With the winter months fast approaching, comes the increased concern on how to heat your home. This typically leads to a search for the most cost effective way to keep your family warm. Confirming that your heating system is in good working order, and the fuel necessary to run the system is in stock is just a start. Keeping the heat in and the winter chill out is key to a warm and cozy home during the cold winter months. Here are a few tips to help keep your house warm: Reduce heat loss through windows by using window blinds or thick curtains that are thermal lined. Insulated drapes can also be placed over sliding doors as heat escapes and cold air enters through these large openings. Check for drafts around the windows and doors and consider enclosing in plastic any area experiencing substantial heat loss. Natural sunlight can be an important source of heat for your home. As the sun comes up, open the window coverings and let the sun shine in! You will soon feel the warmth of the sun filling the home. Even windows that have been covered with a thin layer of clear protective plastic will allow the heat in. As soon as the sun starts to set, close the blinds or curtains to retain the warmth. Research has shown that a lot of heat can be lost through the fireplace. A specially designed chimney balloon can be installed to prevent heat from escaping. The balloons can be purchased reasonably and in most cases installed by the homeowner. They are placed inside the chimney out of site and are a great option for stopping incoming air and preventing heat loss. The positioning of your furniture plays an important role in the heat flow throughout your home. Avoid placing furnishings to close to the radiators as this obstructs the heat flow and reduces the effectiveness of the radiator. Placing heat reflective aluminum foil behind radiators will help prevent heat loss through the walls. The foil will reduce the amount of heat absorbed into the walls and improves circulation. Heat reflective foil is available at your local hardware or home improvement store. A good quality kitchen foil can also be used, however, it may not hold up as well or be as effective as the professional product. According to the National Energy Foundation (NEF), floors that are not insulated can account for up to 10% of heat loss. Placing a carpet or rug on the bare floor would help minimize the loss. Warm floors go a long way in the overall comfort of a room. Hopefully one or more of these helpful hints will help keep you and your family warm this winter.