By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
But just cranking up the heat can prove costly -- particularly this year. Heating costs are on the rise, and more than 90 percent of homes will likely face higher heating expenses during this year’s cold season, according to the Energy Department. For example, households using natural gas will likely see bills 13 percent higher this year than last, paying on average $679 for heat this season.
So what are some quick, affordable ways to keep a home warm? A free, new ebook, “The Cure for the Common Cold Room: A Safe & Smart Home Heating Guide,” by ElectricFireplacesDirect.com offers up numerous tips and tricks to home owners and sellers for keeping a home warm this winter. Here are a few ideas from the book:
1. Add area rugs: Hardwood and tile floors can make your home feel cold in the winter. Add some area rugs to provide a warmer barrier between your feet and the floor. Non-skid utility rugs or rubber mats can make kitchen floors more comfortable and safe, according to the ebook.
2. Set ceiling fans to run clockwise: Yes, a ceiling fan can be used in the winter months too and can even help heat your home. The majority of ceiling fans have two settings: Counterclockwise cools rooms in the summer and clockwise can force warm air downward in the winter. Look for a small switch on the ceiling fan to change its direction clockwise for the cooler months.
3. Rearrange furniture: Check the arrangement of the furniture in the home to make sure it’s cozy. Often times, home owners spread out furniture to fill an entire room. Instead, group pieces together to get a warmer feel. Move furniture away from the windows and doors and closer to the fireplace, if there is one in the home.
4. Add moisture to the air: Humid air feels warmer than dry air. Therefore, a humidifier may make a difference. Cool mist and warm mist humidifiers can both be effective in making rooms feel warmer. “A cool mist humidifier is safer -- and usually less expensive -- because it doesn’t expel hot water or steam vapor that could hurt children or pets,” according to the book.
5. Let the sun shine inside: Use the sun to heat your home by adjusting the home’s curtains to let the sun in. Open south-facing curtains on sunny days. Also, be sure to close curtains at night to provide an extra barrier against wintery winds that are trying to squeeze inside the home.