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By Diane Small
Icy feet, blue fingertips and all-over shivers…feeling cold in your own home can be really horrible – and cranking up the heat is no solution! Turning your thermostat up by just one degree makes not only a larger environmental impact, but could also cost you over $100 during the course of a year. So how to stay warm this winter without killing your bank account – and the planet? We’ve got 15 easy (and sometimes fun!) tips to keep you toasty.
1. Move more
Quite simply, the more you move around, the more heat you generate. Sitting on your butt all day is a recipe for feeling cold. You needn’t do a full on workout or anything – just get up every 30 mins or so to make a nice cuppa, clean the kitchen, or get the mail.
2. Dress your bed right
How you layer stuff on your bed matters. Fluffy blankets should be closer to your body, whilst thin, dense blankets should be on top to prevent convective heat loss. Bonus tip: Don’t put your bed directly against an exterior wall. You’ll be warmer if you leave a little space.
3. Wear the right clothes
If you’re complaining about the cold, be sure you’re not doing so whilst wearing shorts and a tee. It’s winter – dress appropriately! Wool, alpaca and cashmere are some of the best fabrics you can wear. Still feeling the freeze? Layer up! Also be sure to cover your feet – some cosy slippers or cashmere socks are the perfect winter investment (or gift!).
4. Make your home airtight
Put up some heavy curtains and keep them closed when you can to stop up to 40% of heat normally lost through windows. Fill in cracks above and below windows with silicon. Use a ‘door snake’ to stop under-door draughts. But as a side note – don’t obsess over airtightness at the expense of ventilation! It could lead to health or structural problems down the line. Allowing some fresh air into your home is also really important.
5. Check your radiators
You might be surprised by how much you could save by being being proactive with your radiators. It sounds really boring, I know, but they may need a little bit of attention from time to time. Check if they need bleeding or balancing – it’s an easy DIY job. Also check you’re not blocking your radiator’s heat with furniture – a lot of people pay to heat the back of their sofa!
6. Sleep with a hot water bottle
Instead of turning up the thermostat, grab a good old-fashioned hot water bottle instead. Boiling a kettle costs next to nothing and it can really help to warm you up all night long.
7. Cover the floors
A rug or carpet can make quite a difference to thermal comfort, because up to 10% of heat lost from your home goes through the floors. Having something cosy underfoot will also help keep your feet warm – just make sure you buy a floor covering based on natural fibres like wool or silk, otherwise you’ll be inhaling the volatile organic compounds (including carcinogens like formaldehyde) that comprise most synthetic fabrics.
8. Get smarter heating controls
Heating controls have been around for a long time, but the new generation of ‘smart’ controls give you the best possible command over your heating – and heating bills. Digital heating control systems can controlled by the user in all aspects: temperature and schedules are all easily managed by smartphone apps. If you prefer to stick with a more old-school heating system, fireplaces are an eco-friendly option – IF they’re done properly and IF you only use it when you’re in the room to enjoy the heat. Got a super old fireplace that’s just bringing in draughts? Try a fireplace remodelling service to update it into a modern method of heating your home.
9. Eat according to ancient principles
According to Chinese medicine, our bodies need warming foods in winter like soups made with hearty root vegetables. Other foods that nourish and heat the body include black beans, kidney beans, broths cooked with bones, lamb, chicken, walnuts, chestnuts, black sesame seeds and dark leafy greens, for example.
10. See Infrared
Infrared heating panels can work really well as an alternative to central heating. A lot of people have stuck with electrical or storage heaters even though they are difficult to use, expensive to run, and often leave residents without heating when stores have run out in the evening. Investing in infrared heaters can really pay off in the long run – get more info here.
11. Drink up
This is maybe the most fun option! A nice hot cup of tea or hot chocolate really hits the spot when the thermostat drops! Keep it healthy – organic cacao or tea is best, with a touch of your favourite mylk and some honey or stevia. Voila! Keep it coming all day long.
12. Use candles
Candles actually actually DO add a small amount of heat to your home – but if you have an all natural candle in a ‘warm’ scent like cinnamon or clove, this will have an aromatherapy effect that will make you feel cozier.
13. Trick a fixed thermostat
Can’t adjust the thermostat in your flat or office because it’s fixed? No worries! Just trick the device into ‘thinking’ the room is colder than it is by placing ice near the temp control. Bwah ha ha!
14. Wear a hat – even inside!
Loads of people think they lose something like 80% of their body heat through their head. Not so sure if that’s true, but what IS true is that you will lose body heat from any part of your body that’s exposed – and indoors, that’s usually your head. So don a beanie or put up your hood – it will make a difference!
15. Get baking
By far the most delicious option! Baking heats up the whole house, so make a nice veggie roast, bake some healthy, gluten free muffins, or stuff a squash and stick it in the oven to cook. Bonus: you’ll have a nice meal to invite friends over to enjoy – more bodies, more body heat, yay!