11 Ways to Keep Your House Warmer This Winter

1. Install a programmable thermostat.

This will keep your bill low, and your efficiency high. Instead of having to manually fiddle with your thermostat every time you leave the house or every time you come back home, This Old House recommends programming your thermostat for the following temps/times during the week if your house is empty during the day (they also recommend setting the thermostat to 55 degrees when you go on vacation for a few days or more):

2. Let sunlight in during the day.

Once the sun is up, you want to capture as much of that free heat as possible. Even on cold days, the sun is still warm. So before you leave the house for the day, open up those curtains and let the light shine in. If there are certain parts of the house that don’t get sunlight, no need to open those curtains. Just do so where it streams in for a good part of the day.

3. Keep curtains closed at night.

Once the sun goes down, keep all that heat from leaving through the windows by closing the drapes. If you’re in a particularly cold home or geographic area, consider getting insulated curtains for winter use. They’ll prevent some of the warmth in your home from escaping. You can even put up temporary curtains (or even sheets, rugs, etc.) over doors to the outside, even if just at night while you’re sleeping.

4. Mind your wood-burning fireplaces.

While they’re romantic on a chilly evening, lighting a fire is terribly inefficient for the rest of your home. It’s warm and toasty right by the roaring flames, but for all that heat being exhausted up through the fireplace, cold air is being pulled into the house elsewhere (this is due to a physics principle called the stack effect.’

5. Take a look at your ceiling fans.

If you have ceiling fans in your home, they may be sitting needlessly dormant during the winter months. Many fans have a “winter” setting, which reverses the fan so that it moves clockwise vs. counterclockwise. Since heat rises, the clockwise-spinning fan will push the heat back down into your rooms versus being trapped up at the ceilings. This is especially recommended if you have high or sloped ceilings. Some experts don’t trust the efficacy of doing this, as the fan may just cool the air too much, but try it out on a low speed, and see if it warms the room. In my experience from harsh Iowa winters, it definitely works.

6. Move furniture away from vents.

You may have unknowingly placed furniture in front of heating vents when you moved in or rearranged. Go around the house and double check that vents aren’t blocked, and if they are, find a way to move your furniture, at least for the winter. This will make sure every room is getting its max heat potential. Blocking return vents in a forced-air central heating system could also cause air pressure issues, which further disrupts the flow of heat.

7. Mitigate the “stack effect.”

The stack effect is the movement of air in and out of homes and other buildings, essentially creating large-scale chimneys. The rising warm air in a home will pull in cool air from the outside through any gap it can find. This creates negative pressure in lower levels, which acts like a suction cup because that warm escaping air needs to be replaced. This pulls cool air in and obviously chills the home. The effect is magnified in taller homes (more air rising to greater heights, so more cool air is being pulled in), so be extra aware of the stack effect if you live in a multiple-story home.

8. Seal other leaks, too.

There can be air leaks in your home beyond windows and doors. Think attics, basements (where cements meets the wood frame), even kitchen hood vents. Take a look at this handy guide from energystar.gov to find those leaks and seal them. Hint: caulking can be your best friend.

There can be air leaks in your home beyond windows and doors. Think attics, basements (where cements meets the wood frame), even kitchen hood vents. Take a look at this handy guide from energystar.gov to find those leaks and seal them. Hint: caulking can be your best friend.

9. Keep certain rooms toasty warm by closing doors.

If you spend a lot of time in certain rooms, you can close doors and create a little sauna. I do this with my office, and it works like a charm. I simply leave the door closed at night, let the heat run like normal, and since there aren’t as many gaps for heat to escape, it’s nice and warm in the morning. At times, it even gets too warm. If you have big, open spaces, you can use room dividers; it may not seem like much, but any blockage that keeps air from escaping just a little less quickly will help keep things warmer.

10. Utilize space heaters, but with caution.

Space heaters are excellent tools for keeping individual rooms warm. The danger is that they are a high-risk fire hazard, especially compared to other tips listed here. In fact, they account for one-third of all heating-related house fires.

11. Use the oven.

Baking, convecting, and broiling things will keep your house warmer, especially in rooms nearest the kitchen. Don’t be afraid to roast a chicken or bake a ton of casseroles when the temperatures dip! (This is also why, in our household, we don’t use the oven much in the summer.)


See the whole list on http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/11/14/how-to-keep-your-house-warm-in-the-winter/