Tips for keeping your house warm this winter

Those of us living in Northeastern PA are used to some cold winters.   Sometimes there just doesn’t seem like there’s an escape from the bitter cold, snow, and ice that Mother Nature brings to our area.  It is possible though to keep the cold outside where it belongs and the inside of your home nice and toasty warm.  Here are some things you can do now to prepare!

Reduce drafts

Do you have drafts around windows or doors?  That’s not only letting cold air in, but it’s letting your heat out!  Not only is this incredibly inefficient, but it can cost you a fortune in heating costs over the course of the winter.  If you notice any drafts in your home, addressing them now can mean a much warmer winter for you and your family.

Common drafts and solutions:

Window & Door Weather Stripping – The weather stripping on windows and doors can break down or deteriorate over time, allowing cold air in.  You can purchase new weather stripping and replace the old pretty easily.  You could probably do all your windows and doors in a weekend!

Old Windows – If you live in an older home, you may have single pane windows!  This may not sound like a big deal, but newer windows are designed to insulate your home from the outside and single pane windows don’t do that.  Replacement of windows with newer, double pane, windows will make a big difference.  As a temporary solution, you can use indoor window shrink film to create an insulated barrier until you’re able to replace the windows.

Cold Spots on Walls – Particularly common in homes with blown-in insulation, the insulation can settle in the walls and create cold spots.  This cold then radiates into the room making the whole room colder.  The only way to really solve this is by reinsulating the walls, either by having an insulation contractor reinsulate with more blown in insulation, or by replacing the insulation with something more efficient.

Get an Area Rug

Hard surfaces such as tile, hardwood, and vinyl offer little to no insulation benefit, making these floors very cold in the winter.  Adding an area rug can give you something that’s much friendlier to your feet!

As an added benefit, if you have any drafts between your floor boards, an area rug will provide another insulated barrier, potentially making the whole room warmer.

Change the Direction of your Ceiling Fan

What if we told you that reversing the direction of your ceiling fan can make a big impact on how warn your room feels?  Believe it or not, it can!  By reversing the direction of your ceiling fan, you’ll be pulling colder air up (instead of forcing it down) where it mixes with warmer air that rose to your ceiling.  This mixed air will then spread downward, warming up the space.

Make Sure Air Vents are clear

Do you have forced air heat?  Do you know where all your air vents are?  You should! 

If your air vents are obstructed or covered by furniture, they’re not heating up your room as much as they could be.  Make sure your air vents aren’t obstructed (or closed), and feel the difference a minor change like this can make. 

Insulate your attic

One of the most common mistakes we see in our industry are attics that are improperly insulated.  This can mean attics that aren’t insulated enough, and yes, attics that are insulated too much…  It’s an important balance that you want to reach.  Here are a few things to consider and some tips for insulating your attic “just right”.

The attic “ceiling” shouldn’t be insulated – A common practice, unless your attic is a living space, there’s little benefit to insulating the ceiling.  To make matters worse, there’s a LOT of potential negatives, such as decreased life expectancy of your shingles and roof structures, ventilation issues, and humidity and mold problems.  Unless there’s a legitimate reason to insulate the ceiling of your attic, just don’t do it.

Only insulate the “floor” of the attic – The floor is what prevents the heat from leaving your living spaces below, so this is where you want to insulate.  This allows you to keep your heat downstairs where you want it, instead of allowing it to escape into your attic.

Don’t block vents – When homeowners are insulting their attics, often they instinctively work to block up any drafts that they may find, but sometimes that ventilation is there for a reason.  This ventilation allows your attic to breath, preventing moisture issues, overheating, and mold.  When insulating your attic, be sure to not block ventilation such as the soffit or ridge vents.  This won’t make your house colder, they’re there for a reason.

With a little planning, you can significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home, and stay warmer!  Which is definitely not a bad idea in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  We hope these tips were helpful, and we hope you stay warm!

About Disaster Blaster

Disaster Blaster is an indoor environmental firm serving the Northeastern PA Area.  We have been providing our local area with unparalleled water damage mitigation, basement waterproofing, mold remediation, radon mitigation, asbestos abatement, and fire / smoke restoration services for decades, and are proud to have been named The World’s Greatest Indoor Environmental Firm.  For more about Disaster Blaster, as well as more helpful tips, please visit our website at: or call our office at (570) 963-1123.