There’s no place like a warm home for the holidays, and there are a number of easy and inexpensive ways to keep it that way. There are things that will cost you nothing (such as changing the direction of your ceiling fans and opening heating vents), inexpensive DIY projects (such as replacing old exterior window caulking and installing door sweeps), and moderately priced items to consider (such as having glass fireplace doors installed to stop the warm air from disappearing up the chimney). Here are some tips to keep your home warm for the holidays!
Best Practices, Cost Free
Ceiling Fans on Counterclockwise: Keep that precious warm air where it belongs, warming your soul in all the rooms of your home. It’s easy to circulate the air properly with your ceiling fans. The fans should turn clockwise in the winter as described by Hunter Fan. This creates an updraft to circulate warm air throughout the room. The fan should run at a slow speed, or you will feel a breeze.
Open Heating Vents: Your HVAC system was selected and set up to warm your entire home. If you start closing up vents you risk overworking your system as it attempts to compensate for rooms with closed vents which can quickly result in higher energy bills. Partially closing vents to help direct warm air in desirable areas is an acceptable practice, just remember not to close them entirely.
Let the Sunshine In: When the sun is shining, open your curtains. Mother Nature will lend a hand with a little warmth naturally. Just remember to close your blinds and insulated curtains after the sun goes down.
DIY Projects, Low Cost
Window Insulation: Take the time to properly remove old exterior window caulking and install new caulking. It can be a time consuming task, but it is well worth the effort when enjoying a delightful and chilly winter day in the warmth and comfort of your perfect New Hampshire Lakes Region Home. You can hire out the job. Homeowners pay an average of $50-$70 per window for caulking. Window caulking can last up to five years, but environmental factors including freezing weather, heavy rain, and sun all affect the sealant. Check your seals and replace them when deemed necessary.
Window Film: Windows and doors are two of the biggest culprits of heat drafts. Window film insulation kits can temporarily help with older windows that need to be replaced (and they will last for the season). The film kits are inexpensive and very easy to install. Installing the film greatly reduces the draft, holding cold air at bay, and they create an air gap in your window pane to reduce heat transfer/loss (the same principle as a double pane thermal window). This is not meant as a long term solution, but it will help to keep your home warmer until the budget is secured for those new windows you’ve been dreaming about. Companies such as Frost King, 3M, and Duck offer window film kits. A 3’x5’ window film 5- pack typically sells for $16-$18.
Door Sweeps: Windows and doors are two of the biggest culprits of heat drafts. Check for drafts on cold days and adjust your door sweeps as necessary to block drafts. Old sweeps don’t always need to be replaced, just lowered a little bit to block a draft. Replace the sweeps on exterior doors that no longer function properly.
HVAC Filters: The filters on your HVAC system need to be replaced at regular intervals (check your manual for the proper schedule for your system). The system will run most efficiently when it is properly taken care of. And remember to schedule your yearly maintenance with your service provider.
Fireplace Flue & Glass Fireplace Doors: Open your flue when you have a fire in your fireplace. Close your flue when you don’t have a fire going. An open flue lets out the same amount of heated air escape from your home as an open window (which happens even when you have a fire going). Consider installing glass fireplace doors to keep your warm air inside. The doors will allow you to enjoy a fire but stop the warm air from escaping up the chimney. Glass fireplace door installations range in price from $600-$900.
Cooking (unofficial heat)
Sunday Roast & Holiday Cookies: Your oven is not a heating source for your home. It should never be used as a heating source. But an oven does create heat. You need to eat. Start cooking.
Slow cooking a Sunday pot roast at 300º F for ~3 ½ hours is a delicious and aromatic way to welcome your winter guests into a warm home. And don’t forget to put a batch of holiday cookies in the oven while the roast is resting. After everyone is well fed and rested, you can get to work on your next home improvement project. Remember to always treat yourself to something delicious for a job well done.