Uncle Bobs Tips

DIY Home Heating

DIY Home Heating

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Keeping warm in the winter is always a challenge. The office is cold, the streets are cold, and the car is frigid (until you get the heat going). Your home, though, should be your haven, your warm place to come…well, to come home to. If you are having trouble heating your home, that's a problem that should be dealt with immediately. Here are a number of DIY home heating solutions you can try yourself before calling in the pros.

1. Make sure all of your windows and doors have proper weather stripping. If you haven't changed the stripping for a while, now's a good time to do it. Worn out weather stripping does you no good.

2. Check for air leaks. You can do this by moving a lighter or a lit incense stick along the outlets. If the flame/smoke is being blown, you have an air leak. Fill in these gaps with caulk. Often between the window frame and the wall, you'll find the largest gaps. You may have to use a lot of caulk in these areas, but you'll feel the difference immediately, like closing an open window!

3. Use light colored shades to allow the sun to come in, and clean window glass often to ensure maximum sunlight is shinning through.

4. If you have a furnace system, check the duct for cracks. Large amounts of heat escape through these small breaches in the duct system. Also, clean and replace the air filters regularly.

5. Install a booster fan within the duct system to give the warm air a helping hand.

6. Make sure all the dampers/grills/vents are open to ensure an even distribution of the heat. If it feels like one room is colder than the rest, try slightly closing the vents in the warmer rooms (usually closest to the furnace), and see if that works to even out the heat distribution.

7. Check to see that all heating elements are unobstructed. Boxes, furniture or even something as light as a curtain can block the airflow from reaching the entire room.

8. A thermostat can help cut electric bills by a third and helps extend the lifespan of your system. Set the thermostat to go on when your family is home and awake, and have it turn off during work/school hours and at night.

9. Dryer vents allow large amounts of cold air to enter your home easily. A simple dryer vent flap should reduce this problem dramatically. Another alternative is to buy a lint trap that you can use during the winter, sealing the vent hole temporarily for the cold season.

10. Folding attic doors are also a major cause of heat loss. Use additional layers of insulation above and around these doors to ensure that no heat is escaping and no cold air seeping in.

11. Fireplaces are prime areas of heat loss. Purchase a trap or draft stopper to ensure this large hole is sealed properly.

12. Cover large windows with weather resistant window coverings. This is often sold in sheets or rolls of contact paper-like material that covers your windowpanes completely, and peels off effortlessly at the end of the winter. Glass conducts the cold air right into your home, and the bigger the windows, the colder your house will be.

13. Also, the more exterior walls a room has (walls with one side facing the outdoors), the harder it is to heat. Additional insulation such as wood paneling can be installed over these walls to help keep the heat in and the cold out.

14. At the beginning of each season, your ac/heating system should be checked to ensure that it is being properly maintained. Clean, fix, or replace any parts that need it. In depth examinations should probably be left to the professionals (this only has to be done every few years, though).

Staying warm is hard enough. Why not make the task a little (or a lot in some cases) easier. These helpful DIY home heating tips can keep you much warmer this winter. Also, read our other articles on DIY home heating for more suggestions (like under floor heating and heated plumbing).

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