How do we keep our homes warm at low cost? | Knowledge & Environment

1. Proper heating

In order to get through the winter well, you should first consider when and where warmth is really important. Correct heating also means: not always and not everywhere the same amount of heating. Because every degree more room temperature increases the energy requirement by six percent.

On the other hand, if you lower the temperature in the bedroom during the day or in the living room at night, you can save a lot on energy costs. However, it does not make sense and is also uneconomical to always turn the heating completely on and off. Turning it off completely cools down the walls unnecessarily, especially in unrenovated houses, and promotes the formation of mold on the walls.

Programmable thermostats can help here. They work like timers and only heat the rooms to the set temperature at the desired time. They can be installed without much effort.

Bleed radiators and close doors saves heating costs

If rooms are heated differently, it is important to always close the room doors so that the heat cannot escape into cooler rooms.

So that the radiators can distribute the warm air throughout the room, they should not be covered by furniture or curtains in front of them. A minimum distance of 30 cm applies. Ideally, the radiators should be clearly visible – and better not put anything on top.

It is also important to bleed the radiators. If air has collected in them, they no longer heat efficiently and the rooms do not get really warm.

2. Saving heat through proper sealing

In order to keep it warm inside, as little heat as possible should escape to the outside through leaking windows and doors. If you seal old window frames with sealing tape made of foam or rubber, you can save around seven percent heating energy.

A candle is a good way to determine whether the windows are leaking. Where it pulls through leaks, the flame begins to flicker.

Insulate the windows yourself with Plexiglas

Double-glazed windows insulate much better than single-glazed windows thanks to the air gap between the two panes. With a thin sheet of plexiglass, single windows can be made into double-glazed windows relatively easily.

Water has condensed on a window from the inside

A lot of heat is lost through windows with single glazing – mold can also form here quickly

To do this, the plexiglass must be cut so that it is slightly larger than the window glass. Then the plexiglass pane can be attached to the inside of the window frame with Velcro or adhesive tape. This creates an insulating space between the glass and Plexiglas.

Curtains, blinds and shutters against the cold

If you draw curtains on your windows in the evening, you not only keep out the looks of your neighbors, but also the heat inside. Because curtains, blinds, roller shutters or shutters insulate the window surfaces. The denser the material, the better the insulation.

Skylight with shutters down

Shutters and curtains insulate window surfaces against the cold from outside

Thick curtains can also help on house and apartment doors, and suitable seals in the door frame as well as movable cold stoppers between the door and the floor keep the heat in.

3. Ventilate properly, even in winter

If we ventilate incorrectly, a lot of heat is lost. But you can’t do it without airing it out completely, because then mold quickly develops. A four-person household releases between six and twelve liters of water into the air every day. The higher the humidity and the lower the room temperature, the greater the risk of mold.

After bathing, showering and cooking, it is a good idea to open the window wide for five to ten minutes so that the moist air can escape. The bedroom should also be well ventilated as soon as you get up – also with shock ventilation. Of course, always switch the heating off and only then switch it on again.

Measuring device for humidity in the bathroom: display of room temperature and humidity

Humidity meter: It should be permanently below 60 percent to prevent mold from forming

Regular short airing is also beneficial in between. It is optimal to open the windows wide two to four times a day and to create a draft as much as possible; five minutes each in the cold winter months and ten minutes in the transitional period. This is the quickest way to replenish the used air.

Tilted windows are heat killers

The basic rule is: no continuous ventilation with tilted windows in the cold season! This is because a lot more energy is lost in the process than with forced ventilation.

Bedroom with wide open balcony door

Stale, moist air is exchanged more quickly through intermittent ventilation than through continuous ventilation with a tilted window

If windows are opened wide for five to 10 minutes, around 10-20 percent of the heat from the heating is lost, depending on the building. With continuous ventilation with tilted windows, there are significantly more.

Many new and renovated buildings therefore have ventilation systems with heat recovery. These supply the rooms with preheated, fresh air. The energy comes from the waste heat of the used exhaust air. In such buildings, one should not ventilate to the outside in winter, the air exchange is sufficient.

4. Keeping you warm – yourself

Actually, the main thing about heating is that we don’t get cold ourselves. Our body ensures that the internal organs and the brain are consistently kept warm at 36 to 37 degrees. If our body temperature drops, the blood supply to the skin and thus the heat dissipation is reduced. That’s why we often have cold feet in winter.

However, we can also prevent ourselves from freezing by wearing warmer clothing. Unlike a heater, clothing does not provide us with heat from the outside, but rather keeps our body heat close to the body.

Sheep in a meadow in New Zealand

Thanks to their wool, sheep rarely freeze.

Some materials are particularly good at this – for example wool. The reason for this is the structure of the wool fibers. Wool goods consist of up to 85% air. This layer of air insulates very well and prevents our body heat from being lost to the environment.

Cozy and warm – with carpet, socks and blankets

Carpets have a similar effect. They also prevent our body heat from being released to the cool floor. A carpet in a ground floor apartment also insulates against the cold from below.

Feet in socks and slippers on a carpet

Slippers and thick socks help against cold feet

Thick socks and slippers work best against cold feet because they enclose the entire foot and insulate it from all sides. And at night, a warm duvet keeps your whole body nice and warm.

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