8 low-cost ways to keep your home warm this winter
19 June 2015
In the Swan Hill region we enjoy more winter sunshine than our southern Victorian counterparts - but we do get our share of chilly nights and frosty mornings. Here’s a few tips from Wood & Co Real Estate that cost next to nothing and will help keep you and your family warm at home this winter.
1. Raving fans
Don’t think that ceiling fans are just for summer. Most modern fans have a switch just above the motor that allows you to reverse the direction it spins during winter. On a slow speed setting they use very little power and will gently circulate the warm air (that rises to the top of the room) down to your level without creating a breeze.
2. Put a plug in it
Have a look for places where you might be losing warm air – and plug them up!
You may no longer use the fire place but that old empty chimney has been perfectly designed to draw warm air out of the house. Make a cover across the fire-place (even cardboard will do) or put a cap on the top of the chimney - or do both.
On a cold night, run your hand around the external doors and windows and you’ll feel where the chilly breeze is finding the gaps to come in. Karinie Building Supplies have a great variety of inexpensive draft-stoppers and seals that will help you save hundreds of dollars in energy bills in the long term.
Ducted evaporative coolers do a great job in Swan Hill’s hot, dry summers but look where the warm air is escaping in winter! Hot air rises, remember, so close or cover the ducts and then climb on the roof and tie a tarp over the evaporative cooler (A jute wool pack will fit perfectly over many models!).
Exhaust fans in bathrooms and toilets are another warm air thief. No, you can’t cover them up or disconnect them – but just by keeping the bathroom door closed (and sealed if necessary) you’ll drastically reduce the loss of warm air from your living rooms.
3. Less is more
Don’t try to heat the whole house. Educate the family to keep doors closed and just heat the rooms you’re using. This may mean different rooms for different times of the day but a little bit of thought and effort can slice big dollars off your heating bills. Consider using a timer on heating devices to heat rooms before you get up in the morning and then close doors to trap the heat in your living areas.
4. You can leave your hat on
Yes, we all get tired of wearing heavy, warm clothes all day and it would be nice to shed your skin when you step inside - but it can be very expensive to walk around the house in shorts and a T-shirt when it’s 9 degrees outside. Just by leaving on your beany-hat, jumper, long pants and some thick, warm socks, you won’t have to stoke up the heater quite so high.
5. Let the sunshine in
During winter in the Southern hemisphere, the sun has a lower trajectory across our northern sky – and it shines in under most eaves and verandas. So if you’re lucky enough to have windows that face north, open up the curtains during the day and let Mother Nature warm up your house (and remember to close them again at dusk to keep the warmth in). It’s also a great spot to dry the clothes.
6. No curtain raisers
At night, you need all the insulation you can get and keeping curtains closed adds an extra buffer of air between the window glass and the room you’re trying to keep warm. Obviously the thicker the curtain the better but everything helps - so pull down the blinds and even the outside awnings (if you have them) to reduce the transfer of cold air into the house.
7. Cover floorboardsOne of the benefits of carpet is reduced heat loss through your floor. If you’ve got wooden flooring, put down rugs or blankets to not only stop heat escaping through the floor but to keep your feet warm.
8. Sleep tight
Did you know it’s actually unhealthy to sleep in a heated room? That’s why most houses that have electric in-floor heating don’t have the heating in the bedroom floors. Those flannelette pyjamas might not be the sexiest thing you can wear to bed, but with an extra blanket (and a hot-water bottle if you wish) you’ll be as snug as a bug in a rug and you won’t be burning money keeping the whole bedroom warm while you’re asleep. Invest in flannelette sheets for extra warmth!