You might not be roasting chestnuts on an open fire or listening for reindeer hooves on the roof, but there's one part of the holiday season you can't avoid -- the plunging temperatures, both during the day and throughout the night. Thankfully, you'll probably have a nice, technology-driven home rather than an old fashioned cabin in the woods, but that doesn't mean it won't get chilly within your house. If you're looking for ways to help your house stay a bit warmer this winter without bleeding your wallet, here's what you ought to know.
Clean Your Chimney
Yes, the very idea of chimney sweeps calls up memories of dancing on rooftops and Dick Van Dyke, but getting your chimney cleaned is actually integral to keeping your home warm. Chimney sweeps are in charge of cleaning the actual chimney (and all related parts) after a survey has been made of the state of said chimney. Soot and oils from fires burned previously (especially from the last breath of winter more than half a year previously) can cause major breathing issues and even fires within the chimney structure that are hard to put out.
Fix Your Windows
Windows with a leak around their frame can be more than annoying -- they can sap your home of heat by pushing out warm air and replacing it with cold air from outside. To check for non-secure window seals, bring a candle (or a piece of toilet paper, if you don't have a candle handy) around to each window and hold it in front of each side. If the candle flame flickers (or the toilet paper moves) when you're holding it still, you've got a leak you need to seal.
Program Your Thermostat
It's not really that efficient to heat your home all day to the same temperature, especially when you're not there or you're sleeping. In order to keep your house warm (while still not wasting money), it's recommended that you purchase a programmable thermostat (if you don't have one already) and keep the temperature around 68 degrees in the morning for the couple hours around the time when you wake up, and in the evening from when you get home to when you go to sleep.
All other times, keep your home heated to around 60 degrees instead, or around 55 if you're going to be gone for 2 days or more. 55 degrees will stop your pipes from freezing but not cost you a lot of money for an empty house.