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Baby It’s Cold Outside: Winter Warming Tips

Jan 09, 2014 11:59AM ● By Erin Frisch

As winter weather descends with shorter days and colder temperatures, keeping cold drafts out and heated air in becomes a priority both for comfort and finances. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that residential heating will be higher in 2014. Whether heating with natural gas, heating oil, electricity, propane, or wood, energy saving practices are important for everyone who pays heating bills. The Alliance to Save Energy recommends plugging leaks and drafts, properly maintaining heating systems, programmable thermostats, and taking advantage of winter sun as top ways to stay warm while saving energy.

One way to control leaks and drafts from windows is with window treatments like insulated drapes and roller blinds that help seal off cold. Other ways to deal with the cold that comes with winter is with alternate heating and fun projects like making heating bags. Check out all of our tips below.

Window Treatments

Sealing out the cold is a common way to increase home comfort and save energy and money. Energy Star reports that it also reduces noise from outside, offers better humidity control, and lowers the possibility of ice dams forming on the roof when residents take steps to seal or control leaks. Here are a few of your window insulation options:

  • Insulated drapes or window quilts – Insulated drapes or window quilts physically block cold air from drafts and leaks around windows and keep it from entering a room and lowering temperatures. They can also block the warmth from the winter sun and heat registers and vents, so hang them on north windows and use clips to adjust their length around vents.
  • Roller blinds – Using roller blinds hung inside window casings is an effective way to keep out cold air from drafty windows. They come in various weights and transparencies to block or allow light and insulate against cold.
  • Draft snakes – Draft snakes keep cold air from seeping in under door frames or window sills. They are available in stores but are also easy and fun to make.
Alternate Heating

Stay warm during winter with alternate heating, or add an alternate heating source to add warmth economically. Wood and pellet-burning appliances can replace conventional eating sources like furnaces or add extra heat to one area of a house. High-efficiency fireplaces and fireplace inserts, catalytic wood stoves, and advanced combustion wood stoves burn without producing the pollutants that conventional fireplaces do and are more economical to operate.

Have Fun with Winter Warmth

Windows and heating sources aren’t the only ways to combat winter chill. Winter fun like sledding and snowman-making or activities like skiing and snowmobiling can result in cold feet and hands. To quickly warm up after coming in from the cold, use warming bags. They are fun and easy to make and can be a great way to engage kids on a snowy day.

Sew a 20x14-inch piece of material in half, as well as one open end, then fill with buckwheat, dry rice, or dried cherry pits. Sew the end closed, or affix Velcro to seal the open end. If you don’t want to sew fabric, use wine bottle bags with drawstrings instead. Warm the bags in the microwave to warm up hands and feet after winter activities or warm up cold feet in front of the TV or in bed.

What are some of your tips for keeping the cold out and the warmth in your house?

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