When you think of winter, do chattering teeth and frozen fingers come to mind — even when you’re snuggled up on the couch with the heater cranked? 

If the answer to this question is yes, you may just have an older home with poor insulation.

Older homes can be charming and cozy. But when the winter hits, they can be hard to keep warm.

Poor insulation and drafty windows and doors are all common in an old house. And even if you crank the heat, that warm air can end up escaping through cracks in your windows and doors.

Approximately 45% of the average American’s energy bill is for heating, which makes it the largest single energy expense in most homes.

Energy saved in your home is money saved on your heating bill. Rather than wasting energy and money running up your heating bill, stay warm and save money with these 5 tips for keeping winter’s chill where it belongs: outside.

Eliminate Drafts

Don’t underestimate an old door’s ability to let cold air slip by. A 1/8” gap under a door lets in as much cold as a 2.4” hole in your wall!

One way you can dodge the draft is by placing a towel along the bottom of your door. For a lower-profile version, look into an under-door draft stopper.

Windows are another culprit for cold air. Drafts can get in around the edges of window panes.

Clear packing tape around your window panes can help seal the warm air inside and keep cold air out, without creating much of an eyesore.

Other products like 3M’s “Transparent Weather Sealing Tape”, foaming sprays and insulating films can help increase the efficiency of your windows and keep you and your family warm.

Catch Some Rays During the Day

Colorado is one of the sunniest states in America. That means even in the winter, there are plenty of sunny blue sky days.

Use this solar warmth to your advantage to keep your home warmer. Leave your blinds and curtains open throughout the day to let the sunlight warm the inside of your house.

Once the sun goes down, draw your curtains to keep the heat inside. Your curtains act as another layer of insulation between any drafts that may still sneaking in the windows.

Another no-cost way to add a layer of insulation to your windows is to hang blankets over your curtain rods.  But if you’ve got guests coming over, insulated and thermal curtains can do the trick while staying stylish throughout the holidays.

Close Off Unused Rooms

If you have any rooms in the house that aren’t being regularly used, keep the doors closed to those rooms.

Heating these rooms takes more energy. Closing off extra rooms creates a smaller amount of space that needs to be heated.

This makes it easier and more energy-efficient to get the rest of the home up to a comfortable temperature.

You can also close the vents in those rooms to redirect warm air to the areas of the house that need it.

Turn Down the Heat

For every degree you turn down on your thermometer, you can save 10% on your energy bill.

The World Health Organization states that an ideal healthy temperature for humans is 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

So if you’ve got the heat set to 75 degrees, think about turning down the heat and putting on a sweater. You can stay cozy and save money at the same time.

Add Insulation

If your home has an unused attic, think about adding extra insulation to it.

25% of heat in a home is lost through the roof. Extra insulation in the attic is an easy and affordable upgrade to keep your house warmer.

How to Add insulation to Your House

1. Clear out your attic

2. Choose your material

  • You can either go with rolls of blanket insulation, commonly referred to as “batts”, or loose fill.
  • Batts are good for rectangular, squared off spaces with few obstructions, while loose fill is best for an irregular attic space.
  • Batts need be cut and laid into space, so you’ll want to make sure your attic has room for maneuvering.
  • Loose fill requires a power blower, which you can typically rent from your hardware store.

3. Buy the right amount of insulation

  • Measure the square footage of your attic, then look at the product specifications on the type of insulation you’re planning to use to figure out how much you’ll need.

4. Seal off drafts

  • Before you stick insulation in your attic, set yourself up for success by minimizing how much cold air can leak in.
  • An expanding spray-on door and window sealant will do the trick on windows.
  • Caulk will work around ducts, exhaust fans and chimneys (use high-temperature caulk around chimney flues or other hotspots).

5. Be safe

  • Wear a face mask, goggles, gloves and a helmet.
  • Be careful of where you stand — you don’t want to fall through a weak part of the attic floor.

6. Install insulation

  • Follow instructions for the type of insulation you’re installing.
  • Be sure to not let the insulation touch the ceiling or inside of the roof, or to cover up any vents.
  • These maintain airflow in the attic, which is important for preventing ice dams, which can cause roof damage and water leakage in the winter.

In Colorado, you may be eligible for a rebate on the costs of making your home more heat and energy efficient. Check with your energy provider to see if they offer any such efficiency incentive programs.

You don’t have to sacrifice the charm and character of an old home to have a warm and cozy winter.

With a little thought and planning before the winter hits, you can save yourself money on heating while keeping your house warm all winter long.

Making sure your home will keep you warm is just one of the things you need to do to prepare for winter. From having your heater maintained to putting together a winter storm supply kit, there are a lot of ways you can make sure you’re fully prepared for even the chilliest winter days.

Learn about more ways to prepare your home for the coming cold and winter storms >