Ways Of Preparing Your House For Cold Days
During those cold winter months, it is important to take the necessary steps to stay as warm as possible, or at least avoid the worst effects of the cold, ie. stiffness of limbs, shortness of breath, and freezing ears, nose and fingertips. Your home can become a refuge from all this, especially with the strategic and effective use of space heaters, radiators, and dehumidifiers. Here is some important information about each one.
1. Space Heater
Space heaters are useful for heating the larger areas of your house, or smaller areas for short bursts at a time. Most models operate at about 1500 watts, although will vary in terms of extras, such as:
- A remote control that can be operated anywhere in the room, thus helping you settle in for the night rather than having to constantly change the temperature at the source.
- Controls that appear digitally, in a dial form, or with old-school buttons. Your choice might depend on the ambience and décor of your home in general.
- A timer which will shut your heater down after a certain time; especially useful if you want it to get you off to sleep.
- Oscillation in the form of an oscillating fan incorporated into your space heater will help roll out waves of heat in order to speed up the process of radiation and convection
- A carrying handle is a useful addition if you intend to target rooms, frequently moving your space heater from one room to another.
Radiators are a common form of heating and there are three main types from which to choose:
- Central heating radiator: the most common one. It is a metal container that is connected to your boiler, filling with heated water to create waves of heat that will emanate throughout a room.
- Electric radiators: this is a container filled with thermo-fluid, heated via an electrical element. It is wired to your mains supply and doesn’t require a centralized boiler.
- Dual fuel radiator: this allows you the best of both worlds; a gas-powered radiator that also has a ‘summer heating element’ in it, thus allowing you to operate it during summer months, perhaps as a towel radiator or occasional heater.
- In terms of design there are also quite a few options:
- Double panel radiators: essentially two single panels combined so as to
create more output. They might jut out a bit away from the wall, but this might be beneficial in terms of placing damp laundry eg. socks on, to have lovely toasty feet when going to work!
- Horizontal radiators: this means they are wider than they are tall, rather
than referring to the particular angle at which they stand. They are relatively inexpensive, perfect for countering draughts under windows, and are easy to have installed.
- Vertical Radiators: this means they are taller than they are wide; they can
free up valuable space and can come in a range of styles and designs, thus adding a bit of sophistication to your interior decoration.
- Column radiators: these appear in a tube-like formation and are more common in older houses, creating that sense of character and heritage. They connect at the bottom and top so are one unit, different to double panel radiators.
- Heated Towel Rails: made exclusively for heated towels, they are commonly found in bathrooms.
There are two things to bear in mind when deciding whether or not to use your dehumidifier during winter. First, room temperature; second, indoor relative humidity. Actually, it’s perfectly acceptable and healthy to have an indoor humidity level of somewhere between 30% and 55%. A hygrometer will help you to check; if you’re in this ballpark then you don’t really need to switch on your dehumidifier.
Moreover, if your room is really cold, eg. 40°F, it is wise not to use your dehumidifier because the coils can freeze. It is best practice to use a space heater to get the room’s temperature to about 60°F or higher. Remember that geographical regions that have high humidity in summer might not have high humidity during winter. If your room’s humidity is lower than 30% you should actually use a humidifier instead, for health reasons.
There are telling signs, though, that humidity is increasing. Condensation appearing on windows, for instance, could suggest that humidity levels are creeping up. If they get to 55% or more then it’s best to turn your dehumidifier on so as to stop allergens and mold from developing.
Overall, it is not good to be breathing in cold air for too long; investing in reliable sources of heat, as well as preventing your house from becoming damp and/or humid will likely help you get through the winter unscathed. To develop a bronchial condition or lung infection is no laughing matter. They can take months to recover from, and may require you to take medication.