Ah, the first snowfall of the year has finally come – my son calls this time of year, Good Winter as it’s all still very charming and yuletide-ish. Post January is of course Bad Winter, with depressing drifts of brown and gray snow lining the roads and the distinct lack of anything to look forward to.
Regardless, even Good Winter, with all it’s picture- postcardedness, makes your hardwood or tile flooring feel cold underfoot and ushers in unwelcome blasts of icy air from around your festively decorates window panes and doors. So that you don’t lose your Good Winter mojo to Jack Frost, here’s a few tips to keep the cold out and your the loved ones warm and comfortable this winter:
1) Weather stripping – it cost only a few dollars a roll but works wonders when it comes to keeping the outside weather outside.
2) Plastic Window sealing – break out the ol’hairdryer and Vidal Sassoon your way to draftless winter nights.
3) Heavy Curtains – having just moved to an older home, I’ve had to invest in a few these bad boys myself, as of late. They are indeed a little pricier than their flimsier cousins but they really are worth the extra coin. My bathroom was so chilly that I had purchased a space heater to plug in every morning just to make the room warm enough to shower in. However, after hanging a pair of Martha Stewart insulated curtains with the rubber backing that I picked up at Home Depot, I haven’t even had to turn the heater on. Be sure to buy the curtains long enough so that they pool on the floor a little to take full advantage of their awesome, cold-stopping power.
4) Space Heaters – keeping heating vents and doors closed to lesser-used rooms allows you to heat the higher traffic areas more efficiently but using space heaters take this technique to the next level. Using a safe and energy efficient space heater means that you can keep your most used areas toasty without paying to keep your spare room at that same temperature. And they don’t have to be the ugly things your grandmother used to have in her “rumpus room” ( I miss rumpus rooms – we just don’t rumpus enough anymore to justify having a whole room set aside for it – so sad) – many come disguised as a wood stoves or fireplaces with a faux flame and all.
5) Fill cracks and holes on outside of house with spray foam. It keeps the mice and insects out as well as the cold.
6) Ceiling fans – not just for summer anymore! In the winter, set the blades to their “ reverse” setting to move the trapped, hot air that has risen to the ceiling and redirculate it around the room.
After covering these basics and maybe your laminate floor with a nice area rug, you may find that your home is so warm and comfortable that you could consider turning your thermostate down while you are sleeping or away from the house. First, have a look at this article from CMHC that examines the pros and cons of the setback thermostat.
In the meantime, stay warm fellow Albertan homeowners… and long live Good Winter!