Looking to heat up your home this winter, but can’t make any major improvements (like installing attic insulation)? Maybe you rent an apartment or house and don’t have the authority to start making major changes; or maybe you’re a homeowner on a budget and insulation isn't an option this year. Either way, here are some easy tips for keeping home toasty warm this winter while saving money on home heating bills.
Insulate electrical outlets on exterior walls. Maybe you’ve never thought of it before, but cold air can trip up your heating efforts by sneaking into your apartment through electric outlets on exterior walls. One easy way to block that cold air is to install insulating outlet covers – all you need is a screwdriver. AM Conservation makes a Plug Guard Wall Plate Cover that insulates and seals out drafts, and as a bonus, it keeps unoccupied outlets covered for child safety. Plug Guard Wall Plate Covers sell for $6.99.
Keep your apartment or house temperature in the “green zone”. The Department of Energy estimates that homeowners can save about $180 a year by following heating and cooling temperature setting recommendations. “Green zones” indicate optimum energy-saving temperature ranges for heating and air conditioning. A handy way to keep your eye on your home heating temps is to install a wall plate thermometer on the light switch closest to your thermostat. AM Conservation sells one for $8.99 that adapts to either a standard toggle light switch or wider, decorative switches.
Apply temporary window insulation. Seal your windows against cold air and keep your heat where you want it with temporary insulation that comes down at the end of the season and doesn’t damage your windows – especially handy for renters. One way to do this is with a shrink-wrap style window insulating kit. Basically, they work by sealing a large sheet of transparent plastic against your window. The tight seal is created with your hair dryer – as you blow hot air against the plastic, it tightens against the window. 3M makes window insulator kits for various sizes of windows (including double windows and oversized) and even a kit for patio doors. Their multi-pack seals up to five windows from a single kit. Kits sell for around $9 - $25.
Another way to temporarily insulate your windows is with removable window caulk, like AIRTite’s Removable Weatherstrip. This caulk seals out drafts and seals in heat with a clear gel-like formula that settles into a rubbery consistency, which can then be easily peeled away come spring – leaving no damage to the window or window trim. AIRTite’s Removable Weatherstrip will only set you back $3.99 a tube.
Use radiator reflectors. Got radiators in your house or apartment? You should be using radiator reflectors. We’ve seen pricy reflectors made from metal, but AM Conservation makes affordable and effective radiator reflectors out of large sheets of foam board which are coated on both sides with a metallic foil. The reflector encourages the heat from your radiator back out into the room, and away from the wall behind it. It’s especially effective with radiators that sit against exterior walls, because the reflector sheet insulates the wall, preventing radiator heat from leaking back outdoors through the wall, while preventing cold air from leaking indoors to you. AM Conservation Radiator Reflectors measure 36” X 48” X 1/4" and sell for just $5.25 each. Did you even know these solutions existed? There’s more than one cheap and easy way to keep your home warm and save money on home heating bills, whether you’re a renting tenant or a homeowner. Take time to install some temporary insulation this weekend and stay comfy all winter long.