Winter is here. Between the current snowstorm and the more than 100 flights canceled, Chicago is feeling pretty cold and uninviting. Here are 10 easy (and budget friendly) ways you can keep yourself and your house warm during Chicago's somber weather.
1. Close the doors and vents in empty rooms of your house
If you are working from home and spend most of your time in your office space, make sure you close the doors and vents in all the unused rooms. This will keep your living space warmer. Just be careful! Make sure that rooms that have plumbing don't get too cold (you don't want to have to deal with frozen pipes in the future).
2. Double check the weather stripping
When was the last time you checked your weather stripping? Double check for any old or worn stripping on all of your doors and windows. This is an easy way to keep the warm air inside and the cold air outside during cold winter days.
3. Reverse Ceiling Fans
Don’t forget that heat rises. Turn on your ceiling fan and set it to reverse. The warmer air at the top will slowly move toward the lower level. Heating your home during these freezing days costs more money and uses more energy than ANY other system in your house. Reversing your ceiling fans can save you up to 10% of your heating costs.
4. Cover your walls
Did you know that a wall (even if there is no window) can radiate cold through it? A cost effective way to prevent this is to hang blankets along the wall during cold Chicago days. This often happens when the insulation isn't good enough, so if you can feel that one particular wall is colder than the others, you may have an insulation problem.
5. Take advantage of your house appliances
Don’t waste the heat that’s already produced! Once you are done using your oven to cook dinner, crack open the oven’s door. Allow the warm air to spread throughout your kitchen area and avoid wasting more energy. That being said, you should never use your stove top or oven as a substitute for your furnace or radiant heat. That is not what the stove/oven is intended for and it can be extremely dangerous.
6. Keep your curtains open
While it is true that keeping the curtains closed will keep heat inside at night, don't forget to open them during the day. If the sun is shining it will naturally heat up the room. Make the most of the natural warmth and keep your curtains open until sunset.
7. Don't go crazy on the thermostat
Don't go crazy on the thermostat. Try to avoid changing the temperature of your home thermostat by more than 10 degrees. Elevating your thermostat considerably when it's cold outside, will just make your furnace put out heat for longer, work harder and make your energy bill higher.
8. Move your furniture
When the cold hits Chicago, try and rearrange your furniture. Be smart about where your furniture is placed. Make sure the big sofa is not blocking the radiator or that the bed is not close to a window. Simple problems like this can stop the whole room from heating throughout the day and night.
9. Don't turn off the faucets
On cold Chicago days, leave the faucet running (just a little bit). This isn’t going to warm up your home but it is a very simple way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. The water flow will slowly melt any frozen area that may have begun to build in your pipes.
10. Use Hot Water Bottles
Don't miss on using this old trick. Slip a hot water bottle under the sheets when it is time for bed to enjoy a warm sleep. This can also be replaced by buying an electric blanket, however if you want to save money and energy don't forget to use the water bottle trick!