Major Winter Mistakes Most Homeowners Make & Smart Tricks To Try

Shannon Quinn - November 29, 2023

Winter can be an expensive time of year, because you have to pay to keep your house warm. Homeowners can make several mistakes in the winter that can lead to inefficiencies and higher energy bills. Here at Home Addict, we’re going over some of the most common mistakes that people make. In addiction, we’re going to give some general advice about what steps you can take in the winter to keep your home warm, and save money on your utility bills. Thankfully, there are a lot of things that can be done to make your home more efficient. Here are some of the best tips for making your home warm this winter. Be sure not to make any mistakes!

Natural sunlight can help keep your house warm in the winter. Credit: Shutterstock

Take Advantage of Natural Sunlight

Far too many people forget to utilize natural light in the winter time to help heat their home. Taking advantage of natural sunlight in the winter can provide numerous benefits. Natural sunlight can help to heat your home, reducing the need for artificial heating. This can result in lower energy bills. Sunlight is also known to boost mood and improve mental health. During the shorter days of winter, natural sunlight can help to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. Sunlight is a source of vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones and overall health. By taking advantage of natural sunlight, you can save energy, improve your health, and create a warm and inviting home environment, all without relying on artificial heating. (via Off the Grid News)

Switch to LED Christmas lights to help save energy during the holidays. Credit: Shutterstock

Use LED Lights For Holiday Decorations

One mistake a lot of people make is that they’re still re-using their vintage Christmas lights to decorate the house. LED lights are a more energy-efficient option for holiday decorations compared to traditional incandescent lights. LED bulbs consume approximately 75% less energy, meaning they use less electricity and produce less heat. This makes LED lights a safer option, as they are less likely to overheat, and also more cost-effective as they require less energy to operate. By using LED lights for holiday decorations, you can reduce your energy usage and lower your energy bill. Additionally, LED lights tend to last longer than incandescent lights, meaning you won’t need to replace them as often, further reducing your costs over time. (via WCNC)

Learn how to optimize your thermostat settings. Credit: Shutterstock

Optimizing Your Thermostat

By optimizing your thermostat, you can help reduce energy usage and improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to adjust the temperature based on your schedule. Set the temperature to a comfortable level, such as 68°F when you’re home and awake, and 55°F when you’re asleep or away. The “Auto” mode on your thermostat can also help switch between heating and cooling as needed. Make sure your thermostat is in a location that accurately reflects the temperature of your home, and avoid placing it near windows or sources of heat or cold. Regular maintenance of your heating and cooling system, including changing air filters and having an annual tune-up, is also important. By following these tips, you can save energy and have a more comfortable home. (via Alps Comfort Air)

Cover your windows with plastic to help keep out the draft. Credit: Shutterstock

Insulate Windows With Clear Plastic Film

Insulating windows with clear plastic film can help reduce energy loss and improve the efficiency of your home. The plastic film is applied to the inside of the window frame, creating a barrier that helps to retain heat in the winter and reduce heat gain in the summer. The film works by creating a barrier that slows down heat transfer through the windows. Clear plastic allows natural light to pass through, so it won’t affect the appearance of your windows. It’s also easy to install and remove. Additionally, insulating windows with plastic film can help lower your heating and cooling costs, making your home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. (via Home Repair Tutor)

Flipping the ceiling fan in the opposite direction helps circulate heat. Credit: Shutterstock

Flipping Your Ceiling Fan

In the winter, it’s recommended to flip the direction of your ceiling fan to clockwise. When a ceiling fan is set to rotate clockwise, it creates an upward draft that pushes warm air near the ceiling back down into the living space. This helps to distribute warm air more evenly throughout the room, reducing the strain on your heating system and making your home feel more comfortable. To change the direction of your ceiling fan, look for a switch on the fan housing or use the remote control. Typically, the switch will have two positions, one for summer (counterclockwise) and one for winter (clockwise). (via Home Depot)

Wear warm clothes, and lower the thermostat. Credit: Shutterstock

Dress in Layers

A mistake that a lot of people make in the winter time is that they walk around their house like it’s the summer. If you want to save money on your energy bills, start dressing in layers, even when you’re indoors. Dressing in layers during the winter time is a smart strategy for staying warm and comfortable. By wearing multiple layers of clothing, you can more easily regulate your body temperature as you go about your day. For example, if you start to feel too warm, you can remove a layer, and if you start to feel too cold, you can add a layer. (via Vogue)

Consider swapping to a Smart thermostat. Credit: Shutterstock

Consider Swapping Out to a Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats offer several benefits to homeowners looking to improve energy efficiency and comfort in their homes. Firstly, they allow you to control your heating and cooling system remotely, either through an app or online. This makes it easy to adjust temperatures from anywhere. They also learn your schedule and preferences over time, automatically adjusting the temperature to your desired setting without the need for manual adjustments. This feature not only saves you time, but also helps reduce energy waste. Additionally, smart thermostats can show you real-time energy usage and provide usage reports, helping you to identify areas where you can make changes to reduce energy costs. They can also be integrated with other smart home devices, making it easy to control multiple systems from one central location. Overall, smart thermostats are a smart investment for anyone looking to increase energy efficiency, comfort, and convenience in their home. (via Efficiency Vermont)

Try to seal any gaps and drafts around your windows. Credit: Shutterstock

Sealing Drafts Around Doors and Windows

A simple and cost-effective way to improve the energy efficiency of your home is to seal drafts around doors and windows. By sealing these areas, you prevent warm air from escaping and cold air from entering, which helps to keep your home comfortable and reduces the workload of your heating and cooling system. This, in turn, can lead to lower energy bills as your system won’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature. Sealing drafts can also help reduce noise pollution, increase indoor air quality, and prevent pests and insects from entering your home. Additionally, sealing drafts can improve the overall durability of your doors and windows, as it helps prevent moisture and other environmental factors from causing damage. (via This Old House)

Insulating your attic is worth the investment. Credit: Shutterstock

Insulating Your Attic

Insulating your attic can have several benefits in terms of energy efficiency and home comfort. One of the primary benefits is that it helps to reduce heat loss from your home during the winter. When your attic is properly insulated, it acts as a barrier between the living spaces below and the cold air outside, keeping heat inside your home and reducing the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable temperature. In addition, insulation in your attic can help to regulate the temperature of your home, reducing the strain on your heating system and potentially extending its lifespan. Insulating your attic can also help to reduce noise from outside and reduce your monthly energy bills, as well as potentially increasing the value of your home. (via This Old House)

Make sure you are paying for regular maintenances for your furnace and heater. Credit: Shutterstock

Regular Maintenance on Your Furnace and Heater

Way too many people make the mistake of putting off paying for maintenance of their furnace and heater. Regular maintenance on your furnace and heater is important because it helps to ensure that these systems are running efficiently and safely. Without regular maintenance, the furnace or heater may experience problems such as clogged air filters, dirty burners, and worn out parts. This can lead to decreased performance, higher energy bills, and the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. A professional HVAC technician can inspect, clean, and repair your furnace or heater as needed, helping to extend its lifespan and improve its performance. Additionally, regular maintenance can help to identify potential problems early, allowing for timely repairs and helping to prevent more serious and expensive issues from developing down the road. (via HVAC Training Shop)

A technician changing the air filter from an HVAC system. Credit: Shutterstock

Change Air Filters and Furnace Filters

Similar to neglecting the furnace, a lot of people simply forget to change the filters. It is important to change air filters and furnace filters regularly to keep the heating system running efficiently and effectively. Dirty filters can clog the system and reduce its performance, making it work harder to produce the same amount of heat. This can lead to increased energy costs, decreased indoor air quality, and reduced equipment lifespan. By changing the filters regularly, you ensure that your heating system is working at its best, providing you with clean, warm air and helping you save money on your energy bills. Additionally, clean filters can help prolong the life of your heating system, as it reduces the wear and tear on the equipment and reduces the risk of breakdowns and repairs. (via Clean Alert)

Be sure to check out air ducts and attic bypasses. Credit: Shutterstock

Check Out Air Ducts and Attic Bypasses

It is important to check out air ducts and attic bypasses in the winter because these areas can be major sources of heat loss. If the air ducts are not properly sealed, warm air can escape and cold air can enter, making it harder for your heating system to maintain a comfortable temperature. In addition, attic bypasses can allow warm air to escape into the attic, which can lead to ice dams on the roof and other issues. By sealing the cracks and checking the air ducts and attic bypasses, you can help ensure that your home stays warm and energy-efficient during the winter months. This can help lower your heating bills and make your home more comfortable. (via House Insulation Inc)

This dog is enjoying the warmth coming out of the air vent. Credit: Shutterstock

Make Sure Your Vents Are Open

It is important to make sure your vents are open in the winter because air vents play a crucial role in distributing warm air throughout your home. If the vents are closed, warm air can become trapped in the ducts, leading to an increase in pressure and a decreased flow of air. This can cause your heating system to work harder than it needs to and could result in damage to the system. Additionally, if certain vents are closed, it can result in uneven heating, with some rooms being much warmer or cooler than others. By making sure your vents are open, you ensure that warm air is being distributed evenly throughout your home, keeping your family comfortable and reducing the risk of damage to your heating system. (via Anderson Services)

Keeping doors open will ensure that heat reaches every room. Credit: Shutterstock

Keep Doors and Vents Open (Even if You’re Not Using the Room)

Keeping interior doors open in the winter can help distribute heat more evenly throughout the house. This can reduce the need for higher heating levels in certain rooms and can prevent cold spots from forming. It can also help improve the overall comfort of the house by allowing warm air to circulate more freely. Keeping interior doors open can also help reduce the strain on your heating system, as it doesn’t have to work as hard to heat individual rooms. Additionally, having open interior doors can reduce the risk of fire by improving air flow and ventilation, which helps to dissipate fumes and other dangerous gasses. (via HVAC Ninja)

Check your fireplaces and chimneys to make sure they are working properly. Credit: Shutterstock

Check Chimneys and Fireplaces

It is important to check chimneys and fireplaces in the winter time to ensure they are safe and functioning properly. A chimney that is not cleaned and inspected regularly can become a fire hazard, while a damaged chimney can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Additionally, chimneys that are clogged with debris or have damaged parts can reduce the efficiency of a fireplace and make it difficult to start a fire. Checking chimneys and fireplaces before using them during the winter will help to ensure that they are safe and working properly, allowing you to enjoy a warm and cozy fire without any worries. (via Bob Vila)

Thermal curtains can help keep the room warmer at night. Credit: Shutterstock

Use Thermal Curtains

Using thermal curtains in the winter time can provide a number of benefits in terms of energy efficiency and comfort. Thermal curtains are designed to provide insulation and reduce heat loss, which can help keep your home warm and reduce your heating costs. They work by trapping air between the curtain and the window, which acts as a barrier to prevent heat from escaping your home. Thermal curtains are typically made from heavy, insulating materials such as velvet, flannel, or wool, which helps to keep your home warm even on the coldest days. Additionally, thermal curtains come in a variety of styles and colors, so you can choose a set that matches your home décor while still providing the benefits of insulation. (via Sealed)

Be sure to reset your water heater thermostat. Credit: Shutterstock

Reset Your Water Heater Thermostat

Resetting the thermostat on your water heater can help optimize its energy efficiency and reduce your monthly energy bills. The ideal temperature setting for most water heaters is between 120-140°F. By resetting the thermostat to this range, you can reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the water, which can result in lower energy bills. In addition, reducing the temperature can also extend the lifespan of your water heater by reducing the amount of stress on the unit. By regularly checking and adjusting the thermostat, you can ensure that your water heater is running at optimal efficiency and saving you money on your energy bills. (via Water Heater Hub)

Keep your oven door open to use the excess heat after baking. Credit: Shutterstock

Leave the Oven Door Open After You Use It

Leaving the oven door open after use can help distribute heat throughout your home, making it feel warmer and potentially reducing your need for other heating sources. This works because the warm air from the oven will circulate into your living space and increase the overall temperature of your home. However, it’s important to take safety precautions when doing this, such as making sure children and pets can’t touch the hot oven, and placing a barrier between the oven and any flammable objects. Additionally, it’s not a substitute for proper insulation and heating, and you should still use your heating system as needed to maintain a comfortable temperature. (via Kitchen Seer)

Using space heaters can help save on overall heat costs in the winter time. Credit: Shutterstock

Use Space Heaters

A lot of people avoid buying space heaters, because they assume that they will take up too much electricity. Space heaters can potentially help lower heating bills in the winter if used properly. By only heating the areas of the home where people are present, rather than trying to heat the entire home with central heating, it is possible to save on energy costs. However, it is important to be mindful of the type of space heater being used, as some models can be less efficient and end up using more energy than they save. It is also important to be cautious about the safety risks associated with using space heaters, such as fire hazards and the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s always best to consult with a heating and cooling professional to determine if space heaters would be an effective and safe solution for your home. (via Consumer Reports)

At night, turn down the temperature on the thermostat to help save money. Credit: Shutterstock

Turn the Thermostat Down While You’re Sleeping

Some people assume that they should keep their thermostat set to 70 degrees at all times of the day. Turning down the thermostat while you’re sleeping can help lower your heating bills in the winter time. During the night, your body naturally lowers its temperature, and a slightly cooler room can still be comfortable while you sleep. Additionally, the lower temperature while you’re sleeping can reduce the strain on your heating system, potentially prolonging its lifespan and reducing the risk of a costly breakdown. By turning down the thermostat at night, you can save money on your energy bills while still staying warm and comfortable in your bed. (via How Stuff Works)

Using a wood stove can help warm up the house. Credit: Shutterstock

Consider Installing a Wood Stove

Installing a wood stove can have several benefits. Wood stoves can be a more cost-effective heating solution compared to traditional heating systems, especially if you have access to a source of free firewood. There are environmental benefits, because wood is a renewable energy source. Wood stoves also release less air pollution than fossil fuel-burning heating systems. They are highly efficient, and can provide reliable heat even during power outages during your next big blizzard. There is also the aesthetic quality of having a fire. Wood stoves can add a unique touch to a room and can also serve as a focal point for social gatherings. However, it’s important to note that there are also potential downsides to installing a wood stove, such as the need for regular maintenance and the potential for fire hazards. (via Bob Vila)

Throw rugs can help make wood floors warmer. Credit: Shutterstock

Use Throw Rugs

Using throw rugs in the winter time can bring several benefits to your home. Firstly, throw rugs add an extra layer of insulation to your flooring, helping to keep your feet warm and cozy. This can be particularly important if you have a hard flooring surface, such as tile or hardwood, that tends to feel cold in the winter. Secondly, throw rugs can add color, texture, and pattern to your home decor, helping to brighten up a room and make it feel more inviting during the long, dark winter months. Additionally, throw rugs can also help to absorb noise, making your home quieter and more peaceful. Finally, throw rugs can be easily removed and washed, making them a practical and low-maintenance option for adding warmth and comfort to your home during the winter. (via Jaipur Rugs)

Credit: Shutterstock

Seal Cracks Outside of Your House

Sealing cracks and gaps around windows, doors, and other openings can help reduce air infiltration and improve the energy efficiency of your home. This can result in lower heating and cooling bills. It can also make your house feel more comfortable, because it reduces the number of hot or cold spots in the home. Jeff Yeager from AARP said, “A little experiment I did at our house last winter showed that every 10-ounce tube of window caulking (costing about $3 each) that I used to seal cracks around the house lowered our heating bill by about $3 per month. Over the course of the winter, that meant a savings of about $15 per $3 tube, and that was only in the first year. I’m convinced that I can caulk my way to becoming a millionaire!” (via AARP)

There could be a draft coming from your fireplace when you’re not using it. Credit: Shutterstock

Close the Fireplace When You Aren’t Using It

Closing the fireplace when you aren’t using it is important because it helps to prevent heat loss and drafts in your home. If the fireplace is open, warm air can escape up the chimney and cold air can enter the home. Additionally, if the fireplace is not properly sealed, it can create drafts and increase the amount of cold air that enters the home. Closing the damper or glass doors will help to keep the warm air in your home and reduce the amount of energy required to heat the space. Additionally, closing the fireplace when it’s not in use can reduce the risk of fire, and it will also help to reduce the amount of ash, soot, and smoke that can accumulate in the chimney. (via Family Handyman)

Switching to flannel sheets will help keep you warmer at night. Credit: Shutterstock

Use Flannel Sheets

Using flannel sheets in the winter time is recommended for several reasons. Flannel is a soft, warm, and cozy fabric that helps to keep you warm during the colder months. The texture of flannel sheets provides insulation to help retain body heat, which makes them a great option for staying warm in bed. Additionally, flannel sheets are often made of natural fibers like cotton or wool, which helps to wick away moisture, making them ideal for use in the winter when the air is drier. Overall, flannel sheets can help improve your sleep quality, making you feel more rested and refreshed when you wake up in the morning. (via Overstock)

This large couch is covering the draft that would come through the window. Credit: Shutterstock

Rearrange Your Furniture

Not everyone wants to rearrange their furniture, because it’s a tough job. Most likely, you would have to get help from family and friends to move something heavy. Rhonda Day from Living on the Cheap said, “Move larger sofas and chairs away from drafty windows if possible to stay warm. To make your living areas even warmer and cozier, pile a stack of soft, comfortable blankets on a chair or in a basket in your living room, or even on the floor. They will be inviting for friends and family, offer warmth and make the winter season a little bit brighter.” (via Living on the Cheap)

You can prep your radiators to make them more efficient.Credit: Shutterstock

Prep Radiators Before the Winter Starts

Using foil on radiators is a simple and effective way to help improve the heating efficiency in your home during the winter. First, clean the radiator surface. Dust and dirt can prevent the foil from adhering properly, so make sure to clean the surface of the radiator before applying the foil. Measure the height and width of the radiator and cut the foil to size. It’s important to ensure that the foil covers the entire radiator surface. You can use double-sided tape or clips to attach the foil to the radiator. Make sure the shiny side of the foil is facing the room, as this will help to reflect the heat back into the room. Use tape or clips to secure the edges of the foil to the radiator and prevent it from peeling away. (via HowStuffWorks)

Credit: Shutterstock

Check the Roof

It is important to check your roof in the winter time because heavy snowfall and low temperatures can cause damage to the roof, gutters, and shingles. Snow can accumulate on the roof and put extra weight on the structure, leading to potential collapse. Ice dams can form in gutters and cause water to back up and leak into the house, causing damage to walls, ceilings, and insulation. The cold temperatures can cause shingles to become brittle and crack, allowing water to penetrate the roof deck. Regular inspections of the roof can help identify potential problems early and prevent more serious damage from occurring. If you’re not comfortable getting on the roof yourself, it’s best to hire a professional to do the inspection. (via Today’s Homeowner)

Credit: Shutterstock

Plug Up Your Wall Sockets in the Winter

Plugging up wall sockets in the winter is important to prevent cold air from entering your home. Wall sockets can be a source of air leaks, especially if they are located near exterior walls. This can result in warm air escaping and cold air entering your home. This can lead to higher heating costs and a drafty, uncomfortable living space. By plugging up your wall sockets with foam gaskets or other sealing materials, you can reduce these air leaks and keep your home warm and energy-efficient. Additionally, plugging up wall sockets can help prevent pests and other small animals from entering your home through the sockets. (via Hunker)

It feels really cozy to sleep with. your pets in the winter. Credit: Shutterstock

Sleep With Your Dog or Cat in the Winter Time

Sleeping with a dog or cat in the winter can provide a source of warmth and comfort. Pets generate body heat, which can make a bed feel cozier and help you fall asleep faster. Additionally, sleeping with a pet can have psychological benefits such as reducing stress and anxiety. It also provides a sense of security. However, it’s important to consider the size and sleeping habits of your pet, as well as your own comfort, before allowing them to share your bed. You should also be mindful of any health or safety concerns related to your pet, such as fleas or allergies. In general, if you and your pet are comfortable sleeping together, it can be a great way to stay warm and cozy during the winter months. However, it’s important to make sure that both you and your pet are safe and comfortable at all times.(via Sleep Foundation)