Looking to find a way to keep your heating budget manageable during snowy, icy weather? That’s a common concern for homeowners in cold climates—and there are answers that will give you greater comfort. Winter-related home improvements can benefit your budget and your home lifestyle, making them well worth the investment.
As you concentrate on ways to keep your home cozier and more affordable to heat in Chicago’s frigid winters, consider making these 7 upgrades. We’ve chosen to highlight them because they really do increase warmth inside your home—and also add lasting value.
1. Replace Worn Siding
Old, damaged siding doesn’t just make your property visually unappealing—it also can drive your heating bills higher. Simply updating to new siding can add a thicker exterior barrier that keeps interior rooms toasty in spite of freezing temps.
To achieve the gorgeous curb appeal and efficient performance you crave, opt for James Hardie fiber cement siding. This beautiful, high-performing line of siding products has been engineered specifically to stand up to the cold, wet weather common in Chicago—and its 30-year warranty will give you peace of mind.
2. Update Your Windows
A house’s windows can provide a strong defense against the chills of winter weather—but only if they are performing at peak efficiency. If your windows are out-of-date, broken, or otherwise underperforming, they can be a source of great heat loss. Replacing them with premium Pella windows—a favorite among Chicago homeowners—will allow you to invest in highly efficient features such as triple-paned glass.
If a full replacement isn’t in your budget, consider installing storm windows, and seal your windows by replacing old, damaged caulking. Do the little things too—such as hanging thick, warm drapes with a thermal lining to add extra insulation between the outdoors, your glass panes, and your interior.
3. Install Better Doors
We’re talking about exterior doors here—because like windows, they can allow drafts inside, making your home less efficient. A new front door and up-to-date sliding doors can do wonders for keeping cold air outside—and warm, toasty air inside. New doors also make your home more secure, while boosting the cozy welcome you offer guests during the holidays and year-round.
If you’re not ready to replace drafty doors, place a draft stopper along the threshold to keep cold air from getting in. These come in charming wintery designs and are easily found at home goods stores. You can even make your own draft stopper with some fabric sewn into a tube shape and filled with stuffing.
4. Add More (or New) Insulation
Because insulation is hidden out of sight within walls, basement, and attic spaces, it’s often overlooked as a way to boost your home’s efficiency. But it shouldn’t be forgotten! This simple house feature is key to keeping cold air outside where it belongs—and today’s insulation is designed to perform with impressive efficiency.
Inspect any areas where insulation can be visibly seen, and if it looks thin, worn, old, or damaged by moisture, replace it. Fill in any empty cracks as well. By preventing heated air from escaping through walls, roofing, and floors, new insulation keeps your home’s temperature consistent—so your heating unit doesn’t have to kick on so often.
5. Finish Your Attic Space
While you’re thinking about insulation, consider whether it’s time to invest in a finished attic you can use year-round. Since your attic is a major source of heat loss during cold months of the year, finishing the space with insulated walls, ceilings, and floors will make your home more efficient in winter—and summer!
Plus, the extra living space is super handy if you have a growing family in need of bedrooms or are looking to create a dedicated home office, entertainment room, or home gym. You’ll get greater use of the added space, and your property will experience a boost in value too.
6. Install a New Heating System and Smart Thermostat
If your heating unit or hot water heater are “over the hill,” retire them in favor of new models, which are designed to be as efficient as possible. Smart thermostats can be set with an app on your phone from anywhere, making it easy to ensure your house is toasty when you’re home and efficient when you’re away. This technology can even detect when you’re not home and turn down your furnace, saving you on your heating bill.
While you’re at it, verify that the air vents in each room are open and unblocked. Every room connected to your thermostat system should be left open to allow air to flow through the vents and circulate throughout the house. (Only block off spaces that are not connected to central air, such as an unfinished basement or screened-in porch that isn’t heated.)
7. Choose Warm, Welcoming Holiday Fun!
Since this time of year is filled with holiday fun and family gatherings, accomplish two goals at once by sprucing up your home interior in ways that add literal warmth as you celebrate the season. Throw down a thick, comfy, winter-themed rug on wood or tile flooring. Place charming draft stoppers at the foot of exterior door thresholds.
And do some baking too! Using your oven (safely!) will warm your home—making winter an ideal season for cooking hearty casseroles, lasagnas, roasts, cakes, and cookies that you can serve at parties or share with neighbors or coworkers. The heartwarming memories you make will be priceless—and last a lifetime.
Give Yourself the Gift of an Attractively Upgraded Home This Winter
As you contemplate these opportunities to create a warm, welcoming \house this winter, remember that our team at Siding & Windows Group is here to help you and answer your questions. Explore our gallery of Chicago area homes we’ve served—and start dreaming of the possibilities you can enjoy with beautiful, efficient new windows and siding.