As autumn fades and the temperatures drop lower, you may feel a little daunted by the cost of heating your house all winter. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 14 ways to warm up a cool room without a heater. Use these tips to save money and stay warm through the whole season. These tips work!
1. Add Weatherstripping Around Windows and Doors
Are tiny gaps around your windows and doors letting out heat and letting in cold air? Stop the heat loss with weatherstripping! This insulation made for this very purpose can make a big difference in your home’s heating efficiency by sealing up unwanted airflow. And when the heat stays in a room and the cold air stays out, the room will warm up quickly and stay warm!
Here are a few different weatherstripping materials that are commonly used in residential homes:
- Foam Tape – Foam tape is a strip of dense foam with adhesive on the back that sticks to the sides of windows and doors. It is also called seal foam or weatherstripping tape.
- Felt Weatherstrip – Felt weatherstrip is exactly what it sounds like: a strip of felt with an adhesive back that sticks onto windows and doors for insulation. Felt weatherstrip is a budget-friendly fix, but only lasts a few years before needing to be replaced.
- V-Seal – Also known as V-Strip or Tension Seal, this type of weatherstripping is a thin piece of vinyl or metal that is folded into a “V” shape. V-seal is installed along window sashes and door frames to prevent warm air from leaking out.
- Door Sweep – A door sweep covers the gap between the bottom of a door and the threshold. Most door sweeps are made out of rubber, vinyl, or a brush, and attach onto the bottom of the door.
2. Install a Draft Stopper
Try installing a draft stopper instead. You may also hear these called draft snakes. A draft stopper is a tube made of fabric that is filled with an insulating material. Many of them have cute and colorful designs to add a little visual interest. Draft stoppers are placed at the bottom of drafty doors and windows to block heat transfer. They’re ideal for outside doors or doors between rooms.
You can buy draft stoppers for $5 – $20, or if you want to save even more, you can make one yourself! Just take a long sock and fill it up with uncooked rice or dried beans. Tie a knot into the open end, and place the draft stopper wherever you feel cold air seeping in.
3. Insulate your Air Ducts
The US DOE/Energy Star program suggests that 20-30% of heat created by your furnace or heat pump can escape through leaky ducts before it ever reaches that room you want to stay warm and cozy. Use insulated duct wrap to stop the heat loss, lower your energy bills and warm up every room in the house!
4. Install Insulated Blinds
Windows are one of the main places where heat escapes your home. Installing insulated window blinds is a great way to reduce that heat loss and conserve energy. In fact, insulated shades are proven to reduce heat loss through windows by over 60%! You can pick up an insulated window shade for $25 – $100. It may seem like a high cost up front, but the energy conserved will save you money in the long run.
5. Bring in the Sun
As simple as it sounds, letting in the sun on brighter days can really make a difference in your home’s warmth! If the sun is shining, open your curtains and blinds and let the warm rays fill your house.
6. Insulate the Basement Ceiling
Heat rises, so the better you can heat the first floor of your house, the warmer the rest of the house will be. One way to warm up the first floor of your house is to insulate the basement ceiling. You can hire a professional to do this for you, or do it yourself.
To DIY, purchase batts of insulation at your local hardware store and attach them to the bottom of the floor joists, which are overhead in the basement, using staples and a staple gun. The more you insulate in the basement, the warmer the rest of your house will be, so consider adding insulation to the basement walls as well as the ceiling.
7. Zone your HVAC System
This is a costly fix, but if you’re into long-term savings, it will pay for itself over a decade or so. A zoned system allows you to shut off airflow to areas of the house that aren’t in use, so you’re heating just the occupied spaces. You can cut heat use by 35% or so with a zoned system. Learn the pros and cons of a zoned system in this Pick HVAC Guide!
8. Insulate the Attic
Bringing your attic insulation up to recommended levels has a first-year ROI of nearly 100% according to the Cost to Value Report. Just like insulating the basement, insulating the attic is a great way to prevent heat from escaping and keep your home cozy and warm all winter.
9. Close the Fireplace Opening
If you have a fireplace in your home that you’re not using, make sure to close up the opening for the winter. A fireplace is essentially just a big hole in your house that leads to the outdoors, and when there isn’t a fire burning, cold air can flow in freely as warm air flows out. To really increase your home’s heating efficiency, close off your fireplace opening and insulate it. Using a rigid foam board, either 1” or 2”, fitted into the opening will make a big difference. Cover the ugly foam in attractive fabric for an aesthetic upgrade.
10. Reverse the Ceiling Fan
You may have heard of this one before, but let us confirm: this is not a myth! Reversing the direction of your ceiling fan really does make your house warmer. In the summer, your fan spins counter-clockwise to create a cooling wind chill and increase your home’s cooling efficiency.
In the winter, it’s exactly the opposite. When you reverse the ceiling fan direction to spin clockwise, it creates an updraft. This updraft pulls cold air up and redistributes the warm air at the top of the ceiling back down to fill the rest of the room. You don’t need to set your ceiling fan to a high setting for this warming effect, just a slow spin will work fine.
11. Close the Vents and Door in Rooms that Aren’t Being Used
Heating a large space requires a lot more energy than heating a small space. If you have rooms that aren’t being used in your home, close them off for the winter. This way, your heater won’t be working overtime to warm up unused space, and the rooms you are using will be heated with less effort. For the total package, shut the air vent in the unused room, shut the door, and put a draft stopper at the bottom of the door.
12. Fire Up the Oven and Get Cookin’
When you heat up the oven to cook a meal, a small amount of heat escapes from the inside and warms the kitchen. Consider making something like lasagna or bread that has a nice long cook time. Once your food is done cooking, turn off the oven and leave the oven door open to release all that toasty heat into the house.
Don’t ever turn on the oven just to heat the house. That’s a waste of energy that doesn’t have a good ROI. Only use the heat that you’re already using to cook.
13. Add a Floor Rug
A big floor rug will work to insulate a room. If you’re trying to heat up a large room, use multiple rugs. The thicker the material, the warmer the room will be. Wool is the warmest rug material for insulation, but synthetic materials are easier to clean. Whichever material you choose, look for a thick, dense fiber that will really hold in the heat.
14. Have Friends Over
That’s right! Packing a room with friends will warm more than just your heart. A group of people spending time together in the same space can raise the temperature of an entire room. It is estimated that one person gives off about 100 watts of heat. Multiply that times the number of people you have over, and pretty soon your group will be producing as much heat as a space heater. Even more heat is produced when people are in motion, so consider inviting a group over for an interactive game or bake-off. The more the merrier!