How well set up are you to face the chilliest months of the year?
Do you have reverse cycle air conditioning, a ducted heating system, an open fireplace, combustion heater or portable heaters?
Even when you know what kind of heating you plan to use, and your ceilings are well insulated, you can take extra precautions to keep your main living spaces warm and ensure your system doesn’t have to work too hard.
Taking these extra steps can also help in keeping heating bills down, especially if you’re not in the mood - or financially able - to tackle a mid-winter home improvement project.
So here are six easy ways to keep the home warm in winter.
Close the Curtains
Windows can be a big source of heat loss during the colder months.
In fact, up to 40% of heat energy can be lost through windows.
While it’s advisable to let some winter sunshine in during the day, make sure you pull the curtains in the afternoon as the darkness sets in.
Curtains act as insulation and keep the warmth in as the temperature drops outside. Adding a pelmet will also stop the warm air escaping through the top of the windows.
Reverse the Ceiling Fan
During the summer, ceiling fans cool a room by spinning counterclockwise to push air down, creating a mild breeze.
In colder weather, ceiling fans should be reversed so they turn in a clockwise direction, which then redistributes warm air.
How does it work? Warm air rises and cold air sinks, so the ceiling fan will be drawing cold air up rather than pushing it down.
This, in turn, forces the hot air near the ceiling down and helps to keep the room warm.
Stop the Draught
Everyone has seen draught stoppers (or door snakes) that are pushed up against the base of closed doors.
They are easy enough to buy, but even a rolled-up towel works just as effectively.
These draft stoppers are particularly effective on external doors and can also be helpful on internal doors.
Shuffle the Furniture
If your favourite armchair is next to a draughty window, you’re always going to feel a chill while you’re sitting there.
Try shifting chairs, couches or desks that you use regularly toward inside walls and away from windows and outside walls.
Furniture can also create barriers to the cold, such as a wooden headboard on your bed or a full bookshelf, which can be pushed up against an outside wall.
Don’t Block Those Vents
If you’ve got ducted heating, you may think that closing vents in rooms that aren’t used often will lower energy bills.
But your heating system is designed to work efficiently by heating the entire home, so a closed vent only makes the system work unnecessarily harder.
So keep all vents open and make sure your furniture is not blocking any of the warm air.
The Magic of Carpets
When you’ve got tiles or timber floors, they’re naturally going to be cold to walk on as the temperature drops.
Just as you like to have a dry bath mat on the cold bathroom tiles, covering your bare floors with rugs will keep your feet warm and help to insulate the room.
But Don’t Do This
While these are all simple ideas to help you to stay warm, there are other seemingly easy remedies to avoid.
- Never use gas stoves or cooktops to warm your home, only use them as they are intended.
- Don’t use outdoor gas heaters indoors - they give off too much carbon monoxide due to not having the same filters as indoor gas heaters.
- Indoor gas heaters, particularly unflued gas heaters, must not be used in small rooms (e.g. bedrooms) because of emissions they give off.
- Heat beads or barbecue briquettes give off carbon monoxide as they burn so must never be used indoors.
So keep it simple and stay warm this winter. Just keep safety in mind when searching for easy solutions.