It’s freezing outside, and it seems just as cold inside. We know the feeling. But heating a home can cost a small fortune – especially if you’re using oil, which can set you back around $2,000 a year.
Thankfully, there are some clever ways to stay warm without cranking up the thermostat every hour. From homemade heating devices to insulating hacks, here are 27 of the best ways to keep cozy this Winter.
According to the old Scandinavian saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’. Keeping that in mind, let’s look at how to dress to stay warm.
This one might seem like a no-brainer – wearing more clothes will keep you snug. But it turns out that there’s a ‘science’ to dressing correctly, says The Observer.
They say you should ensure your base layers (the lightweight clothes that directly touch your skin) are designed to wick moisture away from the body. Runner’s leggings are excellent for this purpose. Your next layer should insulate – think thick sweaters and cozy fleeces. If you’re leaving the house, your outer layer should most definitely be waterproof.
Finally, always make sure your clothes are tight to your skin, to trap the maximum amount of heat.
Add a Hat
There’s little point in covering up your whole body if your head is still exposed.
Even though the US Army used to claim that almost half your body heat is lost through the head, that myth has now been debunked.
However, the latest studies show you can still lose around 10% of your heat through your head, even when the rest of your body is covered. And when you’re cold, that 10% can make a big difference!
So pop on a hat and stay as cozy as you can.
Don’t Forget the Socks
It’s a fact that our bodies prioritize blood flow to our vital organs over our extremities. That’s why your hands and feet typically feel colder than the rest of you.
It’s worse if you’re a woman as you’re up to nine times more likely to suffer from cold hands and feet than men.
Wear a pair (or two) of thick socks and, for even toastier feet, add a pair of slippers. Try making your own with these twelve DIY slipper ideas.
Want even warmer feet? How about a pair of microwaveable slippers?!
Don Fingerless Gloves
Now that your body and feet are taken care of, it’s time to warm up your hands. Gloves aren’t the most practical solution when you’re indoors, trying to cook, clean and check out the latest Natural Living Ideas post. Enter, the fingerless glove.
Get your circulation moving with some exercise. Go out for a brisk walk, dance around your kitchen or stick on an aerobics DVD.
Not only will you warm up but your heart and waistline will benefit from it.
Body heat is a great way to stay warm so snuggle up to your significant other or your furry best friend and you’ll both heat up in no time.
Let the Sun Shine
When you get up in the morning, open the curtains and let the sun in – it’s nature’s heater after all.
Keep those windows clean for maximum sunlight penetration by shining up the glass with an all-natural cleaner.
Close the Curtains at Night
When the sun goes down, close the curtains to keep as much of the natural heat in as possible. The thicker and heavier your curtains, the less heat that can escape.
Plus thicker curtains help block out drafts too. If you have especially drafty windows (or even doors), it’s worth adding curtains or even pinning up a heavy blanket or rug over them.
Block Off any Drafts
Curtains aren’t the only way to block out icy drafts. For a quick fix, roll up old towels and place them along the base of doors and windows. For something a little more pleasing to the eye, DIY draft excluders are easy to make – here’s a step-by-step tutorial.
You may also need to seal up old cracks and gaping spaces around window and door frames with some sealant. Don’t forget letterboxes, pet doors and even keyholes, which can be small but icy sources of air.
Keep Doors Shut
It’s another obvious one but you’d be surprised how many people neglect to ensure all the doors in the house are fully closed, particularly in unused rooms. Remind the children to close doors after them too!
Put Down Carpeting and Rugs
Did you know you can lose as much as 10% of your heat through uninsulated floors?
Add carpets or scatter rugs on the floor. They’ll keep in the heat, brighten up the room and you won’t have to face standing on cold floors when you hop out of bed in the morning.
Light a Fire
You’ll save on both your heating and lighting bills if you spark up a roaring fire. But, if you have an open fire, you could be losing as much as 90% of the heat up the chimney! A closed stove is a much better option.
Either way, even looking into the bright orange flames can instantly make you feel warmer, and sets the scene for a perfect Fall or Winter night.
Remember to save your ash and use it around the home and garden – check out this article for 12 surprising uses for wood ash.
Install a Chimney Balloon
Don’t use your fireplace? Well, you could still be sending a lot of heat right up the chimney.
Chimney balloons are relatively inexpensive, inflatable, removable and reusable plugs which stop heat from escaping and cold air from entering via the chimney. Here’s how to install one.
Candles provide light, ambience and a little warmth. While you won’t heat a whole room with them, they can be useful for warming your hands, or raising the temperature of a small space.
Many store bought candles are filled with dangerous chemicals so try making your own instead. Here are 10 beautiful homemade candle ideas to get you started.
You can even build a special candle heater from ceramic plant pots! It can capture the heat from the candle flame, which warms the ceramic pots, eventually radiating heat around the entire room. Full instructions can be found here.
Cook Up a Storm
Making a hearty winter meal helps you in two ways – it’ll warm you up from the inside and the heat from the oven and stovetop can be used to heat up the house too.
After you’ve turned off the oven, don’t forget to leave the door open and allow that lovely warm air to circulate.
What you eat matters too. Try something spicy using cardamom, cayenne, turmeric and ginger – all known to improve circulation and warm up the body. Cinnamon baked goods make for a festive and warming after-dinner treat.
For something a little more seasonal, try homemade Chai tea, hot rummy lemonade, warm spiced cider or delicious hot chocolate – all recipes can be found here.
Make Your Bed a Canopy Bed
Canopy beds don’t just look regal, they were designed to serve a purpose. The hanging material actually protects you from drafts as you sleep, keeping warm air and body heat inside the sheets – just where you want it.
You don’t need to have a four poster bed to get the canopy effect. Add some curtain rails to the ceiling and hang drapes for a toasty night’s sleep. Check out these ten ways to get a canopy bed without having to trade up.
Grab a Hot Water Bottle
If all else fails, you can’t beat a hot water bottle for keeping you warm. Place them in your bed a few minutes before you hit the hay for a cost-effective (and safer) alternative to an electric blanket.
Use old jumpers and second hand clothing to fashion cute and personalized hot water bottle covers for everyone in the family. Check out these tutorials for ideas.
Make a Microwaveable Heating Pad
No hot water bottle but still want a cozy bed? No problem.
Fill a sock, or small pillow case, with rice and sew or tie closed. Microwave for two minutes and voila … instant warmth! For more detailed instructions, see here.
Try a DIY Hand Cozy
If it’s just your hands that need extra heat, stitch up some homemade hand warmers using just a scrap of material and a handful of rice. Zap them in the microwave and hold on tight. Full instructions can be found here.
Program your Thermostat
Save up to 15% a year on your heating bills with these helpful tips from Energy.gov.
The trick is to avoid manually adjusting your thermostat. Instead, program it for 56°F when the house is empty during the day, and also when you’re tucked up in bed at night.
Then, set it to increase to 68°F shortly before you get out of bed, and again when you return from school or work in the evening.
This way you’ll enjoy a steady stream of warmth which, when combined with all the other tips in this article, means you’ll barely notice the colder temperatures creeping in.
Tape Tinfoil Behind Your Radiators
If you use radiators to heat your home or apartment, you can save further dollars by taping some tinfoil on the wall behind the radiator. This works by reflecting the heat back out into the room. Just make sure the reflective side is facing out!
Set your Ceiling Fan for Winter
To save money (again, up to 15% on your heating bill) switch the direction of your ceiling fan so that it rotates clockwise in the winter. This enables it to draw up the cold air and then push the warm air back downward for a cozy room.
Longer Term Solutions
While there are plenty of tips and tricks above to keep you warm throughout the winter, some longer term investments in your home can help you become more energy efficient – benefiting the environment and your bank balance. Some solutions include:
Adding Insulation to the Walls & Ceiling
While insulated walls and windows are the norm nowadays, older houses can sometimes need an extra layer. Investing in insulation now will most certainly save you money in the long run.
Don’t forget that heat rises, making it especially important to insulate the ceiling and attics.
Insulating Water Tank & Pipes
Insulating your water tank can pay for itself in just one year, thanks to the fact that it can reduce standby heat losses by 25% to 45%. Insulate the water pipes too to further reduce heat loss and save money.
Fitting Energy Efficient Windows
Selecting the proper windows is one of the key steps in minimizing the costs of heating and cooling your home.
Wooden frames offer the best insulating abilities (although may not work well for wet climates) and double-paned, argon filled window glass makes a huge difference to your utility bills.
Investing in Solar Heating
Harness the power of the sun to heat your house – through a solar heating system – and get on the road to a self-sustaining home.
These heating systems use solar energy to heat your home and can even store excess energy for later use. While some houses rely on a solar system alone for all their heating (and cooling) needs, most use it in conjunction with a traditional heating system.
Either way, once you’ve paid off the initial investment, you’re saving money. Don’t forget to check out if your state offers sales tax exemptions, income tax credits or property tax exemptions for solar energy systems.