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How to keep a Cold Old House Warm in Winter

Updated on March 13, 2011

The old chilly house

Many people live in cold houses that are freezing in winter and hot in summer. Of course this can leave you with a huge power bill and leave you freezing during a quick run to the loo. However there are a few things you can do to keep warm...

Timber houses are often the worst offenders... cold seems to come through the walls and floor and sneak in under doors. However, there is hope...


May seem like a simple thing but curtains can be used in lots of ways throughout the house. If you have an open plan house a set of cheap, long curtains can help keep the cold out of a few central rooms. If you don't search for anything too expensive you can often pick up cheap old curtains at thrift shops or even in a local sale.

Stringing a piece of plastic coated wire across a doorway is a great way to hang a curtain - curtain, two hooks and a length of plastic coated wire is all you need.


Don't forget blankets - they're great for keeping warm! Putting them on cold leather couches or cold kitchen chairs is a great way to add a bit of warmth. Throw a few extra on your bed.

Caring for Plants During The Winter


If you own your own house it might be an idea to invest in insulation. Insulation may be a bit costly (it can go into the thousands) but its good for several reasons:

  1. Having it in just the main rooms you want to keep warm (bedrooms/lounge etc) allows you to not spend too much but keep the main areas warm.
  2. You'll spend less on heating - once you heat a room it will stay warmer for longer.
  3. It will add to the value of your home if you plan to move.

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Block it off

If you have some rooms you never use, it's a great idea to block them off. Consider either closing the door or, as mentioned above, invest in some cheap curtains. That way you'll be only heating the areas you regularly use instead of spreading limited heat through a large space.

Hot water bottles

Hot water bottles are an underrated commodity - they heat amazingly well and are cheap to buy and use.

Putting a hot water bottle into the bottom of your bed half an hour before you goto sleep means you're sure to goto a warm bed.

Funky covers on a hot water bottle give a child something warm to hold that's also cuddly and cute.

Hot water bottles are useful in all situations - and if placed under some blankets will often keep their heat for 5-8 hours.

Door Snakes

These ingenious items allow you to block drafts that sneak in through even the most tight fitting door. Usually made of material and filled with sand, they're cheap, durable and do a surprising good job. Simply place along the bottom of a closed door.

Warmer Clothes

Consider investing in some warm, thick, comfortable clothing. Ugg boots and warm hats are a great option - a lot of body heat is lost out the head and feet. A warm robe is great for relaxing at home as well as being comfortable.

Sometimes it can feel so cold that you think ice is forming inside your house. Image from Christmas Stock Images.
Sometimes it can feel so cold that you think ice is forming inside your house. Image from Christmas Stock Images.


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    • profile image

      debi maddox 5 years ago

      my house is built in 1921/ its huge w/ wood floors and high ceilings.

      it is so pleasant- until wintertime . things i do to stay warm w/o much money= big sheets of plastic over each and every window, then blankets over each and every window. rugs, rugs and more rugs! block off rooms not in use,,the northern front part of home is blocked off by end of december. the wals are so cold, i have to put Xtra blankets all along the outter walls baseboards to help maintain warmth. (thrift store for cheap heavy blankets )

    • profile image

      taryn skinner 6 years ago

      i live in an old heritage house and the heat is a little slow like a farm how can i keep a blast of heat in the apt it's a bachelorette apt and i will like to stay here a little longer how to keep myself warm i also noticed that when the heat is down it makes you scream sleep talk and attracts animals to the property is there anyone out there that can get the back up generator working it's at 375 sackville st the whole house and once again it attracts animals

      taryn skinner

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      Lance Frank 6 years ago

      great idea

    • profile image

      Tom Tiff 6 years ago

      Great ideas

    • profile image

      shaz 6 years ago

      to butch45...plastic the windows?what does that mean..i have a wood house and trying to keep it warm

    • Butch45 profile image

      Butch45 7 years ago

      There is a few more things you can do like plastic the windows in winter if you have winter. Close of under house vents in winter. Wood houses are generally warmer than having brick or concrete.But no insulation is not an option here so we not run into that much but I sure did when I lived in southern BC. You have some great ideas though.

    • Tusitala Tom profile image

      Tom Ware 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      All very commonsense stuff, WryLilt. My wife and I raised three kids in a place much like you're in now. The place was originally an old farm set high on a hill with 180 degree plus panoramic views - wonderful. Except that in the westerly breezes it used to almost groan and bend under the onslaught. Despite leaving in on three occasions (when we rented it out) it was our home for forty-six years. Now we live in a modern three-bedroom townhouse with three bathrooms, on-suites, that sort of thing, but the memories from the old place...magic.

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 7 years ago from SE MA

      No, ours is very well insulated. We just like to save every dime we can :-)

    • WryLilt profile image

      Susannah Birch 7 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia

      Is it a brick veneer? Ours is an old timber house on stumps - so cold comes in from every angle. It's a rental so no insulation... and we don't even have reverse cycle aircon. =( So many things I plan to do when I become a hubionaire!

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 7 years ago from SE MA

      We have a new home and still do all that :-)