Thrifty and Nifty {Guest Post}: Efficient Home Heating

With winter temperatures just around the corner, my guest today on the Thrifty and Nifty series shares a few practical tips for making the most of your home’s heating system.

For many homeowners, winter is usually a difficult season because of how the weather can affect the home structurally. Nevertheless, playing runner up to this stress is the price we pay for home heating, which in some cases can be an even more bitter experience than the occasional arctic blast.

This is especially frustrating when furnaces, burners, electric heaters and other devices are working overtime trying to keep the indoor temperature reasonable while our homes struggle to contain the heat.

That being the case, in order to have better control over heat fueled by oil, gas, or electricity, the focus needs to be on better efficiency as the more efficiently a home distributes and contains heat, the more at peace we can be with the monthly bills.

Here are a few simple ways to make heating your home more efficient this winter:

Seal drafts: One of the first things every homeowner should do is seek out and seal any drafts that may have opened around windows and doors throughout the home. That’s because drafts are where the majority of heat escapes and top the reasons why home heating bills are so high.

Furnace maintenance: If a home or apartment is being heated by a furnace, it should be serviced at least once a year to make sure it’s working efficiently and isn’t in need of repair. If you haven’t had this done recently, now is the time.

Bleed radiators: Even the best radiators won’t distribute heat well if they have not been bled at least once a year. Doing so allows air caught in the coils to be released. It’s a fairly simple job that only requires a wrench to loosen the opening and a bowl to catch any loose water.

Dust radiators: Believe it or not, dust on radiator coils can affect how heat emanates from the metal, and since dusting them isn’t generally on the list of chores, now is a good time to do this to help heat distribution.

De-clutter: Dust is one thing; clutter is another. When there’s too much stuff around heaters, vents, and radiators the heat they produce won’t go far, so it’s important to keep the space around them clear and not block them with furniture or belongings.

Utilize sunlight: When the sun is out, open the curtains and let the light in. It’s invaluable natural heat that can warm a room or at the very least the spot you are sitting in. In order to get the full effect, make sure windows are free of dust which can block those all-important rays.

Close internal doors: Sometimes closing doors between rooms inside the home keeps heat from one room from escaping into a hallway where it isn’t needed. It may also be efficient to turn off a radiator in a hallway because the space is just for passing through.

Close external doors: When entering and exiting your home, make sure not to leave the door open long. A doorway is a huge opening and can change the internal temperature in an instant.

Attics: Just like sealing drafts around windows and doors is a must, openings that lead into attics and crawl spaces need to be checked for gaps. Because heat rises, these nooks and crannies are perfect passageways for heat to escape.

Wear layers: Finally, one of the easiest ways to keep the thermostat down is to wear layers. Additionally, covering extremities and wearing a hat will always make the living space feel a little warmer than it actually is.


Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for He blogs about green topics for pros across the U.S. like Denver, CO Electricians.


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