What are the best ways to help keep heat in your home? Can I do it with a small budget?
Insulate your garage door, foam attic (expensive but works), caulk windows and replace if you can.
Believe or not heavy drapes can make a noticeable difference right away. Even if you have to buy them one pair at a time or if you have a hotel salvage in your area. If you are handy with a caulk gun and have a little time. Take a strip of toilet paper hold it close to receptacles and other cracks, if the paper moves you have air. Make sure your attic access is securely in place. If it doesn;t close tight, just duct tape the edges to seal it air tight. If your house has a crawl space make sure you close the foundation vents in winter. Take a good look at your doors on a sunny day. if you see light around the edges you got air. How you fix it depends on the type door and your level of expertise.
You can buy electrical outlet insulation and use these on all of the outlets on exterior walls of your home. Using an old rug or towel to fill/close any gap at the bottom of entry doors will help keep cold out and heat in. Make sure fireplace flues are closed and sealed properly when not in use.
Don't run bathroom fans for longer than 15 minutes, they increase the amount of outside air being brought in. If your shower doesn't dry, use a squeegie to get the water into the drain and avoid problems with humidity as well.
There are actually insulated quilt shades for windows and you can take a quicker and less expensive approach. You can create your own window quilts if you have drafty windows, sewing isn't required. Just hang a quilt or blanket on a sturdy curtain rod against the window. For it to look best and not clash with your decor (or be seen from outside) you may wish to sandwich the quilt between some white sheers facing the street and your curtain or put the quilt between two curtains.
Depending on the actual outdoor temps and the amount of sun your home can take in during the day, it may not do you any good to open your curtains during the day to let the sun warm your home. Be sure to take this into account as many homes don't have the most efficient windows and are a source of heat loss in winter.
Make sure your heating system gets a tune-up every year. Most Americans don't do this and they let the system slowly fall into disrepair. Some fairly minor issues when overlooked CAN affect the amount of heat getting into your home from your system, while your doors, windows, and even electrical outlets will happily let it out.
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