It can be tricky to stay warm in winter and control your heating costs at the same time. Good thing there are cost-effective ways to remain comfy on a chilly night without cranking up the heater. Look around your home. Your best solution might be in your closet or kitchen!
1. Wear All Things Woolly and Thick
It’s time to bring out your seasonal clothes and start dressing in layers. Sweaters and jackets are not limited to outdoor use, though. You can always wear them while inside the house. Put on a pair of wool socks or slippers to keep your feet off the cold floor, too.
Make sure the kids have enough warm pyjamas, tracksuit pants and long-sleeve tops throughout the cold season. One clever tip on buying kids’ winter clothes is to buy them before spring or during end-of-season sales. Check out this clothes shopping article for more money-saving tips.
2. Use Your Trusty Heating Pad
It’s not only good for your sore neck or monthly cramps! Whether it’s water-based, electric or microwaveable, a heating pad on your feet or hands can help you keep warm. It’s the perfect snuggle pillow to go with your fuzzy blanket at night, too.
And in case you’re trying to save money, you can always skip buying a new heating pad and make a homemade one instead. Check your closet for cotton socks or pillowcases. You can then use rice or dried beans as filling. Next, sew it to seal the contents inside. Heat it in the microwave for about 2 minutes, then carefully take it out. Wrap up your homemade pad in an extra cloth before use if it is too hot.
3. Enjoy Hot Meals and Beverages
Probably the best way to stay warm at home is to eat something homemade and yummy with the family. A happy tummy can make anyone feel cosy, after all. Plus, cooking in the kitchen can warm up the room, not to mention fill it with a delicious aroma. Here are ideas on how to keep warm in winter with good food:
- Put your slow cooker to work. The winter months are the best time to cook your favourite casserole, roast and pasta recipes. A slow-cooker is one of many appliances that save money, too. Boiling a pot of water on the stovetop also works, but simmering soup is more cost-efficient (and delicious).
- Whip up hot chocolate, tea or coffee. Have a toast with a toasty drink! Pour your warm beverages in large mugs to warm your cold hands as well.
- Keep the oven busy. What’s a warm drink without freshly baked cookies or a slice of cake to go with it, right? All that mixing and baking can help you stay warm, too. You can even leave the oven door ajar after using it for added heat.
4. Turn Your Ceiling Fan on Reverse
I know, it’s too cold to use the fan in winter. But during the colder months, warm air tends to rise towards your ceiling. Turning the fan in a clockwise direction will pull this warm air to floor level. So, look for the reverse switch of your ceiling fan, then set it on low speed.
5. Stay Warm Upstairs
Now that you know hot air rises during the winter season, it’s only practical to spend more time upstairs. So, if you don’t have a ceiling fan and you’re staying in a multi-level home, this tip is your best alternative.
Consider moving your home office upstairs (or any room that you use often), so you can enjoy the warmer air more. Keeping unused rooms closed also helps concentrate warm indoor air. If you are going out, keep the doors shut as well. Make this a habit when you have the heater on, too.
6. Rearrange Your Furniture Layout
If you plan to move rooms upstairs, why not rearrange the furniture while you’re at it? Repositioning them can alter airflow and improve circulation throughout your central living spaces. So, check your sofa if it’s blocking your heat source. Then move it somewhere that will redirect warm air to you while you’re relaxing.
7. Make Use of Wind Blockers
Aside from closing your doors, shutting windows and rearranging your furniture, there are ways how to prevent drafts from entering your home. Here are a few ideas:
- Have a two-curtain setup. Curtains are more than home décor. They also work as additional barriers to keep warm air inside. The best way to do this is to have a thin liner to let natural light come in when needed. Then, have a thermal or blackout curtain to preserve heat and drown out the noise.
- Install a pelmet onto your windows. Also called a box valance or cornice board, a pelmet can prevent warm air from escaping at the top of your windows. There are ready-made ones for quick installation, but you can always go DIY and make one if you want.
- Use a draught snake or excluder. Aside from windows, warm air can also escape through door gaps below. So, I suggest using one before going to bed. In the morning, remove it and open up your windows to let fresh air circulate for several minutes. Alternatively, you can also stick draught strips or weather seal tape to your doors and windows.
8. Skip Using the Bathroom Fan
Humid air tends to accumulate after we take a shower. This air can help warm up a small space like our bathroom. So, after bathing, forget about turning on the bathroom fan if you have one. Let humidity fill up the room. Also, keep your bathroom door open after showering so humid air can get to other parts of the house. However, if the humidity level gets too high, turn the fan on for a few minutes to prevent mould growth.
9. Spend Time for Exercise
Exercise not only leads to healthy well-being but also generates body heat to help you stay warm. And it doesn’t have to be aerobics, Zumba or cardio exercises. Mums like us are always busy taking care of chores anyway. So, use meal prep, laundry time or house cleaning as your workout time. On weekends, play indoor games with the kids or invite them for a yoga session. Aside from increasing their body temperature, it will help boost their immunity, too!
10. Be an Efficient Heater User
Even if you’re trying to save money, you still need to turn on the heater occasionally. What you can do, however, is to use it wisely. For instance, make sure that it is in good working condition. Check if warm air can circulate properly to prevent overheating the appliance. Make it a habit to have it cleaned every year before winter comes, too. And if you need to replace it, choose the right heater type for your home.
Use the timer of your heater and turn it on at specific times of the day. For example, winter mornings are usually cold. Your activity level may also be low during this time, so turn on the heater early for half an hour to warm up the house. Go easy on the thermostat, though. Rather than cranking the temperature setting up when it’s too cold, eat something warm or move around more.
If you want an estimate of your annual heating cost, you can check out Sustainability Victoria’s guide. Also, do you need more ideas to save money and reduce your energy use? Add these energy-saving tips to your list!