How to Keep Warm in a Cold House
Tips and tricks from one who knows!
It's winter and it's cold outside. If your house is like mine, it's cold indoors as well.
If you find yourself uncomfortably cold, there are a number of easy steps you can take to help keep yourself warm.
Whether you are particularly sensitive to chilly weather like I am, live in a house that is poorly insulated, or choose to keep the thermostat low, I have some simple tips to help you get through winter in a cold house.
Dress Warmly and in Layers
Yes, this seems perfectly obvious, but it's important. If you're cold, throw on another layer of clothing!
During the winter months, I almost always wear a turtleneck with a sweater or sweatshirt over it.
Frequently, I'll have a nice, large fleece sweater on top of that!
Put on as many layers as required in order to feel warm.
Remember the saying: "Dress like an onion, not like an orange." Multiple thinner layers keep you warmer than one very thick layer.
I'm cold - how about you?
Do you find it uncomfortably cold in your house in winter?
I am a huge fan of fleece! Fleece is an excellent insulator. It's also soft and lightweight.
Wear Slippers - Keep your feet warm to help keep your whole body warm
We have a "shoes off" house, and if my feet feel chilly in only socks, I put on a pair of slippers.
I'm particularly fond of slippers that have strong soles. The slippers that are made of soft material all around tend to wear out quickly.
There are also various types of thick socks with treads that are excellent to wear around the house. These should fit over your regular socks and can be worn during the day as well as while sleeping.
My pair of Acorn brand slippers have served me well for at least six years of constant indoor wear during cold weather. I highly recommend them! There are a number of different colors and patterns from which to choose.
If nothing else works, try standing in a corner...
It's always 90 degrees in a corner!
(Hey, if you can't be warm, at least try to maintain your sense of humor!)
You Are What You Eat and Drink!
Warm your insides with warm foods and drinks
Try a nice cup of hot tea! Too much caffeine can be unhealthy, so go for herbal varieties. Other good options include decaffeinated coffee and hot chocolate. In addition to drinking the hot tea, cup your hands around the warm mug and inhale the steam!
Enjoy nice hot soups and stews to heat up your insides! One great kitchen appliance is a slow cooker. In the morning you put in the ingredients for a soup or stew. The food gently heats over the course of 5-8 hours, so you can come home from work to a nice hot meal! Or stay at home while the meal simmers - you'll love the smell of the food cooking.
And don't forget to start the day with a nice, warm bowl of oatmeal!
Hot Water - Quick and Easy!
My parents have an electric kettle, and it really does make a cup of tea extremely easy to prepare. Not that using a teapot is difficult, but this gizmo boils water even faster with absolutely no fuss!
This also comes in handy for a quick bowl of oatmeal or hot water for packets of soup.
Also referred to by the brand name Crockpot, slow cookers are excellent appliances to make soups and stews. They allow the ingredients to gently simmer for hours.
Drinking hot herbal tea not only warms you up, it can also help the body fight off viral infections!
The hot liquid can kill off the nasty invaders before they are able to make you sick!
Oh, what a delight it is to crawl into bed sandwiched between flannel sheets! As soon as the nights start to get chilly in October or November, I switch to flannel. It's the best!
My house has forced-air heat.
Ironically, this creates a bit of a wind-chill effect when heating the house!
As with clothing, I layer on blankets as necessary. As the temperature continues to fall, the number of blankets on my bed continues to rise!
On top of the flannel sheets, I have a comforter. When that is no longer sufficient, I add an afghan or two. The loosely-crocheted afghans keep air trapped, acting as insulators.
Most people would consider flannel sheets, a comforter, and an afghan to be more than enough. As for me, I'm inclined to put a fleece blanket (or two!) over all of that!
Try an Electric Blanket
If you are in need of more blankets, there are a wide variety from which to choose. Select the styles and sizes that best suit your needs.
Many people find that electric blankets really do the trick! They provide heat right where it's needed, allowing you to save money on your heating bill by lowering the house thermostat.
In an effort to reduce my heating bill, I have closed the vents to the finished basement, which isn't insulated.
Having warm air blow into that space is a complete waste, since the heat quickly escapes through the walls.
Instead, the heater works to warm the areas of the house where the heat is truly needed and has the most benefit.
Don't Forget the Throw Blankets
Throw blankets are an easy way to feel warmer while relaxing in a cold house.
Top It Off with a Hat!
I bought this little fleece hat years ago on a backpacking trip. It covers my ears and keeps my head warm but isn't bulky.
I kid you not when I tell you that I wear this at night if I find myself shivering, despite the ridiculous number of blankets on my bed!
Perhaps I should mention that during the winter months I go to bed wearing sweatpants, double-socks, a sweatshirt, and a fleece sweater. It may sound crazy, but this is what I have to do to deal with the cold!
If the sweatshirt I'm wearing to bed has a hood, I don't need to wear the hat. Either the hat or hood can be easily removed during the night if necessary.
If my hands are cold, I'm not too proud to throw on a pair of gloves!
Wearing a hat helps to keep the body warm by preventing heat loss through the head.
If the house feels particularly cold, I'll plug in an electric space heater to warm the air in whichever room my sons and I are using.
This is a great money-saver, since I'm not paying to heat the whole house in order to be more comfortable in one particular room.
I have two space heaters, both of which can be easily carried from room to room and up and down the stairs as needed. One of the space heaters has a thermostat, and the other has more general controls for heat and power.
One great trick is to turn on a space heater in the bedroom a little while before going to bed. Depending on the size of the room and the power of the heater, this could be a matter of just 15-30 minutes.
It doesn't take long or use a tremendous amount of electricity, but it can make an incredible difference in getting to bed in comfort. The room feels warm as I drift off to sleep. I turn off the space heater before getting into bed, so I don't waste energy. Once asleep, our body temperature naturally drops, and a chilly room isn't really an issue.
Space heaters today are made to be safe and efficient, but there are safety risks involved. Click here for important safety information about space heaters.
I like the flexibility of using a space heater.
It warms the area where we actually are, rather than wasting energy heating the entire house.
I use them sparingly, but when I use them, the rooms definitely feel more comfortable.
A Few More Suggestions for Keeping Warm
- Move around! Create body heat through exercise. Running up and down stairs or doing jumping jacks or sit-ups will make you feel warmer.
- Open the oven door after baking. Don't waste all that heat as the oven cools off after use - open the door to warm the kitchen!
- Go to the bathroom. Really. The body uses extra energy when it's holding urine and keeping it warm inside of you. Going to the bathroom promptly helps the body work more efficiently in its various functions, including temperature control.
- Put on clothes right after they come out of the dryer. Now that's living!
More Great Advice
- How to Stay Warm at Home Without a Heater
A quick but very helpful read about staying warm in a cold winter house
My Kids Aren't Cold!
I feel I should mention that my sons, whose dad is of Swedish descent, do not suffer from the cold as I do.
Although I go to bed wearing multiple layers, they are perfectly comfortable in their pajamas and never complain of being cold in the house. Scandinavian heritage sure has its advantages!