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October is that time of year when the temperature starts to drop and your home can spontaneously decide that it is going to make you feel very cold. Energy prices have continued to rise and it’s becoming increasingly important (imperative even) that we become more energy efficient. Most of us cannot afford to be frivolous with our money over the winter period, so a few little lifestyle and decoration changes, could make the coming months less likely to result in the breaking of a piggy bank.
Not many of them remain, but if you’ve ever lived with single pane windows, you will be acutely aware of the ridiculous amount of heat they allow to escape and cold air they allow to come in. Installing double pane windows is the obvious and ideal answer, but it is more often than not, a very expensive job. If you live in a rental property, installing double pane windows may not even be an option if your landlord refuses to pay for them.
What I suggest instead, as an alternative method of minimizing this heat loss, is using cellular blinds. The structure of cellular blinds, makes them proficient insulators. Aesthetically, they are very similar to the standard pleated blind, but unlike their close relatives, they consist of small hexagonal “pockets”. Sometimes referred to as “Honeycomb Blinds”, they work by trapping air inside the specially designed pockets, which minimize the effects of convection, keeping your home nice and toasty in the winter.
If you’re not really a fan of blinds, you could use curtains. To make them even more effective, you could line them with a thick inexpensive material. This is an excellent idea for those whose budget won’t stretch enough for high quality, heavy curtains. I used this technique myself when I moved into my first home after graduating. I used a cheap cream cotton canvas material, which helped keep my bedroom a lot warmer during the winter. It is also possible to have a combination of both blinds and curtains. That way you achieve the look you desire, as well as improve the level of insulation throughout your home.
The next piece of advice I like to offer is to get some draft stoppers; the most efficient and less costly way of fighting drafts. If you know how to use a needle or thread (or even better, a sewing machine) you can create your own. Simply sew a long cylinder the same width as your door and then stuff it full of insulating foam. You could also have a little fun and make draft stoppers that look like snakes. This can often be really fun for the kids. You can be even more frugal by filling them with rice or sand, which results in a nice tight fit. If you can’t afford to do that, or don’t feel confident enough sewing, you could just roll up old blankets and stuff them under the doors. This is particularly useful when you go to bed, as it will trap the heat in your bedroom, making it less necessary to leave the heat on.
If the main heating technique in your home is radiators, you could get the most from the heat being produced by putting aluminum foil behind the radiators to reflect a greater quantity of heat into the room. This may sound ridiculous, but you can actually buy specialized kits for this. But since the nature of this article is to be frugal, it is just as effective to take some corrugated board and cover it with common baking foil. You then stick this to the wall behind your radiator using adhesive strips or tape.