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Simple tricks to make your home warmer this winter

By Jessie Stewart

When the mercury drops, the cost of keeping your home toasty with central heating or space heaters can quickly add up. In fact, it’s estimated that the cost of heating a medium-sized house can range from $1140 to $1705 a year, depending on the type of heating system used, so it pays to follow some simple rules for keeping your house warm without a heater.

Here are seven tips for making your home warmer for winter at little to no extra cost.

1. Invest in heavy curtains

Keeping windows uncovered when it’s cold outside can account for up to 40% of heat loss from a home in winter. Use heavy, lined curtains (such as blackout curtains) and make sure they extend below the window frames to insulate your windows and help keep the warmth in.

2. Seal gaps and cracks

It’s estimated that up to 25% of winter heat loss from existing houses is caused by air leakage (also known as draughts). Seal gaps around doors and windows to draught-proof your home and save energy and money. Self-adhesive rubber seals for doors and windows are relatively cheap and easy to install. You can spot and repair draughty areas by:

  • Looking for obvious gaps – visible light under and around doors and windows is a good indication
  • Listening for rattles or whistling – especially when it’s windy
  • Feeling for moving air – check around doors, windows, fireplaces, air outlets, vents, stairways, floorboards, exposed rafters and beams, built-in heaters and air conditioners, architraves and skirting boards

3. Close doors to rooms that aren’t in use

It may sound obvious, but one of the most effective ways to seal in heat is to only heat the room you’re in and close doors to the rest of the house to prevent heat loss. Only use space heaters when you need them, and if you have a ducted or central heating system, keep it off in empty rooms.

4. Let sunlight in during the day

Sunlight entering a home mostly ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which passes easily through glass. Once it hits an object the sunlight becomes infrared (IR) radiation or radiant heat, which warms up your room. Make the most of this when the sun is out by opening up your blinds and curtains, especially north-facing windows for the morning sun and west-facing windows for the afternoon sun.

5. Install pelmets on top of your windows

Pelmets are frameworks placed above windows to conceal curtain fixtures, but they also double as great insulators and stop cold air from seeping into the room. If you don’t want to invest in proper pelmets, a cheap alternative is to attach a strip of plywood or corrugated plastic to the top of your curtain rail, hidden behind the top of your curtain.

6. Layer up

Rather than constantly using your heater, dig out your warmest clothes and blankets. Feet tend to be one of the hardest things to keep warm, so wear thick wool socks and some comfy slippers. You can also keep a cosy blanket on the couch to snuggle up under.

7. Turn down your heating dial

If you have a thermostat, aim to keep the temperate between 20ºC and 21ºC in winter, which is usually high enough to keep you toasty without using extra power that will contribute to a higher heating bill.


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