How to winterize your home

As I write this, the back side of my house is mostly exposed to the studs with loose fiberglass hanging out in the area where landscaping will be someday. That's right: Some crazy people choose to do remodeling projects in the middle of the coldest part of winter. Which doesn't make a lot of sense, considering this article is about winterizing your home. Having one wall with very little insulation during sub-zero temperatures is not winterizing.

The (expensive) changes we're making this year are supposed to pay off in lower heating costs in the years to come. And they are expensive. All-new windows, spray-foam insulation in the basement and outer walls, and some new siding all add up to one pricey, pricey project. But it wasn't always this way. We have lived in our drafty house for almost seven years. The windows are old and allow for plenty of ventilation (which isn't what you want when, baby, it's cold outside). However, windows are expensive, so we've spent the last seven years limping along while still winterizing our home as cheaply as possible.

Cool Down Your Heating Bill

Most of our changes have been small. But enough small changes added together did make a difference on our heating bill.

1. Run fans clockwise. I had no idea you could change the blade direction on ceiling fans, let alone that it made a difference to your heating bill. But my husband taught me this. In the winter, just turn the blades clockwise to bring the warmer air (hot air rises, of course) down.

2. Use storm windows. Our windows are so old, we use storm windows in the winter…usually. I say “usually” because it's a huge pain to lug the windows down from the upstairs of the garage, but it's worth it. That was never more evident than when we experienced the early January cold snap that hit most of the U.S. We hadn't actually put all the storm windows on our 11-window sunroom. Every window without a storm window was iced over until we put those storm windows on. Within an hour or so, all the ice was melted. (Note to self: It's much easier to put the storm windows in when it's 40 degrees than -10 degrees.)

3. Put plastic over the windows. If your windows are drafty like ours, putting plastic over the windows can make a big difference. You can purchase this at a hardware store.

4. Caulk openings, if possible. Our basement windows were just like the rest — drafty. Since we didn't have storm windows for these and didn't open them often, we just caulked them. Unfortunately, this meant we could no longer open the windows. Even more unfortunately, our sewer system backed up into our basement after these windows were caulked closed. (“Backed up” is really a laid-back term. “Spewed” is more accurate.) But hey, we saved on our heating bill!

5. Drop your thermostat setting. Obviously, it costs less to heat a home to 72 degrees than it does to 76. Before we had kids, I left the oven door open after it was turned off to allow its leftover heat to warm up a room, and I also left hot bath water in the bathtub to exude a little warmth. Frequently, I will drink hot water and layer my clothing to stay comfortable. We also drop the setting even more at night and pile more blankets and comforters on the beds. I have heard stories from elderly relatives that they woke up in mornings to see their breath in the brisk air — in their bedrooms. We don't come close to that at all, but it amazes me.

6. Fix under-the-door drafts. Depending on the room, we roll up towels or rugs to block drafts coming under the doors. It looks crazy, but it works. Our doors are just as pretty and drafty as the old windows.

7. Don't use all your rooms. Our house has electric heat, which happens to be one of the more inefficient methods of heating a house. But one advantage is that each room has its own thermostat and register. This makes it easy to cut the heat to parts of the house we don't use as much in the winter.

8. Use alternate heat sources. A few years ago, we purchased a wood-burning stove to supplement our electric heat. We find people who need trees cut down. We provide the labor, and we are “paid” with the wood. So far, using this arrangement, we haven't paid for wood. But almost constant wood stove use has cut $200 or $300 off our heating bill each month during the winter months.

9. The not-so-insulated curtains. While we don't have insulated curtains, we have put heavy blankets over windows to try to repel the cold air.

10. Move to a warmer climate. So that's probably not a cheap, or feasible, option, but it's definitely tempting!

Heating our house is expensive, but it's not a convenience I want to live without. Several years ago, we lost power for four days during an ice storm. We lugged our mattress in front of the fireplace and slept there. A generator kept us (and our pipes!) from freezing, but none of the other methods listed here made a comfortable difference when it was close to freezing in our house. So I am grateful for heat in the winter — I just don't want to pay too much for it!

If you don't want your heating costs to go through the roof, there are certainly options. Do you try to cut your heating costs? If so, which methods do you use?

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LaPointe Gary
LaPointe Gary
6 years ago

“wood stove use has cut $200 or $300 off our heating bill each month”

Do you really mean each MONTH?

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
6 years ago
Reply to  LaPointe Gary

Yes, it really does. Do you think our heating bills are expensive or are you surprised that it saves us that much per month? Anyway, in the coldest months of the year (pre wood stove), our heating bills were somewhere around $450 a month. Our house used to have a coal furnace with existing duct work before electric heat was put in. We bought a wood stove and tied it into the duct work. Once we got a free furnace fan, the wood stove heats the house pretty well.

Tim
Tim
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

$450 seems like an enormous heating bill to me, I live in Minneapolis and even when we don’t see temps above 20 degrees for an entire month my heating bill will be less than $200. I do have updated windows but it is still an 80 year old 2000 sq.ft. home. So it’s not like it’s super efficient. I leave my thermostat at 68 when I am home and it drops to 59 when I am out of the house. A programmable thermostat is a very inexpensive way to really save money on heating and cooling year round!

Jen from Boston
Jen from Boston
6 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I lived in a first floor apartment of a house built in 1910. I would see $600-700/month heating bills. There was no insulation in the walls – just air. And the back part of the house was an addition from way back when that had no subfloor or insulation between the first floor and the basement. And the basement was an older stone foundation. It was incredibly drafty. The only plus was the heating system was gas-powered forced hot water, so the radiators provided constant heat once they got going.

Another Beth
Another Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I agree with Jen. Older homes (100+ years) can look great and have unique features, but they can cost a small fortune to heat during the winter, even if you keep the temperature somewhat low.

Laura
Laura
6 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I’ve lived in both Minneapolis and Boston. It is definitely more expensive to heat in Boston. (1) Oil heat is much more prevalent here and it’s more expensive than natural gas. (2) A lot of houses in Minneapolis tend to be made from brick and are well-insulated since it’s a given that half the year is below freezing, whereas in Boston, most of the houses are built from wood and lack insulation. I think the Puritans just enjoyed suffering so much that it became the way houses here got built… 🙂 P.S. – our oil bills run around $500/month between… Read more »

Jen from Boston
Jen from Boston
6 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I think another problem with heating costs in the New England is that we have to import our fuel whether it be gas or oil. The only natural resources we have are solar and wind, and not only are those underdeveloped but I doubt they’d provide enough of a constant supply of energy for the region.

As for the Puritans, they were such killjoys. I’m constantly blaming them for all sorts of things 😉

imelda
imelda
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

I read the explanations here, and I still don’t understand $400-$600 heating bills. OK, your houses are draughty. But that much money just baffles my mind. When I lived in Japan and had a freezing apartment with no insulation, I used a portable kerosene heater. It only heated one room at a time, but it wasn’t expensive, and it worked. What is all that money being spent on? (please note, there is zero judgment in my question – I really have just never heard of any utility costing so much, and would like to understand why, and how normal this… Read more »

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
6 years ago
Reply to  imelda

I am interested in these comments, too, which triggers some ideas for other articles. All our appliances, outside electricity demands, heat are adding to our electric bill.

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  imelda

I think the key is electric heat! Friends of mine have a small condo that costs a lot to heat because of the electric radiators. Electric heating made sense when energy was cheap, now… well… not so much.

Tonya
Tonya
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

Do you have electric heat? I know our gas heat is much much cheaper than when we had electric.

tas
tas
6 years ago
Reply to  LaPointe Gary

we live in maine. we run our wood stove constantly and as of the third week of january have used 1/4 tank of oil. so that’s about $150 oil heat for the last three months. in a drafty house. that’s 3 stories (though we only heat 2.) now we do certainly buy lots of wood, but it’s far cheaper than oil or electric heat. you just have to be home to fill it regularly. our friends who have wood stoves but outside-the-house jobs do use a bit more oil than we do. i’m surprised that you still use much electric… Read more »

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
6 years ago
Reply to  tas

We don’t use the electric heat much, but there are a couple of days a week when no one is home for about ten hours. That’s part of it, I am sure. Plus, everything else uses electricity (range, our outside buildings, well, etc.) so I think it will be hard to get it under $150/month, but I like that better than $450 :)!

imelda
imelda
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

Another earnest question: do you mean you heat your house when no one is there? Why?

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

@Imelda, we do heat our home when no one is here. Like today, it’s 3 below zero. If we didn’t heat the house at all, we would come home to frozen pipes. Not fun. We don’t need to heat it as warmly as we do when we’re home, but we still need to keep it warm enough.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

How is the pipe laid out in your house though? In our cabin all pipes are on a single wall, so when we need to leave we put a heater on that wall. I’m thinking you could identify those walls/floors and use baseboard heaters along them and turn the rest off when you’re gone. HOWEVER though, if the house gets way way cold it can make refrigerators or freezers stop working. I learned this the hard way this winter. The fridge from our outbuilding kitchen went haywire when temps dropped below freezing. Food ruined. Fortunately it is a small fridge.… Read more »

Jon @ MoneySmartGuides
Jon @ MoneySmartGuides
6 years ago

A few winters ago I really knocked down my electric and gas bill over the winter (I have gas heat but an electric blower so I get hit twice). I caulked all my windows, replaced the weather-stripping around my front door, sealed off the mail slot in the front door and adjusted the vents in various rooms. I shut the vent closed in the bathroom since I leave the door open all of the time and in the guest bedroom that isn’t used, I keep the door closed and closed that vent 75%. Combined I was saving close to $20… Read more »

Matt
Matt
6 years ago

I need to start doing this because my thermostat is set to 20 and it still feels cold in my house so I think I might have a leak. Any tips on where to start?

Laura
Laura
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

I hope you mean 20 degrees Celsius and not Fahrenheit! 🙂

Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial
Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial
6 years ago

My husband clued me in to the fan tip, too – and it really makes a huge difference! Although, living in that warmer climate like you mentioned is definitely helpful as well 🙂 We live in Georgia and I don’t think I could handle a “real” winter. It gets cold enough for me here!

imelda
imelda
6 years ago

Dumb question here – why the need to reverse the fan’s direction? What does that change?

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
6 years ago
Reply to  imelda

Depending on which way the fan is moving, it either pushes the air down or moves it up. So when it’s hot outside, you want the warm air moved up to the ceiling. When it’s cold, you want the warm air down by the people. That is my (admittedly limited) understanding anyway. Hope that helps!

imelda
imelda
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

Thanks! For the above explanations, too. Frozen pipes; yikes!

Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
6 years ago

I’m a wuss when it comes to winter. The landlords control the heat in Manhattan and I’m ALWAYS freezing. I’ve got a space heater which is probably destroying my electricity bill.

Perhaps I should consider the moving to a warmer climate option 🙂

Brian@ Debt Discipline
[email protected] Debt Discipline
6 years ago

We have used #5 to save some money. We have dropped our thermostat from 70 to 68 degrees. We find is also helps to keep the thermostats at a constant temp, if you keep lowering anf raising it the heating system has to work extra hard to catch up to the changes settings.

Neel Kumar
Neel Kumar
6 years ago

Raising the target temperature when you are in the house and lowering when you are out is a good way of reducing your bill. The price of heating is directly proportional to the temperature difference between inside and outside.

When I was in college (in Iowa), I would set the thermostat to 45 when leaving and to 67 when entering. My bills were lowest of everyone I knew.

Queeb
Queeb
6 years ago
Reply to  Neel Kumar

Please be very careful when dropping the thermostat that low (45 deg). That could easily result in frozen pipes, especially to those that are on an outside wall. This happened to a friend of mine (we are in MN)over a particularly tough cold snap. He dropped it into the 40s thinking he’d save money while on a trip and came home to find a disaster. He was gone for a week and that may have contributed to the problem. However, my sister just got frozen pipes (on an outside wall) and her heat wasn’t turned down.

Linda
Linda
6 years ago
Reply to  Neel Kumar

Also, research how lowering your thermostat applies to YOUR particular heating system first. I have a boiler with hot water heat: radiators on the second floor, and radiant heat on the first floor and in the basement. In the basement, the heating pipes are embedded in the concrete floor. Dropping my thermostat a lot means that concrete gets cold and hard to heat up. So then my boiler runs continuously for hours to get to temp on the thermostat. While I do like to drop the temp a bit at night (I like to sleep in a cool room), I… Read more »

BrentABQ
BrentABQ
6 years ago

Its far better to have your temp drop while you aren’t there and catch back up to comfortable than to stay just below comfortable all the time.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago

Nothing insulates like building with straw bales. You get R-30 to R-45 insulation. with no toxic materials and much greater fire resistance than conventional insulation. It’s also a great noise barrier.

Yes, you probably can’t build with straw bale in most cities yet (but some states have straw bale building codes in place already.) But in rural places? That’s another story. There are 100-year-old straw bale buildings in Nebraska.

Here, I’m going with cob because of solar mass (we get a lot of sun year-round). Or maybe a cob-strawbale hybrid. There are many alternatives to conventional construction.

Ed
Ed
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Speaking of insulation, the cheapest improvement I made to an old house was adding insulation to the attic. Granted, the vast majority of homes probably have a well insulated attic already, by my over hundred year old Michigan house barely had any (R12 I think). I could still see the joists! In short, $250 worth of the pink insulation lowered my winter gas bill by $200 per month, took me barely two hours to install and was possibly the fastest recovery of an investment I have ever experienced as a homeowner. edit – To be fair, in addition to the… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  Ed

Indeed. Old houses have terrible insulation. Every time I’ve lived in one the heating bills would be astronomical.

Holly@ClubThrifty
6 years ago

Our new house has incredibly drafty windows. We’re going to put some weather stripping in once we get the higher priority projects done.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago

Holly, I know this may sound a little much to your ears at this point, but I want to pass on the idea anyway– for anyone, really, looking to build or remodel. You might consider avoiding or reducing some windows; especially those that don’t get a good view or that lose too much heat or face an alley or overheat in the summer (e.g. west) or have other problems. And consider skylights as an alternative. Our current cabin has too many windows– north, east, west, south. Windows are pretty new and insulated and non-drafty, but they still lose a lot… Read more »

LaPointe Gary
LaPointe Gary
6 years ago

I average less than $200 a month (year round) for gas and electric. For a 1,550 square foot condo (in Michigan).

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  LaPointe Gary

Condos have the advantage of being surrounded by other units which serve as an insulation from the elements.

Besides, larger structures have a lower ratio of surface-to-volume which allows for greater heat retention (surface loses heat, volume stores it). This is why cold weather animals have evolved to be larger than tropical ones of the same species, and why small fridges cost almost the same to run as larger ones.

So while heating a whole apartment building is of course more expensive than heating a house, the large building is cheaper to heat per cubic foot.

LaPointe Gary
LaPointe Gary
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I think my mother’s home is about the same size and she pays way less, but I’ve got vaulted ceilings that create empty space between the first floor and the smaller second floor (and I run a lot of electronic gadgets all the time).

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
6 years ago
Reply to  LaPointe Gary

Knowing these numbers, your surprise above makes sense. We live in a single family, 2200 sf home with a barn and animals. We have electric everything, so that’s why our electric bill (without wood stove) is quite a bit higher than yours.

imelda
imelda
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

Yeah, and mine too, hah. I live in a studio apt in NYC; I pay $40-$60/month gas and electric. Even in Japan, I had a 2-bedroom but would only heat 1-2 rooms at a time; once I started with the kerosene, I paid about $40/month electricity plus $30/month for the kerosene.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  imelda

Aren’t kerosene heaters super-unsafe though? They eat your oxygen. They can put out carbon monoxide. Plus, even if they run well, don’t they emit fumes?

imelda
imelda
6 years ago
Reply to  imelda

@El Nerdo: they sure are. You have to crack open a window to make sure you don’t suffocate. Nowadays they’re designed so that if it tips over at all, it shuts off immediately, because they used to cause fires.

They don’t smell great, either. But after a year of trying to get by with just the electric A/C unit heater, it was a godsend.

Kerosene heaters are still quite common in Japan.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  imelda

@Imelda: re: kerosene: I thought so! We looked into those for our cabin, as well as propane (which burns cleaner)– those heaters are cheap and require minimal install. But we said no way! Combustion must be vented, or no deal. So we installed a wood stove which was pricey to by comparison but runs free and doesn’t kill. We keep a parabolic electric heater from Costco for backup– does a great job and runs cheap (it heats objects, not space).

LaPointe Gary
LaPointe Gary
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

Duh! I forgot that you mentioned the electric heat. I know that’s WAY more expensive.

Neel Kumar
Neel Kumar
6 years ago

Great topic for a money blog. Reducing our energy usage is not only good for the environment, it is good for our wallets as well!

Lisa
Lisa
6 years ago

I keep the thermostat at 65 degrees when I’m home. I am wondering how low I can go when I’m away. I don’t want my Lab to freeze. Then again she has all that fur…

I keep extra layers of clothes next to me on the bed so I can change into warmer gear even before I get out of bed.

Flannel sheets rock.

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

I always know it’s a bit nippy in the house because one of my cats will either get under my blanket if I’m sitting on the couch, or she’ll find the dog and lay on him like he’s a mattress. 🙂

imelda
imelda
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

Yeah, after living abroad for a couple of years in a non-insulated home, with no central heating system, my definition of cold has changed considerably. I had my heat off for the past two weeks and felt fine (I think my old pre-war apartment building is very well insulated).

SavvyFinancialLatina
SavvyFinancialLatina
6 years ago

We use a space heater and bundle up. I don’t really turn on the on the central heat because it’s not working right and we haven’t fixed it yet. Waiting for my dad to come visit us and ask him to fix it. But even then, heating a house when we are only using 20% of the space and is highly inefficient. I rather have an energy efficient space heater. The one we have right now is not super great, so we need to upgrade.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago

I don’t know where you live, and there’s building codes and all that, but if you want to heat people instead of buildings check out *rocket mass heaters* — they burn firewood very efficiently, then store the heat in a mass “heat battery” that can be used as a bench, or a bed, and it also radiates heat for a very long time.

Kristin Wong
Kristin Wong
6 years ago

#10 worked for me. Ha! Probably the only thing I’ve paid less for living in southern California.

Mrs PoP
Mrs PoP
6 years ago
Reply to  Kristin Wong

totally with you, Kristin. I was relishing living in FL when all these maps were floating around social media last month…
http://storify.com/weatherchannel/florida-s-not-like-everywhere-else

Jen from Boston
Jen from Boston
6 years ago

I’d say most of my energy savings come from programmable thermostats. When I’m at work the temperature is set to 60 in the winter and 80 in the summer. At 6 PM, when I usually get home, it changes to 65 in the winter and 78/76 in the summer. And, if it’s still too cold/too hot I can override the temperature. Then at night the thermostats change again so it’s cool in my bedroom during the summers but warmer on the lower floors, and colder overall during the winters. I calculated that the condo is heating/cooling for my comfort about… Read more »

phoenix1920
phoenix1920
6 years ago

#10 made me smile. Too bad all the savings disappear come summer, when a lot of people in the South probably contemplate moving up north, especially when they get their electric bill 😉

Allyson
Allyson
6 years ago

Re: insulated curtains. At some point I will shell out the money and upgrade to insulated curtains, but when we bought the house the sellers left the curtains and they were okay. (Meaning, I could live with them and I had other things to spend money on at the time.) The curtains in the living room were basic tab-tops and fairly easily altered. In an effort to get them a bit more insulated, I purchased several white king-size flat sheets at a discount store for something like $7 each and lined the curtains myself. I have no idea what, if… Read more »

Matt YLBody
Matt YLBody
6 years ago

Shoot. I would love to be able to winterize my home but we haven’t been having a winter in California. I’d love to actually see some clouds and 50 degree weather.

EricaJ
EricaJ
6 years ago

One thing to consider is checking with your local utility company to see if they have any special programs that provide rebates/incentives to weatherizing your home. We heat mainly with wood, supplementing with electric heat pump (no gas available in our neighborhood). I realize this is rare, but our electric company this year had a spectacular weatherizing program. We were able have a local green construction company do blow-in insulation in the attic and all the walls of the house, install insulation between the basement floor joists, wrap basement pipes, etc., and the program covered the entire cost, several thousand… Read more »

Cookster
Cookster
6 years ago

I wish it were that easy. There is a terrible shortage of propane now…I would gladly pay the $400 for heat if I could only get some! So I am wrapped up in 3 layers of clothing, have my electric heater going, and I am still so cold I can hardly type. It will be in the minuses tonight and I do not want to think of the wind chill.

betty
betty
6 years ago

When I lived in New England (in houses that were all built 2 centuries ago),a common practice was to hang heavy quilts in the stairwell (outside the banister, so no one trips). Helped to keep the heat downstairs and also prevented the heat from rising into what was often a 2story rise over the stairs.
(I remember many times when there’d be ice on the INSIDE of the windowpane in the mornings…but it was warm in the kitchen!

Joe
Joe
6 years ago

#5 I would add, get a programmable thermostat. We have several settings to take advantage of times when we’re going to be out of the house. #7 This one adds up too! We have a bedroom which is seldom used. So we close off the vent and close the door. It makes a big difference, especially when this bedroom is over the garage and tends to be one of the coldest rooms in the house when we’re using it. I love the idea of getting a wood burning stove. We’re in a town home, so that’s out of the question… Read more »

AC
AC
6 years ago

I don’t understand how some people just post negative stuff all the time. Good Lord People! Stop it! Some people are not able to heat there houses for under $200.00. You don’t know the whole story and house they live in. I lived in a very old Trailer house when I was younger and total understand.

Jose Carrillo
Jose Carrillo
6 years ago

I just feel that reading these comments were amusing because many of them were helping others by sharing their ways on how they use their technique to save money on their bill. Great information everyone. Thanks

Jose
Jose
6 years ago

Great information and ideas for others to use. Growing up my family would always use #5 for the night settings.

SAHMama
SAHMama
6 years ago

I have a split level 1970’s house that is 2054 sq ft and has all electric heat, no natural gas on my whole street. We replaced the windows, that cut our heating and cooling costs by 20%. 3 years ago, we installed a high efficiency heat pump to replace the broken down one. That saved another 20%. We use a programmable thermostat. I’m a SAHM though, and we have 3 young kids so we can’t drop it too low. We keep the house at 68F during the day, 65F overnight. We’ve tried lower and the baby’s hands turned blue. Fleece… Read more »

mmp
mmp
6 years ago

Live in a small space! We are in Boston and never spend more than $150/month for our 1100 sq.ft. apartment in a 1920’s multi family. That’s with insulation, an efficient furnace, newer windows, and a programmable thermostat, but very comfortable thermostat target temperatures. For people who don’t want blankets over their windows, there are lots of options for insulated curtains and cellular insulation blinds. Someone already mentioned utility rebates. Our utility company (NSTAR gas in massachusetts) has amazing rebates. We had an energy audit and a MassSave contractor added insulation to exterior walls and foam insulation in the basement. Rebate… Read more »

Rachel Davis
Rachel Davis
6 years ago

We live in about 2400 square foot, 2-level, newer home and I have been frustrated about the formal stairwell, because there’s no way to close off the upstairs and only heat one level at a time. I suppose I could go around to all the upstairs bedrooms and shut/open the vents every morning and evening, but that would be a big pain. We have a heat pump and an all electric house. Can’t wait until we have a woodstove! Day is 69F and night is 54F. We spent $360 last month on heat. Yuck. And I’m in the Pacific Northwest,… Read more »

Jim
Jim
6 years ago

My heating bill this past month was terrible, I live in a third story apartment that has vaulted ceilings, which doesn’t help. Thanks for the tips!

TB
TB
6 years ago

I live in 900 sq.ft. that heats up nicely with the wood stove. I have used wood exclusively for 3 years because it is cheap and abundant. My brother and I cut and split the wood together so there is less time involved , but that isn’t really why we do it…we actually like being out in the woods on cold days. It’s good for the soul! I have been reading about passive solar heat collectors and am saving cans to build one. I have most of the materials on hand so it shouldn’t take long or cost very much.… Read more »

PawPrint
PawPrint
6 years ago

I wonder about air pollution with wood heating because I often see plumes of smoke hanging over people’s homes. I know in places I have lived, unless a wood stove is your only source of heat, burning wood is banned at certain times. My friend’s kid quit using his furnace and just used a wood stove. Great for the budget, but what is the effect on air quality and the ozone layer?

TB
TB
6 years ago
Reply to  PawPrint

I have wondered the same thing so I plan to get a more efficient stove to cut down on the emissions. It is on the list of home upgrades.
Maybe I am being naive, but I don’t believe wood stoves could produce more emissions than a power plant that produces electricity would. Most of the plants here in KY are fired by coal and the embedded costs of procuring the coal as well as the effects to the environment and are pretty staggering. I believe it to be quite similar as far as lp and natural gas are concerned.

Mish
Mish
6 years ago

We live in the mountains of CA and heat 95% by wood stove. If it gets really chilly we supplement with electric heat. Our townhouse is about 1300 SF, two stories. In the winter, it’s common for us to come downstairs to temps around 50-55F. It’s cold, but doesn’t bother me too much. The evenings we get the living room anywhere from 62-70 with the wood stove. I guess my blood is getting thicker, as 70 feels almost too warm for me now! The heat then flows into the bedrooms upstairs. We have new windows, dual pane, but without the… Read more »

Shiv Sharma
Shiv Sharma
6 years ago

Love the tips here. I am upgrading my old house with modern techniques. I am planning to fix a more efficient stove to reduce emissions. Thanks for the helpful post….

Home Winterization
Home Winterization
5 years ago

Thanks for sharing the tips. Always keep the outside valve open in order to avoid any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to burst.

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