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How To Keep Your House Warm In The Winter

Holly Shuffett5-minute read
October 12, 2022

With winter comes beloved traditions and activities, like sipping cocoa while watching your favorite movies or cozying up by the fire. To get your home ready for all your favorite festivities, it’s important to winterize it. 

Enhancing the thermal comfort of your home won’t just improve your day-to-day enjoyment, but it’ll make your wallet happy, too. Here are some ways to improve the insulation and airtightness of your house and keep it warm in the winter. 

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10 Ways To Keep Your House Warmer In The Winter 

Whether you’re perpetually cold or you bask in the first snowfall of the season, outfitting your home to retain heat is an essential part of responsible homeownership. Properly sealing your home won’t just keep things cozy, it will also save you money down the road. Follow this guide to make sure your home is ready to take on the change in seasons. 

1. Perform Furnace Maintenance 

It’s important to keep your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in optimal condition. Broken or uncared for HVAC systems can leave your home just as chilly on the inside as it outdoors – even if your home is adequately insulated and sealed. 

To avoid costly repairs or replacements in your future, we suggest you:

  • Hire an HVAC servicer to perform a pre-winter tune-up, identify any potential problem areas and make sure your system is ready for the winter 
  • Stay up to date with your regular maintenance, including changing air filters, gently vacuuming in and around heating equipment and keeping the area around your heating system clean and clutter-free 

2. Ensure Proper Insulation 

One of the most important ways to winterize your home is through proper insulation. Insulation slows conductive heat flow which keeps the cold air out of your home and the warm air inside of it. 

 

And since hot air rises, attic ventilation and insulation is of the utmost importance. You’re paying to heat your living space, not to let hot air escape from your attic and roof. Combat this issue by adding more insulation to your attic. A professional energy audit can help you determine if your current insulation is adequate or if some reinforcement should be your next home project. 

 

For any wall insulation needs, you’ll likely need the help of a professional. But when adding to your attic’s insulation, you may be able to DIY some of the work. Loose fill and batt insulation are the most common attic insulation solutions and are relatively easy for a layperson to handle. Just be sure to keep insulation far from anything that could pose a potential fire hazard, and to wear personal protective gear, like goggles and a dust mask, to avoid irritation. 

3. Seal Or Replace Windows 

During warmer seasons it’s normal to crack open a window for fresh air. But when it’s cold outside, inviting cool air in and letting warmth escape is the last thing you want. Go one step further than simply closing your windows: make sure they’re properly sealed. 

 

On a cold or windy day, use the back of your hand to feel around the frame of each window and identify where leaks are located. You can also use the smoke from an incense stick or visible vapor from a portable humidifier. Slowly move the incense or humidifier along the window frame to see where a draft may be coming in. 

 

Once you have a gap or leak identified, caulking and weatherstripping will be your cheapest and easiest solutions. Looking for something more permanent? Consider investing in energy-efficient window replacements

 

The Department of Energy deems 25% – 30% of residential heating and cooling usage as wasted energy due to window leaks. Not only can energy-efficient windows help prevent heat loss in your home, but updated windows may also be able to up your home’s value.

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4. Plug Smaller Leaks 

Windows aren’t the only place where air can escape from your home. Cold drafts can creep inside through cracks around exterior doors, attic hatchways, garages or other non-conditioned spaces. Even doggy doors could be letting out precious warm air. 

Do a walk-through of your home to find vulnerable areas and weatherstrip or caulk appropriately. Generally speaking, if it feels cold to the touch, that area probably needs some attention. Some more low-effort solutions that can still improve your home’s energy efficiency include using draft stoppers or foam gaskets. 

5. Utilize Curtains 

You can also improve the performance of your windows by swapping out lightweight curtains for thermal curtains during the colder months of the year. Thermal curtains are made of a thick, heavy foam that provides additional insulation to minimize drafts. Keep them open during the day to let sunlight stream in and warm up your living spaces. Close them overnight to keep that heat in and cold air out. 

6. Install A Programmable Thermostat 

What’s one of the best parts of energy efficient habits? They usually go hand-in-hand with saving money. Programmable or smart thermostats are one such tool that can help you achieve both. 

With the ability to adjust your thermostat from your phone, even if you’re out and about, or technology which learns your schedule and adjusts accordingly, you’re more likely to turn on the heat at optimal times and avoid wasting energy and help lower your electric bill

7. Rearrange Furniture 

Having proper air circulation plays a pivotal role in how warm your space feels. Locate the vents and radiators in your home to ensure that they’re free of clutter or bulky furniture. You want warm air to have an obstruction-free path into your rooms during the winter, so consider rearranging some furniture to optimize air circulation. 

8. Cut Back On Fireplace Use 

What better way to keep warm than with a cozy fire? While fireplaces are a great source of warmth, if you aren’t properly maintaining your chimney, cold air may be able to easily enter your home. Combat this by using a chimney damper or fireplace insert to prevent heat loss and improve circulation. 

9. Reverse Ceiling Fans 

Turning the fans on in the winter? It’s true that during warm seasons, ceiling fans move in a counterclockwise fashion to create a cool breeze. But the Department of Energy recommends reversing the motor and using ceiling fans on the lowest setting during colder months. A clockwise direction will produce a mild updraft, forcing warm air which has risen back down into your living space.

10. Use Shower Steam

There’s no better time for a hot shower than on a blustery winter day. Make the most of your steamy shower. Don’t just warm yourself up, but your home too. Leave the bathroom door cracked to let some steam spread into the bedroom or throughout the house. An added bonus is it helps mitigate dry air in winter as well.

The Bottom Line 

Keeping your home warm during colder months can be achieved by properly winterizing your home by following the tips above. When your home is properly insulated and sealed, not only will your space feel cozier, but you’ll also save money in precious energy costs. 

If you’re looking to replace or upgrade your heating system, insulation or windows, apply for financing today through Rocket LoansSM

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Holly Shuffett

Holly Shuffett is a staff writer who writes with a focus on homeownership and personal finance. She has a B.A. in public relations from Oakland University and enjoys creative writing and reading in her free time.