Tuesday, January 16, 2018

How to Stay Warm Without Cranking Up the Heat


Even though it was 60 degrees not even a week ago, the forecast predicted a high of 16 today and there is currently snow on the ground. This is our first winter in our new house, and I'm sad to say that our central heat system is not quite cutting it. We have a heat pump and, even though I don't really know what that means, my brothers who are experts on the subject have tried to explain to me that heat pumps are not known for their efficiency and that this or that might be the problem on why our house struggles to keep a steady 65 degrees without the help of our fireplace. Thank goodness for our fireplace!
But beyond an imperfect heating system, finding additional ways to stay warm on those extra cold days will make a huge difference in your monthly bills! So here are some ways that I stay warm in the winter without cranking up the heat and breaking the bank.

1. Layer up!


I'm sure layering clothing isn't a new concept for you. However, I've found that sometimes people forget this extremely simple concept. A lot of people out there just don't like to dress for a season. And I get it! Layers can be restricting! But you would be amazed at how much you can save on your energy bills by adjusting your thermostat by a couple of degrees. If you hate layering, invest in some kind of thin thermal wear that was created for layering and staying warm. These types of clothes are less bulky and more comfortable when layering. It was especially cold the other day and I ended up wearing a pair of thin leggings under a pair of sweatpants and it was amazing how warm I was!


2. Think about your feet


You may have heard that you lose most of your body heat from your head (it's actually a myth btw) but, in my experience, it's your feet that matter. Wearing thick socks and slippers will make a surprising difference in how cold you are. If your feet are cold, you'll be cold. Not to mention, they're also just really comfy so why not?


3. Eat hot, homemade meals


Nothing warms you better than a bowl of hot soup, and nothing heats up the kitchen more than cooking a hot meal! I'm always surprised at how cooking warms me up so fast. So get cooking and stay warm and happy all winter long!


4. Electric blankets


This is my favorite tip for staying warm! I love my electric blanket and will never be without one again! My favorite way to use an electric blanket is on my bed (I know, shocker, using a blanket on my bed!). The magical part about it is that you can turn it on about 15 minutes before bed and never have cold sheets again. Your bed is as comfy getting in as is when you wake up all warm and don't want to get up (you know what I'm taking about). Sometimes when I mention this tip to people they're worried that the blanket might go up in flames while they're sleeping. I suppose it's possible but highly unlikely! Especially with a newer blanket. All blankets made after 2001 have safety features that keep them from overheating. But even older blankets are quite safe to use. My mom and grandmother used electric blankets for years and lived to tell the tale! Just be sure to take gentle care of your blanket and follow the recommendations from the manufacturer for washing and storing.


5. Space heaters


Using a space heater to warm up a small room like a bathroom or office while it is in use can be a good way to warm you up without having to heat the entire house. I have a space heater in our freezing downstairs bathroom and use it when I take a shower. It definitely makes the freezing bathroom bearable to be in, especially since space heaters have gotten more efficient in that past few years. However, I would not recommend this method to heat a large room or the majority of your house.

10 comments:

Annie Cate said...

These are great tips!!! And I absolutely love curling up underneath my mom's electric blanket. <3

Emma Hamilton said...

I got a heated blanket recently, since my bedroom is freezing, and, you're right, it is AMAZING.

Briar Rose said...

16? Haha! Try 6 or -6! Our thermostat has something wrong with it and I can't keep a steady temperature in our home. I set it at one temp and it will heat up too much or not enough. It is easier to keep it too cold and wear layers, but my children find it annoying. I wouldn't use an electric blanket because of the health risks but I LOVE my space heater, slippers, wearing my husband's warmer clothes and drinking coffee. Thank you for such a practical and cozy article!

Sara Taylor said...

Hey, Briar Rose! I actually just noticed that it's currently 7 degrees here and is expected to drop to 0 before morning! I agree, it's cold!
It sounds like you need to get you're thermostat checked out! that's got to be annoying and could even be affecting your energy costs! I'm lucky to have 2 family members who have a lot of expertise with heat and air so I can get things like that taken care of pretty painlessly.
You might rethink not using an electric blanket. I heard about the risks you're probably talking about, but after researching the matter, I found that there is no concrete evidence that electric blankets cause any health risks. For example, a study done by Oxford Academics studied the relationship between electric blankets and breast cancer and found that the results did not support an association (https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/152/1/41/139166). I also found that the dangerous EMFs that allegedly cause heath risks are generated by pretty much every electric item in your home including, light switches, appliances, cell phones, and wifi. Not to mention telephone wires, transformers, and wifi outside the home. So, unless you live totally off the grid, we are all effected EMFs weather we like it or not!

Briar Rose said...

Yeah, I think we just need to replace the thermostat, it's just not in the budget right now. The kind we want is more high tech than what we currently have and will meet our needs better once we can get it.

Temps like this make Hoodie/footies seem less silly! Ha! JK They are still silly! I will stick with the layering.

Stay warm!☺️ I'm glad you have a fireplace. It must be divine!

Valerie Abon said...

I enjoyed this post. Thanks! Another tip...hot water bottles. I don't have an electric blanket, but I have a hot water bottle and I take it to bed with me every night to warm my feet. I fall asleep in no time! Just don't fill the water bottle too full or squeeze it. I've even used it during the day if I am doing something where I will be sitting for a while.

I enjoy your posts! :)

Jeannie Collins said...

These are great tips! A heated mattress pad is amazing! Another item to note regarding layering is to consider the material you are using. Wool is an amazing temperature regulator. I live in wool or wool blend socks (Merino or Alpaca are my favorites right now. No itch!) this time of year because if my feet get too warm and start sweating, the wool breathes and my feet don't get that soggy cold feeling. Silk blend or wool leggings or long johns are also the way to go...so much warmer than that thermal cotton stuff! And, nothing can beat a down vest for the ultimate layering protection. I layered a thin cashmere sweater I bought at Goodwill with a fleece and topped with a down vest during 10* weather earlier this week. I was so toasty warm, I had to remove the overcoat I was wearing too! Around the house, I like the down vest because it keeps my core warm without hindering my arm joints when wrangling my toddler. Lol!

Sara Taylor said...

Great point, Jeannie! Unfortunately I'm allergic to wool and cashmere so I can't wear it against my skin without uncomfortable consequences. My brother lives in merino wool and swears by it! You can even wear wool socks in the summer because it's so breathable! I like to layer a pair of wool socks over a pair of cotton ones when it gets really cold and it definitely makes a difference! since I can't have most animal fibers touching my skin, I like to wear sportswear type thermals on top rather than cotton thermals. My husband bought me a Columbia brand one for Christmas and I barely taken it off long enough to wash it. It's so thin but so warm! These kinds of thermals can be a little pricy, but totally worth it! Material definitely makes a huge difference! Thanks for your comment!

Danny E said...

I love my warm fuzzy socks! :-D

Ivy Grace said...

This is a great list, though I would be tempted to add having a pile of throw rugs by your couch so you can cocoon yourselves in blankets while watching TV or hanging out in the lounge room. In winter, I generally keep a stack of 2-4 blankets by each couch, with a mix of polar fleece squares, hand knits and store bought machine knits. I'm currently working on a new addition to the collection, which helps keep my hands busy and warm too!