October in New Hampshire is one of the most vibrant and photogenic places in the world. The leaves flare to autumn reds and yellows, marketers race to sell “pumpkin spice” everything, and the temperatures are a comfortable and refreshing break from summer. As temperatures drop outside, it can get tougher and tougher to get out of a warm bed in the morning when your home is cold. Here are five creative ways to keep your living space a little cozier in the chilly months.
Draft blockers for your door
Draft blockers are an absolute must-have for someone living in their first apartment or house in New Hampshire. It’s not uncommon for there to be a small gap, or even an entire inch, of space between the bottom of your door and the ground. Gaps in the door frame can siphon heat from a space very fast, especially in January or February. This can strain your heating system, thus straining your budget for the next five to six months. Draft blockers can make an immediate and noticeable difference. They’re easy to create as a home craft project and are equal parts cheap and practical to give as a gift. For inspiration, check out this Pinterest board with more than 1,000 creative draft blocker ideas.
Curtains or window covers
If you really want to get on top of your insulation, take a critical look at your windows and unused doors. Older homes are usual suspects for drafty windows and “replacement” doors that aren’t snug in the frame. Quality curtains or covers over these slits can mean the difference between seeing your breath or not. Draping an extra blanket in front of a window can go a long way toward keeping your home toasty.
Section off the house
Are you settled into a routine and really only use one or two rooms in your home? Do you have a basement that you only do laundry in once a week? Be savvy about how much square-feet you’re heating on a daily basis and see if you can limit the heat to the areas you don’t use. Edging off a stairway with a blanket can keep you from having to heat the upstairs in winter months, but make sure you don’t let any pipes freeze if you do this.
Program the thermostat
More important than where you heat is when you heat. If you’re working twelve hour days, come straight home, and get under the covers, you might only need the heat to come on in the morning before you get out of bed. For the normal 9 to 5 workers, heating up the house once before getting out of bed (7:00 a.m.) and again before getting home from work (5:15 p.m.) can be enough if the house has good insulation. Don’t heat an empty house!
Harness the power of the sun
If you have airtight windows with glass facing east and west, it can be helpful to actually throw your curtains open and let the sun heat your house! Our entrepreneurial feline friends can sometimes be found resting in these crooked rectangles of warm light. Some windows and glass types are better than others. If your windows are not energy efficient, it may be better to cover them to keep drafts out. If the concept of DIY solar heating interests you, there are online communities with instructions on soda can space heaters and other fascinating ideas.
Spread the word about Fuel Assistance Programs
If you or someone you know is having trouble paying for heat during the colder months, there is a Fuel Assistance Program (FAP) that may be able to provide some relief. Let friends and loved ones know about available resources so they aren’t left out in the cold. Click here for more information.