6 Steps to a Cozy Winter Home

When plummeting temperatures and cruel storms combine to make the outdoors forbidding, everyone takes refuge indoors. There's only one potential problem: If aggravations like drafts and cold-to-the-touch surfaces plague your home at this time of year, then it's going to be a long winter indeed. Looking to make your home a comfier, cozier refuge this winter? Your choices run the gamut from the quick and easy to the truly transformative. For starters, think about simply adding accessories that either literally provide warmth or foster a welcoming, intimate environment. Alternatively, to make a big jump from chilly and bleak to homey and snug, pull out all the stops and put in radiant floor heating. Which approach makes the most sense for your home depends on a number of factors; there's no single right solution that suits every situation. Click through to learn about the range of options you should consider now, before the shivering season goes into full swing!

This content has been brought to you by Warmboard. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

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  1. Set the Scene

    Cozy-living-room

    Relax your interior decorating scheme. It's wise to consider more sweeping improvements, but don't ignore the power of modest details to help foster a cozy ambience. Start by exchanging bright, cool overhead lights for the subdued glow of table and floor lamps. Meanwhile, cover bare floors with area rugs, and outfit seating areas with blankets and throw pillows. And if your home suffers from uneven heating, consider altering your furniture arrangement to bring the seating areas closer to the source of heat, be it a radiator, baseboard unit, or forced-air vent. 

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  2. Get with the Program

    Programmable-thermostat-adjustment

    Install a programmable thermostat. Budget-conscious homeowners seek any opportunity to spend less on heating. The tricky part is to save without compromising comfort. Here, a programmable thermostat can be a tremendous ally, automatically helping you achieve two things at once—toasty temperatures and manageable costs. Simply set the unit to run on your family's schedule, so the heat will turn itself up when you wake up in the morning or return home at night, and back down when you go to sleep or leave the house for the day. You may never feel any difference, but you'll probably notice the difference in your bills.

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  3. Button Up

    Caulking-window-interior

    Seal doors and windows. Drafts are the enemy of a cozy home, as nothing quite so quickly steals comfort as a jolt of cold air. Most of the time, dodging drafts means plugging up any cracks and crevices around openings to the outdoors. Caulk and weatherstripping commonly remedy such issues, but direct measures like door sweeps and so-called "draft snakes" also do the trick. To cut down further on heat loss from windows, you may even decide to put up plastic insulation film or, for that matter, curtains. First, determine where exactly drafts are entering your house; the locations of the problem areas may suggest their own solutions. 

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  4. Be a Heat-Keeper

    Insulating-attic

    Insulate the attic. Insulation helps stop drafts throughout the house. In the attic specifically, however, insulation provides an additional benefit. Here, it works to prevent the common phenomenon of heat escaping through the roof. As insulating the attic tends to be easy, at least compared with doing so elsewhere, there's no good reason to hesitate. You may even be able to handle the job yourself. The benefits are twofold: In the short term, you can expect a more comfortable indoor temperature, and in the long run, you can look forward to lower monthly bills. It's a no-brainer!

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  5. Play Detective

    Air-vent

    Evaluate your current heating system. Like so much else in your home, your HVAC system requires regular maintenance in order to perform at its peak. For that reason, it’s only prudent to have the furnace inspected every year, ideally before winter even begins. If yours is a forced-air system, consider hiring a specialist to assess the ductwork as well. Notoriously prone to heat loss, ducts are often leaky enough to compromise energy efficiency by as much as 50 percent. That may be one reason why, even when your thermostat is set to a toasty temperature, you're still uncomfortable. 

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  6. Make the Switch

    Floor-heating

    Consider radiant heating. Some homeowners choose radiant heating because the efficient technology requires no leaky ductwork. But most make the switch because, of all the options, radiant creates the coziest and most pleasant at-home environment. With their cyclical, stop-and-start operation, forced-air systems swing temperatures from chilly to stifling. Radiant systems from industry leaders like Warmboard work in a different, more ingenious way, delivering consistent heat at floor level. The result? Even, all-encompassing, "everywhere" warmth and unparalleled comfort.

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