Winter is coming. For most people, that means a spike in their energy bill as they’re trying to keep the cold at bay. However, you can save a lot of money during the cold months without giving up that cozy, snug feeling. Here are some cost-effective tricks to stay warm as the temperature drops. They’re energy efficient too!
1. Blanket Your Home
Did you know that thick medieval tapestries were used as a way of keeping rooms warm in big, drafty castles? Cover your doors and walls in thick fabrics, quilts or blankets. They provide added insulation that will keep the heat in and the cold out.
2. Use the Curtains
During the day, open the curtains or blinds on your home’s south-facing windows to allow the sun to warm up the rooms. When the sun sets, close those window coverings to keep the heat inside.
3. Layer Your Clothing
The most obvious way to stay warm is to dress warmly but it can become tricky as your home – and your body – heats up. To prevent having to go through more wardrobe changes than there are in the average Lady Gaga concert, dress in layers that you can easily remove or add as you need to.
4. Caulk and Weather-strip
Caulking and weather-stripping are ways of blocking gaps where cold air can enter your home. Some areas that could benefit from caulking and weather-stripping are around the windows, doors, fireplaces, the hatch to the roof space, the mail slot on your front door and the cat flap.
5. Use DIY Draft Excluders
Even cheaper than caulking and weather-stripping is to make your own draft excluders to block openings where cold air can come in. For example, hang blankets over windows and open stairwells and use sausage-shaped pillows or even rolled-up towels to block gaps at the bottom of doors.
6. Don’t Block Heat Sources
Tempting as it may be to place the sofa right in front of the fireplace or radiator, this actually blocks the heat from freely circulating and warming up the room, according to Hydro Québec. It’s a fire hazard too. Move furniture and drying clothes away from heat sources and don’t let your curtains cover the radiator.
7. Use Tin Foil
If you have a wall-mounted heater, place a sheet of tin foil behind it, with the shiny side facing outward. This is a cheaper version of a radiator panel that will reflect the heat back into the room rather than letting it be absorbed by the wall.
8. Use Rugs and Carpets
Rugs and carpets add insulation to floors and are much more comfortable to walk on than cold floor tiles. Even the bathroom will be much warmer if you throw down some bath mats around the toilet and in front of the bathtub and shower.
9. Use “Warming” Décor
You can use a simple mind-trick to convince yourself that you’re feeling warmer. Simply use décor that evokes feelings of coziness. For example, use warm colours like brown, taupe or yellow and go for fluffy or chunky textures such as knit blankets or throws. Dim lighting also helps to create a feeling of warmth.
10. Choose the Right Bedding
suggests that you use linen, cotton or flannel sheets with a high thread count to keep you warmer in winter, since they’re breathable. Another trick is to put a quilted bed cover on your mattress to keep your bed warm through the night.
11. Use a Heating Pad or Electric Blanket
Few things can make you suddenly feel cold than getting between a pair of icy sheets. Warm up your bed with a heating pad or electric blanket before you tuck in for the night.
12. Make Your Own Heat Packs
Heat packs can warm your body and you can use them to warm up your bed too. To make your own, Wellness Mama suggests that you make a fabric cover or use an old sock or pillowcase, fill it with rice and microwave it for a minute. Unlike hot-water bottles, it will stay warm much longer.
13. Drink Warm Beverages
Drinking warm beverages like tea or hot chocolate won’t actually raise your body temperature that much, according to The Guardian. However, they provide comfort and just holding that mug will warm up cold hands.
14. Avoid Alcohol
Sorry, but that glass of red wine in front of the TV won’t really warm you up. In fact, it does the opposite. As Live Science explains, alcohol will make your skin feel flushed but it actually lowers your core body temperature.
15. Get Moving
Moving around keeps your blood flowing, distributing heat throughout your body. It has the added bonus that it stirs the air in the room so that the heat will circulate better.
16. Use Lotion or Body Oil
Rubbing lotion or body oil into your skin just after a hot bath or shower not only helps to keep your skin moisturized, it also forms an insulating layer that keeps the heat in your body.
17. Put the Radiator or Heater Under a Shelf
A shelf above a radiator or heater will keep the warm air from rising to the ceiling, where it won’t do you any good. Instead, the heat will be channelled towards you. However, make sure it’s not a fire hazard.
18. Get Baking
When the oven is on, it will help heat up the kitchen, so use this as an excuse to bake a batch of cookies. The aroma of spices like vanilla, cinnamon and cloves will also help you feel warmer since they’re associated with coziness.
19. Eat Right
When your body digests food, it generates heat in the process. Foods high in calories and rich in proteins and fats are the best choices. Livestrong suggests pemmican, sardines and hot chocolate as winter-warming foods.
20. Snuggle Up
Someone else’s body heat will make you feel warmer too, so snuggle up with a partner or a pet. Just remember that this only works with warm-blooded beings: your pet snake won’t help you stay warm.
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