We all strive to keep warm during the winter months. We bundle up when we go outdoors, slide on gloves and insulated footwear, flip on seat warmers in our cars, and wrap ourselves in scarves and other layers. But our homes tend to be another story. The easiest answer to a warmer home is to turn up the thermostat, but that can be an expensive option! This study explains that turning down your thermostat by just 2 degrees Fahrenheit can help cut your heating bills by up to 10%! This means that any steps you can take to stay warm and save money are well worth the time.
One good rule to start with is to focus on keeping the people in your house warm, more so than your entire home. Your house doesn’t really care if it’s a little cooler, but you and your family mind if you feel cold. So in addition to taking a few steps to create a warmer home, get in the habit of wearing a sweater or robe or sipping hot beverages. For your bedding, switch to thicker winter blankets and layers. And consider investing in a nice pair of indoor slippers. Cold feet can make your entire body feel cool, so keeping a barrier between your feet and the cold floor surfaces of your home is a good idea.
If you FEEL warm, you are less likely to turn up the thermostat. So find a balance between warming up the entire house and being comfortable that works for you. As for your home, here are two tips to create a warmer environment for everyone:
Position Furniture to Maximize Air Flow
Furniture that is placed over floor vents or in front of baseboard heat sources can literally block the distribution of air flow and make your systems have to work harder to create a cozy feeling. Start by checking your furniture placement and making sure that heated air can flow easily and freely into the full room. If you like where your furniture is placed, consider tunnels and vent direction guides that are available at any hardware store and which slide over the vent to help move the air in the direction that you desire. Most are magnetic in nature and easy to install in places where moving the furniture itself to a new location is undesirable.
Besides clearing up air circulation issues, take a look at where your furniture is placed in relation to outside walls. If possible, place furniture that you will sit at near internal walls or more toward the center of the room. Furniture placed against outside walls not only gathers the cooler temperatures that seep through exterior wall surfaces, but they can create the illusion that you are cooler than the air temperature actually is in the room.
Create Layers Over Hard Floors (wood, tile, and marble)
In super cold climates, heated flooring is standard fare. In Alaska, it is unusual to find a bathroom without heated flooring options. But in climates such as ours, those kinds of investments just don’t make sense. Yet, we love our hard floor surfaces for their aesthetics and ease of cleaning. Think of your hard floor surfaces like you do suiting up to go outdoors in the cold: layers matter, at least for the winter months.
Uncovered and uninsulated hard floors in your home can account for up to 10% of the home’s heat loss, so taking a closer look at these surfaces and taking steps to add a few layers to help prevent this loss can have big impacts on your bills. Layering these surfaces is as easy as finding a few stylish and thick area rugs (look for those with tight weaves in their backing for maximum insulation effect).
Bake Your Way to Warmth
One of the best ways to simultaneously heat your home and get added benefits is to cook meals that are oven-centered such as casseroles, roasted meats, and baked goods. Your oven produces plenty of heat when preparing these kinds of dishes and can help cut heating bills if used in conjunction with another purpose like a yummy meal. In the summer months, we often get in the habit of doing things with stovetop or slow cooker recipes to reduce the heat in our spaces and decrease our cooling costs. The winter sees the opportunity to reverse this goal and strive to utilize the heat of the oven in a unique manner.
Take just one of these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to feeling warmer and saving a few dollars this winter. Remember, a few small steps can have a big impact, and the tips I’ve provided here can easily be implemented in just a weekend set of projects, so they don’t take much time to achieve and see effects. Stay warm this winter and remember that buying and selling real estate happens year-round!
When the time comes to explore a new home or to understand the market and opportunities for your family, lean on my extensive expertise to help you find and settle into a home that you’ll love. Just dial 336-575-7249 to speak to Ellen Dudley of RE/MAX Preferred Properties, right here in Winston-Salem, NC.