Winter is coming, and with it comes cold houses. From drafts to poor insulation to cold hard surfaces, keeping a house comfortably and consistently heated can be a challenge.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to heat a house for any budget and need.
From oil-heated furnaces to simple treatments such as rugs and replacing weatherstripping, we’ve got you covered with this handy guide.
Read on for more!
Check for Cracks
One of the biggest losses of heat inside your home is cracks and weak points in doors and windows.
Weatherstripping on doors loses efficiency over time and eventually cracks and decays, causing precious heat to leach out into the cold winter air.
Houses shifting over time can also lead to doors and windows not sitting entirely flush.
Make sure to check around your home for drafts of air around windows, doors, ducts, and other openings that connect to the outside. This can save you quite a bit of money in heating bills.
Flues and Dampers
Another loss of heat in your home is due to fireplace flues and duct dampers. These normally allow smoke to escape your home, but also will let the heat out.
Fireplace flues don’t seal correctly, sometimes. This can be remedied by adding a flue plug that will ensure the heat stays in.
Make sure to also have the flue checked on a semi-regular basis, such as when you have your chimney cleaned.
For duct dampers, make sure to inspect them every season. Most have a handle to adjust airflow for summer and winter weather.
Central heating has become one of the most popular ways to heat a house. It is generally unobtrusive and easy to control the temperature via a thermostat.
Central heating systems are run via a variety of systems. The most common is a furnace, which uses either heating oil or natural gas to force warm air through ducts throughout the house. But which is better between oil and natural gas?
Electric central heating systems are gaining ground, but are not nearly as common as oil-burning furnaces and therefore can be more expensive to maintain.
While most modern homes still use a hot water heater for their water, older homes also use hot water to heat rooms.
The classic wall-mounted radiator system works by piping hot water through the metal coils from the boiler, heating the space. Boilers often also run on heating oil or natural gas.
The downside to a boiler heating system is that they can be somewhat noisy and prone to leaks if the pipes become rusty or corroded.
A newer use of boiler technology is in-floor heating, where hot water runs through pipes under the flooring to heat the space from the ground up. While not widespread, these systems are beginning to become more popular.
Heat pumps are an emerging technology in home heating. While they are not viable in all climates or for all budgets, they do offer a unique way of heating a house. There are two basic kinds of heat pumps.
The first is basically an air inflow/outflow system. Air is brought into the home from outside and heated (much like with central heating). In the summer, this heat is pumped out of the house instead.
The second type of heat pump is geothermal energy. These systems store and release heat into the ground instead of the outside air, which remains at a much more stable temperature year-round.
In much older homes that lack central heating or other house-wide heating sources, people rely on the old tried-and-true methods of heating spaces.
Fireplaces are still used today to heat the large open gathering spaces inside of homes. Modern fireplaces generally run off of natural gas, but many homes still use wood-burning fireplaces for heat.
Wood-burning stoves are seen as outdated nowadays, but there are still homes and cabins that utilize them. These work best in large single-room spaces.
Even in homes with centralized heating or boilers, some people choose to run a space heater in a particularly cold room.
Electric space heaters are generally inexpensive and can be quite effective. Some heat the air around them ambiently, while others work more like a large hairdryer.
Gas space heaters are usually much larger and less portable. These run off of natural gas, oil, or kerosene, and are fairly common in rural homes and cabins. Gas heaters require adequate ventilation in order to operate safely.
Other Ways to Heat a House
If you still find yourself cold during the wintertime, there are several short-term and inexpensive options for heating a room or other space.
Hard floors are one of the biggest culprits in causing an otherwise adequately-heated home to feel cold.
This is easily remedied by laying down rugs or carpeting, which will absorb heat better and also keep your bare feet off of the tile or stone.
Running a steamy shower in a bathroom can also heat up a space quite well. If you’re coming in out of the cold and find your house needs a little added boost of heat, just turn on the faucet.
Kitchens can often be a cold room in the house, due to all the hard surfaces.
If you feel a bit chilly, crack open the oven door and run it for a bit. It will heat the space nicely. Just make sure children and pets stay away from the door.
You Better Prepare for Winter!
Make sure to thoroughly inspect your home for weatherproofing, and double-check all of your different ways to heat a house for possible maintenance or repairs before the cold sets in.
If you have any further questions or are looking for other lifestyle and home renovation tips, check out the rest of our blog or contact us!