Warming Up Your Home As It Cools Down Outside

The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping lower. Even if you’re a big fan of winter and its climate, you likely welcome a warm home, preferably without high heating bills. I’ve got a few tips to help warm you and your nest without a big impact to your wallet. 

Add layers

Your cold weather closet boasts sweaters, coats and scarves. You know a thing or two about layering, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Your home can benefit from layers too. According to the National Energy Foundation, your floors can account for up to 10 percent of heat loss if they’re not insulated. That gorgeous area rug you’ve been eyeing isn’t just another pretty accessory. It’s insulation. Your toes will thank you.

Open, then close

In the morning throw open your curtains and raise the blinds. Let the sun shine in to warm things up. When the sun sets, however, it’s time to pull the blinds and hold in all that warmth. Consider switching out your airy curtains for something a little more substantial in cold months. If a new set of curtains isn’t in the budget, look for thermal liners that you can add to your existing window treatments. 

Bake something

Winter is a wonderful time to work out your culinary muscle! If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at making bread from scratch, turn the oven on and go for it! There’s nothing better than fresh bread from the oven with a pot of rich stew bubbling on the stove to warm you up – and not just from the belly out! Your cook top and oven will share some of its heat with the room too!

Seal the deal

Before the frost debuts, check your windows and doors for drafts. Caulking window frames, installing weather stripping and deploying a draft stopper at the base of your doors will help keep more warm air in and the cold air out.

Consider humidity

In the summer we bemoan the hotter-than-it-is feel of humid days. Don’t forget that in the winter. Humid air feels warmer. Put a humidifier to work, or leave your bathroom doors open a crack when you shower (or after your warm shower!) to let some of that damp air warm you up.

Reverse your fans

If you have ceiling fans, put them to work in the winter! Just be sure to change their direction first. Running your fans clockwise will push the warm air that’s risen back down to you. 

Change things up

If you’ve been thinking about trying out the view from another side of the room, now’s a good time. Move your favorite chair or sofa away from large windows and outside walls. In the bedroom, break out the flannel sheets and pile on your favorite quilts.

Focus on you

Being toasty isn’t just about the room temperature. Grab yourself a good book, nestle down into your favorite seat with a warm, cuddlesome quilt. Don’t forget to fill up your mug with something warm to drink and don a plush pair of socks.

by Anjie Cho

eHow.com Video: How to Keep Warm Without Raising the Thermostat

It's still winter... and really cold in NYC.  Here are some tips to weatherize your home.  You know, these tips are not just for the winter. These adjustments are just as useful to keep hot air out in the summer. GO GREEN!  save some green... and it's for winter and summertime!

see more eHow.com videos here

Video Transcript:

Hi, I'm Anjie Cho and this is how to keep warm without raising the thermostat.

Raising the thermostat not only adds to your utility bills, it uses precious resources. I'll show you some inexpensive and simple weatherization tips for keeping warm and also to keep cool in the summer.

First, be sure to have the air on only in the room that you're occupying. If you have central air, you can close or seal the vents in the room that are not in use.

Next, seal air leaks to increase the energy efficiency of both heating and cooling. You can use a variety of products to seal any gaps to the outside where air can come in. For instance, just painter's caulk will do; go for the lower or no VOC option. This rope caulk is less messy in it because it doesn't need to dry. Foam weather stripping also works; just cut, peel and stick. All of these options are for use with windows, ceiling cracks, filling holes, door perimeters, walls, siding openings and masonry cracks.

Next, let's look at the door. A lot of air gets infiltrated in through doors, even in a closed position. This is a self-stick door strip. It's quick and easy, easy to install, just cut to size and stick it into place.

Finally, let's look at your outlets and switches. Air can come in this way too. So, you can insulate and seal that drafts through a switch and outlet covers with these gaskets. Just unscrew the outlet cover, place the gasket in, screw back on. Keeping warm doesn't have to be expensive with some simple weatherization tips. This upgrades will pay for themselves very quickly because you'll immediately see savings on your utility bills.

by Anjie Cho

Residency New York: Winter Greening

featured in the Winter 2014 issue of Residency New York this month:  Sales in the City by Kelly Kreth

How to Prepare your Home for the Change in Season:  Winter Greening

by Kelly Kreth

According to Anjie Cho, architect and feng shui interior designer, one should pay close attention to respecting the environment and conserving energy (and money), even before aesthetics.  She suggests removing your air conditioner because air infiltrates through its vents; if it is impossible to remove it or if storage is a big problem, fit the vent with a fabric cover that can easily be found in a hardware store.  Do not use plastic, as it is not breathable and may cause condensation, which can damage your appliance.

"Heavy drapes will also help to keep the cold air out and heat in," Cho advises.  "Weather sealing on doors or getting a door sweep (or even putting a heavy towel at the bottom of the door) will block the gap, preventing cold air from getting in."

"Don't forget about your foliage!" Cho adds.  As it gets colder it is a good time to move plants from window sills or outdoor spaces.  "The extreme difference between temperatures can kill your house plants.  Instead, move greenery a foot or two from the sills or doors, or get an indoor grow light set on a timer for the colder months."

by Anjie Cho