill, and it's free to implement!
Line Your Curtains
If you're a fan of thin, wispy curtains, you may find that they're not much help when Old Man Winter comes along. If buying all new thermal curtains for your main living areas isn't in your budget, there's a simple fix: line your existing curtains. Purchase some fleece or flannel at your local crafts store. You can get your fabric from the bargain bins; you won't be looking at it, after all.
You can either sew the lining onto the back of your curtains or add the fleece as a separate panel behind them, unattached. Leaving them unattached is the simplest solution. All you need to do is sew a simple seam through which you can slide a curtain rod, and place the fleece panel behind and an inch or two below your existing curtains.
Put Curtains Up Over Wide Openings
Speaking of curtains, they're great for closing off large spaces. Most modern homes have large, open living areas that are difficult to heat without cranking up the furnace. Before you touch the thermostat, consider closing off open, unused spaces to keep heat in. For example, if you seldom use your dining room except for formal dinners, put up a large curtain rod and decorative panels over the dining space. Pull them shut whenever that room is not in use. This works especially well if you have cold spots in your house that cause your furnace to work overtime.
For curtains on the cheap, modify existing blankets or sheets by cutting them into panels and hemming along the edge. If you use curtain clips (like those used for shower curtains), you don't even have to sew an area for the curtain rod at the top!
As you can see, you don't have to spend a lot of money to keep your home warm. Simple, cheap changes will help you and your family stay cozy all winter long. If your furnace is having a difficult time heating your house, call professionals like Plumb Pros Plumbing Heating & Drains to do an inspection.