19 Tips on How to Stay Warm in Winter Without Spending a Fortune, While Also Saving Our Planet.
Getting Warmed Up
A friend told me he thought my 70°F home heating setpoint was "way too high, and that all of us should be more like the rest of the world and turn our thermostats down", in order to be more responsive to our pocketbooks. Claiming his home was more eco-friendly than mine.
I shared with him we drop the temperature down to 62°F at night during the winter on a programmable schedule, but he would cut me no lack on my 70°F daytime setpoint.
Courtesy Google Nest
Let alone that our homes are empty much of the time between work/school schedules so even room temperatures like 68°F are too high most of the time.
#1 Setting Your Thermostat Lower Will Substantially Reduce Your Energy Use
Yes, your electric bill and gas utility bill will be much lower when you lower your winter setpoint. Recognizing today's modern home heating systems can supply plenty of warm air to heat up a room providing you don't leave your door open, letting the hot air out, and you don't wear a tank top so more heat is needed.
You can comfortably turn down your home heating thermostat to give your house its warmth and coziness, provided you take some of these easy-to-follow actions like those listed below.
#2 Warm Yourself, Not the Planet
Your home is a wonderful place to be, but it can also get cold in the middle of winter. One way that you may try to keep your house at an acceptable level while staying stylish throughout those long chilly days is by wearing layers on top and on the bottom to help you feel warm.
Not that you need to go this far just to turn your thermostat down a few degrees, but for either outside to combat freezing temperatures or to be really aggressive with your programmable thermostat start with one of the many brands of new-age fabrics warm long underwear. Then add jeans or sweatpants and sweaters, for indoors and outdoors. Add a few more layers by wearing leggings under jeans/pants - this looks awesome at the same time.
#3 Layer it Up
Cold winters can be a challenging time to stay warm. The best way is wearing multiple layers, the first being thin and lightweight so it warms you up quickly when you're outside in the cold for an extended period or if there are repeated temperature drops throughout the day; this will help prevent shivering from occurring due to your body's natural tendency towards reacting to excessive cold air.
Next, put on something thicker but still light enough not to engage sweat glands near your skin since they don't produce much moisture anyway--think wool socks with shoe covers.
Don't forget the scarves, hats, and gloves
Another idea would involve adding accessories such as scarves around their necks.
With any one of these approaches, you'll look good, and feel cozy while not raising your thermostat level. You will save energy which will keep your energy bills down. And best of all you stay comfortable while keeping the cold away from your body.
And the Coat
And we haven't even talked about adding an outer layer ie a warm coat to keep the freezing temps of extreme weather. These are solid additions to warmer clothing to help you stay warm.
And the Socks
And extra layers of warm sox along with warm boots will keep your feet warm. Then throw in warm gloves as hand warmers to keep your fingers toasty.
#4 What is Wrong with Using a Blanket to Keep You Warm at Lower Thermostat Settings?
Blankets to keep in your body heat, or even use electric blankets to just keep you warm combined with lower home settings overall is a very good, easy-to-do way to help conserve energy, save my planet and save on your pocketbook.
#5 Use What You Got in Better Ways
Your body's internal 'thermostat' is automatically lowered once it senses you becoming warm so you can enjoy comfortable living without feeling uncomfortable. So get dressed quickly after a hot shower to retain the warmth from the water.
Serve food and drinks at reasonably warm temperatures, including soups, stews, or chilis which will warm you up and help keep your body heat in with comfortable layers of clothing.
Exercise, in particular, or even dancing has been shown time after again as being very effective at warming you up versus just sitting still.
Since many people do these activities inside their house due to both practicality but also to avoid going outdoors and exercising comfort level- something few other types of work allow nowadays with our modern technology overloads on all fronts
#6 Keep the Cold Air Out
Keeping out cold drafts can go a long way towards keeping you comfy. You can buy a weather-stripping system to seal up gaps around windows and doors, as one of the many ways to stay comfortable by reducing the feelings of draftiness.
When you feel chill from extreme cold winter drafts, you naturally want to turn up the thermostat rather than seal up the leak. It's just easier. Drafts of cool air commonly come from leaks around doorways, windows, corners, and chimney flues.
Plus, make sure all pipes leading inside (such as those coming from below grade) are fully encased with insulation and sealed up. This not only keeps out the drafts of cold air because indoor air is moist, when exposed to cold air drafts condensation can develop damaging sheetrock and other materials dripped on from above.
Cut down on small drafts
If you did not get a chance to weatherstrip or caulk the small gaps along the bottom of doors, put a towel down or push your area rugs up against the base of doors to block off the airflow from under the door. This is certainly no substitute for weather stripping, however, in a pinch, it can help keep your heating and cooling utility bills down and you toasty during winter cold periods.
# 7 Keep the Warm Air Where You Want it
My perfect place to spend a cold winter's day (besides the ski slope) is inside my warm home. Besides sealing up leaks (which forces the cold to come in while pushing out your warmed air in the process) understand that running your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fan draws in more cold drafty air from leaks around your home, while exhausting warm cozy air you spent good energy dollars to warm up.
Heat also radiates out to the world through walls, doors, roofs, and other openings, so making sure these are as insulated as possible is important. Attic insulation is an easy add which helps keep in the warmth during the winter season. Plus, the smaller area you heat up with a lowered thermostat setting for the rest of the house, means less heating dollars will be lost all winter long.
# 8 Brighten Your Spirits and Remember a Cold Window Can Directly Drain Heat From Your Body.
Interestingly I also find when my spirit is up I feel warmer, so beautiful displays of flowers and plants and colorful rugs help to create a cozy home feeling. With well-insulated windows, you'll be able to enjoy time reading by the sunlight lifting your spirit without the cold window surface drawing warmth directly from your body.
This sort of heat loss is called radiant heat loss and is very real. Cold surfaces do pull heat directly from your body. So layering up or being under a blanket provides insulation to slow this heat loss, just like greater thermal protection from more eco-friendly windows
# 9 Let the Sunshine in
The sun is our greatest heating source, so when it shines brightly to capture more warmth inside. In the summertime, you'll feel more comfortable with the windows open. While during the day in winter months opening the curtains to let the sunshine in and closing them at night helps insulate us from chilly outdoor breezes coming through cracks around winters during cold weather seasons!
Open the curtains when the sun's rays can enter your home and closed the rest of the time.
You can open curtains during sunlight hours warming your home and then close them at night to reduce radiant and thermal losses when you're asleep. This helps to keep the coziness inside and not let it escape to the cold outdoors, which will make your home more comfortable and less costly way of heating in the winter months!
And remember being next to cold surfaces will directly draw warmth from you, lowering your body temperature.
Closing the curtains will reduce these losses and allow your living space to be comfortable at a lower room temperature.
Plus keeping them closed while they are at work will allow you to lower the temperature until you return home. Some smart programmable thermostats learn your timing behavior and will do this automatically for you too.
Simple little tricks like this are available to you instead of just cranking up the temperature all day and night long, saving you significant money on your energy bills.
# 10 Rug Up!
When we think about what's the most important part of our house, it's usually something along these lines: "a nice warm rug to cuddle upon." But have you ever wondered why your feet are always numb when there are cold temperatures outside? It could be because that flooring sucks all heat away with its chilling wood, ceramic tiles, or linoleum floors.
Why not try wool or wool blend area rugs instead! They're available at countless stores and online and provide insulation for your feet and body while providing plushness, and fluffiness for your feet - just like a comfortable couch and wool blend blanket. And while you are at it, don't forget the warm sox and slippers.
# 11 Are the Dampers Open?
The winter chill can make it difficult to warm your home, so the last thing you need is to leave your chimney flue open after an in-home fire.
Avoid these concerns by making sure to check the damper positions in your chimney after each use, and perhaps in the evening before you go to bed on cold winter nights.
Although a wood-burning fire can be helpful to provide hot air to the spaces around the fireplace, keep in mind these to create outdoor air conditions that aggravate some people's asthma.
Including children whose developing bodies in your neighborhood can actually develop asthma from breathing in these very small particles.
# 12 Consider Sealed Fireplace Inserts for Improved Efficiency
Plus, the burning of wood tends to be a relatively low-efficiency way to provide heating to your home compared with what is deposited into the atmosphere, so not very eco-friendly.
Also, consider higher efficiency methods like wood pellet fed alternatives that burn hotter this more efficient. Or consider adding a fireplace insert to both increases the efficiency of the energy burned vs what makes it into your home, and when turned off form a much tighter seal keeping heat inside so the warm air does not leak from your home in the winter.
# 13 Is the Furnace Filter Dirty?
When was the last time you changed or even checked your furnace filter? Change filters at least before the heating season begins (and before the cooling season if you have air conditioning).
Dirty filters slow the movement of air through your furnace forcing your furnace to work longer to make your house warm. And if can help your furnace run for shorter periods, you will save more money. And while you're at it, check to make sure your air ducts are clean of obstructions as well.
# 14 Cheaper Ways to Stay Warm - Get Free Heat
Keep the oven door open after cooking meals or baking to allow the heat to warm your kitchen. And eat warming foods, like soups and stews to warm your body when cold.
You can save energy by setting your programmable thermostat down during daytime periods when you are out or when you can capture more heat when the sun starts shining on those cold sunny days.
# 15 Warm Showers in the Winter
This also provides warm moisture to your bathroom, and bedroom areas, a good idea since warm moist air is more warming to your body compared with dryer winter conditions.
Boiling water to make tea or hot cocoa to make your comfortable can also add comforting moisture to the air.
And you can also use the hot water to thaw out your birdbath since the birds still need to drink water in the winter too, a nice eco friendly effort for the outdoor critters.
You could also use humidifiers which help moisturize air inside spaces as well.
And as mentioned above, layer up, use blankets, and don't forget to cuddle, it warms your heart and your body by keeping warm together.
# 16 Make Smart Choices to Stay Warm
A good warm dinner in your body will help keep your house at a lower optimum temperature while you are sleeping! And don't forget to stay warmer when you sleep, dress in layers with a thick flannel sheet and down comforter on your bed ready to help you stay warm.
Make sure everyone has enough blankets or bed covers so they can sleep comfortably throughout the night. And why not sit toasty and comfortable in front of the TV or video screen in the evenings with a blanket to keep you warm from the heat of your own body.
# 17 Insulation Pays for Itself
You can't keep a house warm without an insulating layer surrounding your living room spaces. Your old windows should be upgraded to new modern high insulation value glazing which will save money in the long run and help make you feel much warmer.
Since heat rises, having a thick blanket of insulation in your attic above you can help you stay warm and improve your home's energy efficiency.
# 18 Use a Thermal Image Gun to Check for Leaky Spots and Low Insulation Levels
Improving the insulating layer to your walls can be more difficult to improve, but using an infrared thermal gun can be very helpful to see whether, how much, and where to pinpoint improvements needed.
Replace your door(s) with an improved thermally efficient model(s).
Wrap your hot water heater to save energy and save money on your utilities. And make sure to wrap your hot water distribution pipes while you are at it.
This saves energy, saves water, and saves you time by reducing the amount of time needed to wait for the hot water to get to the sink each time you want to wash your face or some dishes.
#19 Stay Warm with a Small Space Heater (safely) vs Keeping Your Entire Home Warmer?
There are energy-efficient ways of using directly heated materials/blankets or small appliance type space heaters, to reduce usage. Small infrared heaters and space heaters can provide warmth just where you need it rather than heating your entire home. There are a variety of options to choose from on the market today.
But make sure you use them safely. 1700 house fires each year in the US are caused by space heaters. So never leave them unattended or turned while you sleep. And don't ever place them on or below flammable materials. Never tamper with smoke/fire detectors, and make sure the batteries are changed regularly and the units tested.
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