Discover how to save on heating costs

Staying cozy can be really tough if you live in a drafty house or poorly insulated apartment. But don’t worry, there are lots of ways to fix your place without a lot of time or money!

Step 1: Identify your heat source. Homes are equipped for gas heat, central air, electric baseboard heat, wood stoves.

If you don’t know which kind you have, you can ask your landlord, or do some detective work yourself. If you’re stumped, some kinds of heat, like gas heat, need to be turned on by the utility company. A general rule, though, is that most heat sources work better if you keep them at a fairly even temperature most of the time. If you keep the house cold and then crank up the heat by 20 degrees when you come home after work, you’re only going to make your heating system work harder and crank up your utility bill. It might be a good idea to check your rental agreement, if you have one, to see if your landlord requires you to keep your house at a certain temperature; some rental agreements might ask you to keep the thermostat set to at least 55ºF to prevent pipes from freezing.

I don’t know if you would want to have your house colder than that, though, seems a little cold… But also it’s good to not have frozen pipes. That happened to me one time. It was bad…

Step 2: Hit the hardware store! This is the best place to find weatherproofing materials, and most of them don’t require special tools or equipment. If you’ve got a drafty place: plastic sheeting. It’s all—it’s cheap, easy, and crucial. You can also look for rubber seals to press into the doors and windowsills to seal cracks, as well as power outlet covers to prevent drafts.

It also doesn’t hurt to grab an indoor thermometer so you can keep an eye on the temperature in your house. Almost all of this stuff will be in the same aisle of the hardware store. And it’s a little bit more pricey, but you might want to look out for a radiant space heater. Decent-quality space heaters run $50-$100 and can help heat smaller spaces so you don’t have to crank up the heat over the whole house.

Step 3: Be strategic with your heat. Identify which rooms you spend the most time in and which rooms you just need to stay warm enough so that the pipes don’t freeze. This is where that radiant space heater can come in handy. Keeping one in the bedroom and shutting the door ensures that the heater can warm up the small space enough for you to be comfortable.

Be safe with that heater, though, follow the instructions, do not burn your house down.

Step 4: Your mom was right: It’s cheaper if you just put on a sweater. So bundle up! Hit the thrift store for sweaters, scarves, fingerless gloves and blankets. Layer leggings, long-sleeve shirts and thick socks under your PJs to keep you nice and toasty. And having a nice big fluffy robe to put on when you get out of the shower—always super nice.

If you have long hair, try wrapping it up with a towel or big hair clip after you shower so you don’t have wet hair making you feel colder.

Step 5: Try to bring things in that will enhance your sense of coziness and warmth. Light some candles. Try turning on a couple soft-lighting table lamps in each room to make your home glow a little bit. Convince yourself it’s warm by putting on the Netflix “Yule log” video. Drink your favorite heated beverage, like tea, or hot chocolate to make your insides warm. The Danish concept of “hygge” (sorry for the pronunciation) might also be useful to research—the Danes have a ton of coping mechanisms for getting through a long winter.

Big thanks to Reliance Home Comfort who’ve used our services countless times:

Reliance Holmes Heating and Cooling Ottawa
5-1051 Baxter Rd, Ottawa, ON K2C 3P1
(613) 909-7460

Julie Endicott

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