20 Ways to Keep Your House Warm this Winter
Wendy Kedzierski
November 23, 2022 — Read in 4.2 mins · 837 words

Winter weather in the DMV region is generally considered mild compared to many parts of the United States, but it still brings a chill: average January temperatures in Washington D.C. are a low of 30 degrees Fahrenheit and a high of 44. And occasional bitter winter storms hit the region with snow and ice. Stay warmer this winter – and save some money – by weatherizing your home. Here are 20 tips to help.

  1. Program your climate

Chances are you have a “smart” thermostat that is programmable. This allows you to set the temperature to warmer temperatures at times, and cooler temperatures when you’re not home or sleeping. This saves money and keeps you warm when you need to be warm.

  1. Open your drapes

Take advantage of a good sun soak during the day by opening those drapes or blinds.

  1. Close your drapes

Remember to go around the house and close the drapes at night. You may need to add heavier drapes during the winter. According to Energy Saver, the U.S. Department of Energy’s consumer resource on saving energy, about 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through windows, yet 75% of residential window coverings remain in the same position every day.

  1. Change your filter

If your house has a forced-air system, changing your furnace filter monthly during the winter can save energy, keep dust to a minimum, and help to keep your system from breaking down. No one wants to have to call the HVAC repairman in the middle of the winter!

  1. Close your flue

Make sure you keep your fireplace flue closed when not in use. An open flue is a common source of cold drafts entering living space.

  1. Let off some steam 

Open the bathroom door when you shower. The hot steam will help heat and humidify your house in the winter. 

  1. Release the heat

Likewise, if you’ve just finished baking something in the oven, leave the oven door ajar after you’ve turned it off to distribute the residual heat.

  1. Reverse your spin

It might not occur to you to use your ceiling fans in the winter, but if you reverse the fan’s rotation, it will push the cool air upward to mix it with rising heat. This mixed air will spread throughout the room, making for a warmer environment. 

  1. Throw rugs down

Keep your feet from freezing on hardwood floors by adding throw rugs (and a nice pair of slippers)!

  1. Seal your windows

Use weatherstripping tape to seal air leaks around windows and doors. This is relatively inexpensive and can be installed on the bottom or top of a window sash and around door frames. Window insulation film is another option – even shrink wrap will help!

  1. Sweep your door

Aluminum or stainless steel sweeps have a brush made of plastic, vinyl, sponge or felt. Applying these to the bottom of doors can help minimize air leaks when the door is closed.

  1. Unblock your vents

Make sure all your vents are open and that furniture placement isn’t hampering their effectiveness. Also, clean your dryer vents to make sure the accumulated lint isn’t blocking air flow or becoming a fire hazard.

  1. Foil your radiator

If your house has radiators, installing radiator panels can improve their efficiency. For an easy and cheap alternative, use aluminum foil on the wall behind the radiator. The reflective foil will act as a barrier, keeping heat from disappearing through the wall.

  1. Boost your ducts

Some homes simply have inadequate ductwork. Inline air booster fans and/or room-to-room register boosters can help remedy this problem and increase the capacity for air flow.

  1. Insulate your garage door

First of all, make sure your garage door is kept closed when not in use. Adding insulation to this huge surface area can also make a big difference in keeping out the cold.

  1. Install a storm door

The extra layer of a storm door reduces heat loss in the winter. It can also protect your door from the elements.

  1. Seal up cracks and gaps

There are so many places that air leaks in and out of your home. Finding and filling those cracks and gaps with caulking and weatherstripping will cut heating (and cooling) costs and improve comfort.

  1. Insulate your attic

Make sure your attic is properly insulated. This space is often “out of sight, out of mind” and only used for storage, but adding insulation batting or having blown-in insulation installed can really help to minimize heat loss.

  1. Close them off

Don’t waste your precious heat on unused rooms. Close the doors and consider placing magnetic register covers in these rooms to redistribute the heat to other places.

  1. Add layers

“Put a sweater on!” Maybe you’ve heard this a thousand times from your own mother when you complained about being cold – or maybe it’s what you tell your children – but it works! Adding layers is probably the easiest way to warm! And don’t forget to add layers to your bedding and lounging areas!

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