If you live in a cold climate where temperatures regularly drop below freezing, then you know just how uncomfortable this season can be. You also know how expensive it is to crank up a traditional heating system. But thankfully, you don’t have to choose between freezing your tail off and paying hundreds of dollars per month to keep the heat on. What follows are a few useful and cost-effective tips to keep you warm in the winter.
- Layer Up
If you find yourself complaining about the cold, ask yourself what you’re wearing. In many cases, getting warm is as simple as layering with more clothing. In particular, we recommend the following:
- Most of your body’s heat loss occurs via the head and feet. If you can protect these areas of your body, you’ll stay significantly warmer during the winter. Wear a hat and socks whenever possible. (House slippers and/or a pair of wool socks are great.)
- Polyester undershirts are much better than cotton – particularly when it comes to the base layer. The former wicks away moisture, while cotton tends to cling to your body.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a good turtleneck. These shirts have a way of keeping heat trapped inside for optimal warmth.
By layering on clothing, you can easily shed clothing if you become too warm during the day. This is especially important if you find yourself frequently moving between inside and outside.
- Kill the Drafts
Your home may not be as well insulated as you think it is. Run your hand along the outer edges of windows and doors and you should find a few areas where cold air is sneaking in. Address these problem areas with some combination of weatherstripping, caulk, or insulation.
If you have a two-story house with an opening between the first and second floor, consider hanging a blanket in the opening. This won’t completely seal off the area, but it does slow the escape of heat to the upstairs.
- Use a Heater
There’s no sense in heating your entire home when you spend 90 percent of your time in just a couple of rooms. Instead, keep the home’s heating system on a low temperature setting and use individual heaters to warm up the rooms where you spend your time.
You’d be surprised how many different heater options there are. This includes wall heaters and space heaters for indoor use, as well as infrared heaters and gas heaters for outside use. Wood burning stoves are another energy-efficient option for contained spaces.
- Try a Heating Pad
If you’re typically cold when going to bed, a heating pad can make a big difference. You can purchase a relatively inexpensive pad and place it in between your mattress and sheets. Run it for 15 minutes prior to getting in bed and then turn it off. The warmth will make it easy to fall asleep. And by the time it cools down, your trapped body heat will have created enough warmth to keep you cozy all night.
- Run a Humidifier
While a lot of people run dehumidifiers to keep their homes comfortable during the summer, the inverse option may be helpful for your house during the winter months.
“Humid air generally feels quite a bit warmer than dry air. And running the heat in the colder months can strip your indoor air of its humidity,” homeowner Erin Huffstetler writes. “To balance this, consider using a humidifier. Look for the models that allow you to choose between warm and cold air; they typically cost more but are well worth it for the heating ability.”
For natural humidity, leave your bathroom door open when taking a shower and avoid turning on the exhaust fan. This allows the humidity to spread throughout your home.
- Spend Time Upstairs
As you know, heat rises. Thus, if you want to make the most out of the heat in your home, spend more time in upstairs areas. It could be several degrees warmer upstairs – particularly if your home is well insulated.
Stay Warmer During the Winter
Staying warm in the winter doesn’t have to bleed your bank account dry. By using a few of the suggestions above, you can be comfortable, cozy, and resourceful even during the coldest times of the year. Which tips will you implement?