How to Keep Your House Warm This Winter
For so long, everyone’s been saying that winter is coming but it’s finally here… for real! Boxing Day was the first day many of us felt truly cold. Throughout December, temperatures in Malta were above average, particularly during the day. However, as soon as Christmas was over, the temperature dropped. The last few nights have been 5 or 6 degrees below average for Malta at this time of year! Unlike in many other countries, most homes in Malta don’t have central heating. This can make winter here pretty miserable, especially when you feel like you never get warm. Winter in Malta would be a lot more tolerable if you could walk into a toasty house! Well, this year is your lucky year. While we’re not coming to install central heating into your homes, we have put together a list of tips to help you keep your house warm this winter. So, whether you’re renting an apartment or a villa or a house, read our tips to help you get through this chilly start to the year!
Before you even think about turning on your air conditioner or your gas heater, it’s important to eliminate any drafts in your home. After all, what’s the point in wasting energy (and money) on trying to heat your house up if it’s just going to go to waste? You’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Common places for drafts are windows and doors. If you can feel a cold draft but you’re not sure where it’s coming from, you could use the smoke from an incense stick to help you work it out! They sell incense in most supermarkets, and the sticks aren’t expensive. In fact, if you’re still having problems with pesky mosquitos at this time of year, then get some citronella incense sticks and kill two birds with one stone! Or ‘feed two birds with one scone’, as Peta would like us to say. You can buy draft excluders, or you can make your own. You can also buy insulating tape which is pretty ugly, but it’ll do the job. At least temporarily, until your landlord can perhaps fix any gaps properly.
Rugs, soft furnishings and curtains
Aside from using insulating tape, another way of keeping heat from escaping through drafty windows is to hang curtains. If you already have blinds, think about adding some fabric curtains over the top. Don’t just keep them closed at night, either. Keeping curtains closed will keep the heat in and keep the cold out. Make sure to keep them open if it’s sunny, though! Sunlight is free-of-charge and the sun will warm up your room, even in the winter, if it gets the chance to shine through your windows! Heat isn’t just lost through your windows or cracks underneath your doors. A large percentage of heat is also lost through the floor. Any hard floors you have (tiles, laminate or wood), consider covering them with a carpet or a rug. In addition to reducing heat loss, rugs and carpets also make walking on your cold, hard floors much more comfortable! Make your flat in Malta even more comfy by putting out all your extra cushions and throws! When you’re relaxing on the sofa, you can lower your thermostat and keep yourself nice and toasty by wrapping yourself up in a blanket.
Let the warm air circulate
Circulating the warm air around your home can make a big difference. When you allow the warm air to circulate, you’ll be heating your whole home, not just the area right near the heat source. One way to help move the warm air around is to use your ceiling fans! Hot air rises but it’ll be no use to you if it stays up by your ceiling! Most ceiling fans are designed with two settings, one for the summer and one for the winter. The setting can be changed with the flick of a switch, which will change their direction. In winter, your fans should be pushing the hot air downwards, so do make sure your ceiling fans are on the right setting so they’re spinning the right way. Another way to help the warm air circulate is to ensure your vents are uncovered and clean. If need be, rearrange your furniture so that’s nothing’s blocking any of your vents. Although it’s important to let the warm air circulate around your apartment, it’s pointless warming up any rooms you’re not currently using. Close off any unused rooms to avoid letting the warm air in and wasting energy heating them up.
During the winter, it pays to get creative! There are many unconventional ways you can help heat your home. Maximise any spent energy wherever possible. For example, when you have a hot shower, keep the door open so that you can let the warm steam travel around your flat. Similarly, if you run a steaming hot bath, don’t empty it straight away. You’ll have used a lot of energy heating up all that water, so why not let it heat up your house too, instead of pouring it straight down the drain. Wait until the water has cooled down and given off as much steam as possible before you pull the plug. Your oven and your hob can be the perfect heaters, as well! Don’t be lazy and order take out, save money and cook instead! The heat you generate as your make dinner will warm up your kitchen and your living area, if you have an open plan apartment. Leave your oven open after you’ve finished with it and turned it off. This way, it’ll cool down whilst simultaneously warming up your kitchen. If all else fails, keep yourself warm and forget about the house! Cuddle with your furry friends, don your fluffy socks and huddle under your thickest duvet. Luckily, in Malta, the winter doesn’t last too long. Before you know it, it’ll be summer again and we’ll all be moaning about how hot it is!