keeping your room warm in the winter

topic posted Sun, October 8, 2006 - 7:27 AM by  Courtney
It's getting cold pretty fast, and the room I just moved into has horrible heating. I was wondering what other people used to keep the heat in their rooms. What is best to use for sealing windows and doors? and is using a Humidifier a good way to go?
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  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Sun, October 8, 2006 - 8:17 AM
    The easy answer is "find and eliminate all drafts". I generally eliminate them with caulk or a mixture of caulk and foam.

    That might or might not be a sufficient answer depending on where your room is, how bad the heat is, and how badly your room is insulated.

    I don't think a humidifier is going to help you keep heat, and you might end up with a room that's both cold *and* damp, an unpleasant combination. Generally a humidifer comes into play when you have a heating system that's too aggressive, and it dries out the air. That doesn't sound like your complaint here.
  • Unsu...

    Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Sun, October 8, 2006 - 8:34 AM
    You can put sheet plastic over the wondows. It's not pretty but it lets light in and the dead air space insulates quite well.

    Humidifiers will produce heat if they heat the water to liberate moisture. I like those super cheap $10.00 VICKS units they sell at the wall mart.
    they are sooooo cheap I just toss 'em in the spring.
    YA do gotta add salt to the water to get the water to boil and vaporize.
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Mon, October 9, 2006 - 10:07 AM
    I used the 3M window film over my crappy (soon to be raplaced when I get the money) single pane windows... You apply double sided tape to the inside frame and the apply the film and then heat it witha blow dryer.... Its more expensive than just visqueen but its almost* transparent and makes a good seal. There is also a product (a bit more expensive) that goes on the exterior of the window.
    • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

      Mon, October 9, 2006 - 10:15 AM
      How effective is the 3M window film, dano?
      • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

        Mon, October 9, 2006 - 10:50 AM
        Well. I noticed a pretty big difference immediately. We put the stuff on about five single pane windows that have old wood frames that hinge open. They were very drafty. We ended up leaving the stuff on many of the windows over the summer. I think it cost us about $35 bucks for the kit we bought that had a pretty big sheet of the stuff thta you cut to size. (As opposed to buying several single window kits)

        The main benefit that if you have leaky windows it will stop the air infiltration almost if not completely (if you take care to install it right). It also creates a "mostly dead" airspace between the window and the film that acts as a thermal buffer... The film combined with nice termal barrier curtains is a very noticeable improvement. BTW you can get thermal drapes REALLY cheap these days at most big box and home furnishing stores... Google it and you'll find tons of options from about $15-40 bucks per window.

        I know I have saved the cost of the thermal film in propane saved in the year and a half its been up.
        • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

          Mon, October 9, 2006 - 11:06 AM
          Would you suggest using the thermal shades with the film or in place of it? Ii sounds like you haven't taken the film off yet. Do you have any idea how hard it is to take off? Does it leave any residues?
          • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

            Mon, October 9, 2006 - 11:48 AM
            The film is really quite easy to use - both putting it up and taking it off. You DO need to do it before it gets very cold. Also seal any cracks around the outside of the windows and down near the wainscotting since lots of cold air can seep in through these kinds of cracks too.
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Mon, October 9, 2006 - 1:50 PM
    Kerosene heaters can work quite well but you MUST crack open a window a little or there is a chance of suffocation. In pparticular the 10000BTU Kerosun brand are quite good and safe to use.
    • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

      Mon, October 9, 2006 - 4:14 PM
      The kerosene heater sounds a little bit dangerous and counter-productive if you need to leave a window open to avoid potential suffocation. Why not use an electric one if it's needed after all the windows and cracks have been sealed?
      • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

        Tue, October 10, 2006 - 8:16 AM
        In addition to the windows, I'd also recommend insulating the light switches and electrical outlets. These can get quite drafty if they are on an outside wall.

        Most hardware stores will have kits for this. You just remove the switch place and place the insulation between the wall and the switchplate. Very easy and it cuts down on the drafts quite a bit.
      • Unsu...

        Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

        Thu, October 12, 2006 - 9:35 AM
        Probably the obvious benefit is kerosene heaters run without electricity and are cheaper and more efficient. We have one we bought about 8 years ago when our furnace died in the middle of winter and it took a few weeks to rip out the old oil set up and convert to natural gas. The kerosene heater was great for heating our full living room when it was about 10 degrees outside. I've used it a few times since when the power has gone out or for parties where people want to hang out outside to smoke when it's getting cooler (like Halloween). I always keep a couple big cans of kersosene in the garage with the heater just in case the power goes out.
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Sat, October 21, 2006 - 10:42 PM
    I lived in an appartment last winter that when we awoke in the morning, the average tempature was 45 degrees. We had to put plastic over the windows and let me say, it saved us. The wind couldn't blow though our appartment anymore. Also if you aren't using a room and there isn't a door, put a blanket or sheet to block it off so you don't have to heat an unused room.
    • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

      Sun, October 22, 2006 - 7:35 AM
      Speaking of "blowing thru" someplace - put towels or those draft dodgers at the bottom of your outside doors. You would be surprised how much cold air blows in if there is a gap between the floor and the door.

      And since cold air sinks - you get the coldest blast on the floor.
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Sat, October 28, 2006 - 6:11 AM
    Lots of good info in this thread.

    If you like to sew, you can also make window covers. Go to the thrift store and find a few good thick quilted bedspreads. Cut so that after the piece is hemmed it's about a 3" larger than the window frame/moulding on each side. Tack the top of the cover to the top of the window moulding with furniture tacks. Get some of those velcro dots - about 1 1/2" - Sew the "hook" part on to the window cover, and glue the "fuzzy" part to the wall about every 6" around the frame. If glue doesn't work, you can always tack them around the edges with the furniture tacks. Strips of velcro work, too, but is more expensive

    You can open or close them as needed. And they really do help to keep the room warm when the sun goes down.

    One other thing...don't forget the floors. I have a crawlspace in my house. In summer it keeps the house cool, but in winter the floors are cold, even though the crawlspace is insulated. Throw rugs are good floor insulators.

    • -
      offline 12

      Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

      Sat, October 28, 2006 - 10:40 AM
      > Speaking of "blowing thru" someplace - put towels or those draft dodgers at the bottom of your outside doors.

      When I was a kid, I remember playing with a popular accessory used to seal the bottom of the doors/windows. It looked like a "snake" made with a tube of cloth (about 3.5 inch diameter) filled with sawdust or rugs. You can probably recycle some old jeans legs and stuff them with anything you have.
  • Unsu...

    Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Sat, October 28, 2006 - 12:39 PM
    Ack! I just noticed, what part of Germany are you in?

    (I lived near Schweinfurt for about 6 years)

    Also, this may sound silly, but try a little more spicey food in the winter to warm things up - peppers, cayenne, etc.
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Sat, October 28, 2006 - 3:38 PM
    We have one room in our house that's always hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than other rooms. We put a big thick rug on the floor to insulate that. We put cellular shades on the windows and put thick curtains over them. Then we use a radiant circulating oil heater. It warms the room well without getting hot to the touch, which was important as the room is a child's bedroom. Plus, it has a thermostat so it turns off when the room is at temperature.

    Nothing against the people suggesting these, but the candles and kerosene heater ideas could be really dangerous. They're both great solutions for a short-term need (like a power outage) but they can be major fire hazards. I grew up in an area where a lot of people heated with wood and learned well that open flames are dangerous. Neither house we lived in when I was a child is still standing due to fires. If you do use anything like that, please don't go out and leave it running.
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Mon, October 30, 2006 - 7:34 AM
    Humidifier bad! Moist cold air is less comfortable than dry cold air.
    • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

      Mon, October 30, 2006 - 8:06 AM
      Choosing a Space Heater
      by Gary Foreman, The Dollar Stretcher

      Are your finances stressing you out?

      Last year when the price of natural gas went up, I was shocked at my heating bill. Almost one week’s paycheck a month was going to keeping my house at only 65 degrees. I decided a change had to be made.

      I sewed a heavy floor to ceiling curtain and hung it in the hallway separating the bottom floor of my house from the upstairs. That way I wasn't heating empty bedrooms and a second bathroom all day long. I turned my furnace thermostat down to it's lowest setting and bought a small electric heater to heat the bottom floor of my house during all but the time we were sleeping upstairs. My heating bill went down almost 35 percent!

      This year gas in my area is going up 12 percent and electric is actually going down. I am thinking about not using gas heat at all and getting another electric heater for upstairs at night. I am confused about what kind of electric heater to get. Which is the most efficient? I've seen quartz, ceramic, coil, and oil filled but I don't know which one works best? No matter which one I get I will try and get one with good safety features.

      Mary has discovered one of the best ways to reduce your home heating bill. Only heat the rooms that are occupied. Especially when there's only one person at home and they're only using one or two rooms. And the simplest way to heat a room is to use a portable electric space heater.

      Space heaters convert almost all of the electric used into heat. In that, they're very efficient. Unfortunately, electricity is often made from gas, oil or coal. And only about 30% of the energy used goes into electricity.

      So while you probably wouldn't want to use electric to heat your whole house in a cold climate, it's often the most cost efficient method for heating a smaller area. According the Central Maine Power Company the average cost of an electric heater is 13 cents per hour.

      Mary is also wise to be concerned about safety. Space heaters can be dangerous. Even deadly. Especially if you have small children. Safety features are an important part of the purchase decision. Make sure that you read and follow the instructions.

      Space heaters generally provide heat in one of two ways. Radiant heaters actually heat the objects at which they're aimed. They do not heat up the air in the room. The other type, convection heaters, warm the air around them.

      Radient vs. Convection heaters

      Not heating the air is an advantage for radiant heaters. There's no drafts from moving air. And radiant heat is great for heating just portions of a room. You're only heating the areas where you want heat. Just point the radiant heater at the chair that you're sitting in!

      Radiant heaters use a variety of heating elements. Many use quartz tubes. Quartz heaters generally cost less than $70 and are rated between 750 and 1500 watts.

      Parabolic heaters use a ceramic core. They cost a little more than quartz and put out about the same amount of heat per watt used. Ceramic element heaters are safer than heaters with coils. They use a larger heating area so it doesn't need to be as hot.

      Halogen or reflective heaters use an energy saving halogen bulb to produce heat which is reflected on nearby objects. The feeling is much like having the sun shine on you.

      Convection heaters can heat a whole room more quickly than a radiant heater. That works well if there are a number of people in the room or they're moving about within the room. Some convection heaters also have fans to circulate the air in the room.Convection heaters are inexpensive. You'll get one rated up to 5,000 Btu's for less than $50.

      Like radiant heaters, convection heaters use a variety of heating elements. Ceramic disc heaters cost up to $150 and produce up to 5,000 Btu's per hour.

      Oil and water filled units are the most efficient convection heaters. They utilize a heating element in a bath of oil or water. Like a water heater, the element cycles on and off. The water or oil stays warm in it's container and heats the surrounding air.

      Which heater will work for you?

      So which heater is best for Mary? Since she's considering a nighttime application people won't be moving around. So she's probably best choosing a radiant heater for each occupied bedroom. And, unless she has young children with inquisitive hands, the halogen or ceramic heater will provide more heat per kilowatt hour of electricity. Whatever Mary picks we hope that her utility bill won't be the hottest thing in her home this winter!

      ~Gary Foreman is the editor of The Dollar website. You'll find thousands of articles to help you stretcher you dollar and your day!
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Tue, October 31, 2006 - 8:52 PM
    i use an oil filled, electric radiator heater available at building supply stores. they're great for small spaces. it seems to be pretty efficient and puts out a decent amount of heat. plus, you can find them on sale for $25 or $30. sealing up any fresh air leaks will also help.
    • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

      Tue, October 31, 2006 - 11:29 PM
      i bought this one:
      a few years ago...

      comporable vornado heaters will run you about $70. it may seem pricey, but well worth it. it turns off if it tips over, or if the fan is blocked for an amount of time. my cat is a heat miser and when he sits to close to it for too long, it turns off.

      this is the same heater they gave to the lower income familys at the church my mom used to volunteer at.

      my recommendation, safety first, price second, im not saying buy the vornado, but make sure you buy the safest thing you can afford. heaters are replacable, you and your loved ones are not...
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Wed, November 1, 2006 - 11:49 AM
    I put the plastic film over my windows and it makes a huge difference (of course most of my windows are original to my 95 year old house). If you put it on well you can hardly even notice its there. Hardly to the extent that the cats don't notice its there, and try to jump onto the window sills and thus poke holes in the film. SIGH.

    One room in my house is so particularly cold I am wondering if it is worth it to tear down the two outside walls to insulate them. I can't do it without teardown since there are no studs, just strappings on the double brick so I would either need to build the walls out further or use the foam sheets.

    If you are just renting tearing down walls is obviously not an option, so I would use an electric space heater. If the window is sealed with plastic and the door shut, the heater should be pretty efficient at making it warmer. Spend the extra and get the kind that automatically shut off it it gets knocked over.
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Sun, November 5, 2006 - 12:01 AM
    i´d just change the window to a 4glass window as most of the cold comes in from there..

    it´s prolly not so common in other than northern countries, but atleast we don´t freeze our asses off in the winter...
    i mean belgium for example and UK got really SHITTY old houses that look like they´ve been built with the eyes closed ;D
    and when the winter comes, even if it´s just rainy, it´s WAY colder than in a normal house in sweden even if it´s -30 Celcius...

    also your feet takes up most of the coldness and shares is right away with the rest of the body, so putting massive woodenfloors on top of the floor will make it way warmer... as wood is more "alive" (it might raise the level of the floor so u gotta cut a part of the bottom of the doors, but it´s worth it)
    then just put a thick rug in the middle of the floor.. ;D

    i realize most of this requires a carpenter but hey, it´ll bring down your heating bills ;)))
    • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

      Sun, November 19, 2006 - 11:51 AM
      i just made the home-made thermal window shades from mother earth news. thank you lori for the link! i really love them. true diy satisfaction. i made them with emergency blankets instead of bubble wrap or plastic. next time i make them i won't use the emergency blanket because the material is pretty delicate compared to plastic. only prob with any plastic (including emergency blanket) is you can't wash these puppies. i had to hand sew these so the mergency blanket made the whole thing easier because of the thin-ness. plus, these shades are so cute.
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Sun, November 19, 2006 - 12:47 PM
    Drink lots of tea (chamomile, peppermint, nettles are all warming varieties), wear cozy slippers, take hot showers in the evening and immediately slip into a warm robe. If you have open floors, invest in some throw carpets. And close your drapes before it is dark.
    • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

      Mon, November 20, 2006 - 3:49 AM
      My daughter sleeps in the upstairs of our house which is cold in the winter, hot in the summer, I also use the window plastic, but first I put a bat of insulation or something in between for a little extra protection. The windows are small so I am making quilted curtains out of an old bed spread I bought at the thrift store. Then she has a small convection heater that I bought at the end of the winter months when it went on sale. Nice and toasty......
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Mon, November 20, 2006 - 7:43 AM
    Sounds like an odd solution, but depending on the size of your room, and the type of computer... Leaving it on all of the time can help too... I noticed that when I had my computer on all day while running some downloads that it did seem to heat up my room quite a bit, but I'm sure this varies computer to computer.
  • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

    Fri, December 1, 2006 - 3:40 PM
    Check behind doors, where the door frame meets the building. Buildings tend to settle and sometimes the settling will cause poorly caulked door frames to loosen from the walls and open enough crevices to allow cold air into the rooms. Just found that out when wondering why my bathroom, which leads to my bedroom, always felt like a fridge during wintertime. Apparently the guys who'd done the bathroom walls didn't finish off the door frame crevices with caulk (or paint it over, as they'd done with other doors in my apt.). Fortunately I had some caulk in a flexible plastic squeeze tube and used it to fill in most of the cracks.

    Also if you have an old-fashioned bathroom medicine cabinet -- the kind with slits on the inside of the cabinet -- duct tape those slits. If you have a bathroom vanity, check the cabinet for where the plumbing fits into the wall. Plug up any gaps there.
    • Re: keeping your room warm in the winter

      Fri, December 8, 2006 - 10:35 PM
      I have an old house with older windows too. Plus I live in North Dakota. If its -40 degrees out, its cold inside too, no matter how high you turn up the furnace. We have a wood stove in our basement we use when its really cold, or when the electricity is out. But the best advice I can give you is, leave your tennis shoes on in the house with warm socks on as well, and when you start to feel chilled, get up and do some jumping jacks or other exercise. It gets your blood pumping and warms you up fast.

      The plastic over the windows works wonders too, by the way. :) And that spray foam insulation in the can works great for filling in gaps between your windows and the framing (behind the trim) as well as the door frames. Just don't put it in an outlet as insulation. We had one like that when we moved in and had to replace the whole thing. Silly people. :)
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