Keeping your home warm in winter is not always easy, especially if you live in an old building that is badly insulated. Even modern homes are not always properly equipped for a cold, hard winter without some extra investment. Unfortunately, double glazing and proper insulation can be costly and if you don’t own your home, that may not even be an option for you. So how do you make your home more comfortable without breaking the bank or starting a fight with an uncooperative landlord? We’ve collected a bunch of handy tips and tricks you can use to maximise heat in your home during the cold winter months.
Keep yourself warm
This may not be what you had in mind, but it’s a method used by millions of people around the world who simply cannot afford to spend money on heating their house 24 hours a day. Before you do anything else, make sure you are wearing more layers. The most important thing is for you to feel warm, rather than the house or flat itself. Do this before you start working on other solutions and you may find you don’t need to spend as much money as you thought. Blankets, hot water bottles and hot drinks will also work wonders.
Insulate your floors
Bare wooden floors are pretty, but they won’t keep you warm in the winter. Invest in rugs and carpets that will keep in the heat and are also more pleasant for walking on when it’s cold outside. The more your floor is covered, the warmer your house will be. It’s that simple.
Use ceiling fans if you have them
A common misconception is that ceiling fans are only useful during the summer months. In fact, many modern ceiling fans have a winter setting that helps push heat back down towards the ground. If your ceiling or roof are badly insulated, heat will escape upwards. Using your ceiling fan can minimise this effect and keep the heat where you want it most – around you!
Use tin foil
Putting tin foil behind your radiators will help reflect heat from the walls back into the room. There is special radiator foil available on the market, but here’s a little secret – standard kitchen foil works just as well at a fraction of the price!
Put up shelves
While you should never put anything on your radiators, putting up a shelf over a radiator is another handy trick that can help reflect heat back down into the room. Consider putting one above each radiator to maximise the effect.
Keep radiators clear
Shelves aside, radiators should be kept clear of furniture and ornaments so that heat is free to travel. It’s common to have furniture blocking radiators purely because of space considerations. The best place for a sofa, a desk or an armchair might be right in front of one. If you’re trying to keep your house warm, though, consider moving these out of the way, even if it’s only for the winter months.
Use draught excluders
It doesn’t take much for cold air to sneak into your home. Even a letterbox or cat flap can let in a surprising amount of cold air and ruin your concentrated efforts. Invest in some draught excluders for doors or make your own out of towels or blankets. You can also use heavy curtains to further insulate external doors or doors leading to badly insulated rooms.
Keep doors closed
Speaking of doors, nothing keeps heat in like a closed door, so get into the habit of closing internal doors in the house, especially to rooms that are not being used at the time. Keeping one room warm is easier than keeping a whole house warm and you should only really care about the room you’re in at the time.
Let the sunlight in
We’ve all heard about the greenhouse effect, but in winter it can actually work in our favour. Letting the light in will actually bring warmth into the house, even in the dead of winter. Open the curtains in the day and let the sun in, whether or not you’re in the house at the time. This will make the place cheaper to heat. Only do this for rooms that get sun, though. Otherwise, use heavy curtains to cover the windows, keeping the heat in and the cold out. Do this at night, too, as soon as the sun goes down.
Fake some double glazing
If you can’t afford real double glazing, there are all kinds of products on the market that will allow you to get some of the same effect. You can use self-adhesive strips to cover gaps around windows and there is also a special film you can attach to windows that will help insulate the glass. Keep in mind that these solutions mean you won’t be able to open your windows, though you may not want to when it’s cold outside, anyway!