Keep Your House Warm This Winter
By Rob Barton
If you are like me you must hate those freezing days and sub zero nights and not being able to escape it due to the homes we live in seeming to be made of paper. Freezing under 20 blankets with an electric heater that uses thousands of dollars of electricity every minute is not the way it should be.
Luckily, there are simple measures that can be made to improve the comfort level of your home in winter and make it that much warmer you would be tempted to open the windows on a -1 degree day.
It all comes down to looking at where your home looses most of its heat from and how to improve on efficiency when it comes to heating appliances. Retrofitting and improving insulation are an obvious step and can really benefit the comfort level of your home.
Insulation is a key factor when it comes to temperature control within buildings and should be utilized in all ceilings, walls and raised floors to minimize heat loss. It can be quite daunting choosing a good brand of insulation that offers excellent thermal qualities as well as being good for you and the environment. Always look for insulation that is made from either a cellulose base or glass wool batts as the technology these days is very advanced for these two kinds of insulation mediums. Also, look at foil sheets/batts that actually reflect heat (also works really well in the warmer months). Don’t go for cheap fiberglass or any other insulations mediums that contain high levels of formaldehyde (a very toxic compound that breaks down into your breathing space).
Sunlight through your windows in winter can really increase the temperature of your home well. Cut back any plants or foliage that may be obstructing the sunlight on all your north facing windows. However, make sure that your east and west facing windows can be exposed during winter but covered during summer as if these windows are left completely exposed you home will do the reverse on you as it does in winter.
Reduce Heat Loss (when using heaters)
To reduce heat loss when trying to warm your home from the inside there are several ways to significantly reduce this.
1. Seal all gaps in floors, ceiling and walls
2. Close all gaps around doors and windows
3. Purchase thick, heavy curtains and closed pelmets for the interior windows
4. Add automatic closers to external doors to reduce the risk of doors being left open
5. Fit vents that automatically open and close on chimneys and exhaust fans
Always check the efficiency of any heater you purchase and make sure your existing heater is serviced regularly. There are many different technologies these days used for heating homes from solar powered venting systems, energy efficient panel heaters, fuel efficient gas heaters and much more. You can also look at the new inverter technology reverse cycle ducted air conditioning, meant to be very energy efficient. Check with your local energy organization to find out what heaters are best suited for your home and space requirements.
Check to see where the prevailing winds come from in your area to set up structures or systems to deflect these cold winds.
Isolate the larger rooms you wish to keep warm by setting up curtains or installing doors. This will help to reduce running costs of your heater and will maintain a comfortable temperature in the room you are using.