Use these energy tips to make a bedroom and the bed in it warmer without turning up the heat for your whole house. Also below are ways to save electricity using a heated waterbed.

      • Install thermal curtains, drapes or blinds in the bedroom. These trap cold air behind them, and some of them also resist heat flowing through them.
      • If your home has forced air heat and your bedroom is too cold, install a “register booster” or “register booster fan” on one register of each bedroom. These use a fan to draw out heated air from the HVAC duct, increasing the heat provided by the register.

        A register booster fan will slightly reduce the heated air from the other registers on that HVAC branch. There will be several other registers on the branch, normally on the same floor. If all of your bedrooms are on the same branch and they each have a register booster, that branch should draw more heated air and decrease the warm air that flows through the  other branches. With register boosters operating in the bedrooms, the house temperature can be set lower at night. They are sold at home centers and hardware stores.
      • Buy heavy blankets for everyone in your home. Some of the warmest blankets are “down comforters”, which are filled with feathers, and “fiber beds” which have polyester fiber. They are both sold in department stores.
      • Weatherize the bedroom windows. Either do permanent weatherization or put up insulation for the winter, such as transparent “shrink film”. Ways to permanently and temporarily weatherize windows are explained in the Topic of Home Energy Conservation, Windows.
      • If you don’t have enough warm blankets because you need more closet space, add a row of small shelves to a clothes closet. Closet organizer kits designed for do-it-yourselfers are sold at home centers.
      • If your home has two or more floors and only one bedroom is used, convert a room on the first floor to a bedroom to use in winter. You can then turn off the heat to the upper floors by closing the registers or turning off the radiators. Radiators can be made to use much less heat without shutting off the valve by covering them with blankets. Also, weatherize the door to the upper floors. If there is no door, have a door installed. If this doorway is at the top of a stairway, do not mount an insulating threshold because you could trip on it.
      • If the bedroom is heated by a radiator, check that no part of it is blocked by furniture. A radiator heats a room by radiating heat energy into the room, so the room will receive less heat if the radiator is partially blocked.
cold bedroom
Radiator Covered by Grille Cover
      • If you have a radiator that is covered by a radiator grille cover in the bedroom, remove the grille cover. This will increase the temperature in the room by one or two degrees. If the radiator is old and unattractive after removing the grille cover, paint it with a very light color metallic paint. A radiator will radiate the most heat if it is white.
      • If your home has forced air heating:
        1. Check if the heating register in the bedroom delivers less heated air than the registers in the rooms nearby. If so, try to locate the HVAC duct in the attic or basement that leads to that bedroom. If it runs across an unfinished attic floor or basement ceiling it will be easy to locate and easy to wrap insulation around it.

        2. Check if the duct leading to the bedroom is leaking at any joints. Repair leaks by taping them with metallic duct tape.

        3. Try partially closing the nearby registers. If they release a little less air, the colder bedroom will receive a little more air. Close them enough to measure a slight decrease in temperature in at least one or two of the nearby rooms.

          If you cannot increase the bedroom’s temperature by partially closing the nearby registers and if the duct leading to the colder bedroom runs a long distance along the attic floor or basement ceiling, you could insulate it with fiberglass duct insulation. This is available at home centers.

        4. Hire an HVAC technician to do an “HVAC air balance”. They insert dampers into the ducts that lead to individual registers. These are valves, which allow them to accurately control how much hot air flows to each register. This is similar to partially closing some of the registers to provide more air in the colder bedroom.
Bedroom Register is Too Far from Main Supply Air Duct

Energy Tips for Using a Heated Waterbed

The yearly electric cost for a heated waterbed can be very high. The cost depends on:

      • Bedroom temperature
      • Waterbed thermostat setting (normally between 87° and 92°)
      • Waterbed size
      • Whether it is shallow-fill, which is about 4” thick and uses the least energy, or deep-fill, which may be about 8” thick.
      • Whether you keep it covered with blankets all day, to trap the heat. An insulating comforter is most effective.
      • A waterbed that is “soft-sided” has an area with heated water, surrounded by mattress.
        These use less energy because the sides have an insulating effect.
      • Whether the heater is solid state.
      • Whether there is a timer to turn off the heater for a period each day.
      • Many waterbed owners believe that a heated waterbed saves on the cost of heating the home because the home’s temperature can be set lower at night. This is not always true. Keeping the bedroom warm with a space heater may cost less, depending on the size of the bedroom and the energy consumption of the waterbed.

To Lower the Cost of Using Your Waterbed:

      • Keep it covered with an insulating comforter when you are not lying on it.
        This will cut its energy use by up to 30% compared to leaving it uncovered.
      • Buy a timer and set it to turn on the heat one or two hours before going to bed. Some manufacturers claim that the heater should remain turned on to prevent mold growth.
      • Keep the temperature setting as low as comfortable. Try setting it at 86°.
      • Cover it with one-inch thick foam under the sheet. This insulates it to reduce heat loss. It also separates your body from the water so you can set its temperature lower without feeling chilly.
      • Fill it with the correct amount of water. When over-filled it uses more energy.
      • Lower the temperature to 70° when on vacation.

If you use these energy tips you can make your bedrooms warmer, without turning up the heat.