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10 Ways to Help Your Heater This Winter

Another Midwestern winter is here, which means it’s freezing in Chicago. You’ve cranked up the heater, pulled out every blanket you could find, bundled up in a cozy sweater, and maybe even lit a warm fire. But if you’re like many Chicagoans, you wish your home could be a little warmer.

Unfortunately, making your home warmer often leads to higher energy bills. But there are several ways you can keep your home warm and toasty without draining your bank account. Here are 10 simple ways to help your heater help you this winter.

1. Seal Air Leaks

Before you turn the heat up, make sure you can keep as much of it inside as possible. Cracks around doors and windows are the most common source of heat loss in a home, so check for leaks around your windows and external doors.

If and when you find leaks, use weatherstripping around doors and caulk around windows to seal them. Or, to make sure the leaks are completely sealed, call in a professional.

2. Set Your Fans to Rotate Clockwise

See that little switch on the side of your ceiling fan? It’s meant to be flipped during the winter. By flipping that switch, you’ll set your fan to rotate clockwise, which will push warm air down towards you.

To make the most of this tip, only turn your fans on when you’re using a room. There’s no use spending money to circulate warm air through an empty room.

3. Add a Few Layers to Your Floor

Did you know that your floor accounts for 10 percent of your home’s heat loss? Luckily, you can keep that heat inside by adding insulation to your floors in the form of rugs. Rugs not only keep warm air from escaping through your floorboards, but they also prevent cold air from seeping into your house.

4. Place Tinfoil Behind Your Radiator

If your radiator is near an external wall, chances are you’re losing a lot of heat and wasting a lot of money. Keep that heat inside by placing reflective tinfoil behind the radiator. This will reflect the heat back into the room and save you money.

Although you can purchase tinfoil specifically designed to use near radiators, kitchen foil can also get the job done.

5. Open Curtains and Raise Blinds During the Day

The sun is a free source of heat, so why not let it in during the winter? Keep your curtains and blinds wide open throughout the day to allow light to pass through your windowpanes and warm up your home.

6. Close Your Curtains at Night

If you’re not careful, the daytime heat you let in through the windows will exit at the same point at night. What’s worse, the exiting heat will likely take extra heat from your furnace with it.

To prevent heat from escaping through your windows, install curtains. If your home has single-pane windows, consider installing insulated curtains. If you can’t afford to splurge on new curtains, simply drain a sheet or blanket over a curtain rod.

7. Cook or Bake

Winter is the perfect time to whip up a warm bowl of soup or batch of cookies. Whether you’re using the stove or the oven, the heat created during the cooking process will help heat your entire home-and it’ll also provide you with something warm to eat.

To get a little more bang for your buck, leave your oven door open after you’ve finished baking. This will help you recycle some heat and save some money. Remember to be safe around a hot oven, though, and skip this step if you have pets or small children in the house.

8. Shower With the Bathroom Door Open

If you leave the door open when you shower, the warm, humid air created by the shower will drift through your house and heat your entire space. Obviously, this tip is easier if you live alone or with a partner. If you have children, try showering after they leave for school.

9. Rearrange Your Furniture

If your couch is by a window, chances are that when you relax on the couch, your body loses radiant heat to the cold window. To avoid feeling colder than you should, keep furniture away from large windows and external walls.

Furthermore, try to keep couches, recliners, and beds away from radiators and vents. If they’re too close to radiators or vents, these large pieces of furniture end up absorbing the heat you want.

10. Swap Your Sheets

One of the simplest ways to stay warmer during the winter is to swap your cotton sheets for a heavier material like flannel. You can also swap quilts for heavier down comforters.

A warm, toasty winter is closer and cheaper thank you think. Use these tips to keep your house warm and your expenses low this winter. If you have additional questions about how to winterize your home, check out our other blog posts.