So many people plan ahead for winter, but it’s easy to forget how long the season can be in certain areas of the country. The shortened days, icy road conditions and cold temperatures can really take their toll once the holidays are over.
After a long winter with larger utility bills, the last thing you want to do is crank up the heater. Space heating is one of the biggest energy uses in the home, taking up nearly a tenth of the annual cost of electricity. While the weather is finally warming up outside you can use a few hot tricks to stay comfortable indoors without adjusting the thermometer.
Throw on a Beanie
A lot of heat is lost through our heads. Even though it only takes up 7-9% of our body surface, our heads account for about 10% of heat loss. Pulling on a fleece beanie can feel almost the same as bumping the temperature up a few degrees inside.
Throw on Some Socks
Another part of the body that can get chilly quick is the feet. The University of San Diego has conducted studies that found when people had cold feet they felt colder overall. Parents can pull on a pair of wool socks for warmth, but kids can be a little trickier. Seamless socks for kids are a great option for layering since they’re warm, comfortable, and less bulky. Just be sure the little ones are careful when they walk around on hard surfaces.
Throw on a Sweater or Two
Layering your clothes can help you keep warm outside or inside. In the late stages of winter an extra sweater is usually all it takes to get comfortable indoors. But it’s sometimes hard to stop kids from shedding their clothes. Like their socks, you’ll want to make sure sweaters are extra comfy so they keep them on.
Throw on Some Blankets
While you’re vegging out in front of the TV or asleep in bed layer on an extra blanket or throw. It may get a little cold when you get up but you’ll be toasty while you’re sitting or lying down.
Sip on Hot Beverages and Soups
Sipping on hot liquids can warm you up from the inside. Plus, they’re a delicious way to enjoy colder weather before the spring sets in.
Move Furniture Away From the Walls
Cold can seep in through the windows and walls. If your furniture sits right up against the wall you’re more likely to feel it.
Use Your Curtains Strategically
If you’re at home throughout the day use your curtain to let heat in and keep it inside. During the warmest part of the day open the curtains to allow heat and light in. Once it starts to cool off close them again.
Stay Physically Active
If you start to feel cold and want to warm up then get on your feet. A few sets of squats or a quick kitchen clean up is enough physical activity to warm up the body naturally.
Plug in the Humidifier
A lot of things contribute to the temperature of the air, including humidity. The more humid it is inside the warmer the air will be. Don’t have a humidifier? Then keep the bathroom door ajar when you take a shower to add more moisture to the air. Also, don’t use the vent when you shower or it will suck the humid air out.
Reverse the Turn on Your Fan
At the start and end of winter, you can actually benefit from keeping ceiling fans on the lowest setting as long as the circulation is reversed. Fans have a switch that allows you to control the direction that they turn. During the winter set the fan so that it turns clockwise to draw cool air up to the ceiling and push the warm air down.
Weatherize Around the Doors and Windows
If you haven’t already, weatherize around the doors and windows. This means sealing all the cracks and crevices around the edge where air leaks in. For about $10-15 you can make the temperature inside more comfortable year round with caulk and weather stripping.
Use Your Fireplace
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace this is a great way to warm up the immediate area without a heater. Just make sure to close the flue when a fire isn’t going.
Change the Sheets on Your Bed
Staying warm while you’re asleep largely comes down to your bedding. Instead of cotton sheets use fleece or flannel materials.
Warm Up Your Bed
Before crawling into bed you can make it warm and snuggly with a hot water bottle or hot soapstone.
Close the Doors of Unused Rooms
To help direct the heat into the living spaces keep doors to other rooms closed. If you have a guest bedroom or office that’s rarely used shut the vents to the room as well.