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How to Keep Warm in a Cold House

Updated on November 19, 2014
All dressed for bed!
All dressed for bed! | Source

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.

Drinking hot tea helps to keep me warm
Drinking hot tea helps to keep me warm | Source

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?

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Fleece

Dickies Men's Polar Fleece Zip-Front Jacket, Dark Gray, Large
Dickies Men's Polar Fleece Zip-Front Jacket, Dark Gray, Large

I am a huge fan of fleece! Fleece is an excellent insulator. It's also soft and lightweight.

 
Keep your feet warm to keep your body warm
Keep your feet warm to keep your body warm | Source

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.

Slippers

ACORN Women's Polar Moc II Slipper Chocolate Dots,Large/8-9 M US
ACORN Women's Polar Moc II Slipper Chocolate Dots,Large/8-9 M US

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!)

Ahhh, hot tea!
Ahhh, hot tea! | Source

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!

Proctor -Silex 1 Liter Electric Kettle
Proctor -Silex 1 Liter Electric Kettle

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.

 

Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker with Digital Timer, Stainless Steel , SCCPVL610-S
Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker with Digital Timer, Stainless Steel , SCCPVL610-S

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!

Flannel Sheets

Pinzon Signature 190-Gram Cotton Velvet Flannel Queen Sheet Set, Cream
Pinzon Signature 190-Gram Cotton Velvet Flannel Queen Sheet Set, Cream

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!

The secret to a good night is lot and lots of layers of blankets! (My bed has flannel sheets and four blankets.)
The secret to a good night is lot and lots of layers of blankets! (My bed has flannel sheets and four blankets.) | Source

Blankets

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

Soft Heat Luxury Micro-Fleece Low-Voltage Electric Heated Queen Size Blanket, Natural
Soft Heat Luxury Micro-Fleece Low-Voltage Electric Heated Queen Size Blanket, Natural

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

Greenland Home Antique Chic Quilted Patchwork Throw
Greenland Home Antique Chic Quilted Patchwork Throw

Throw blankets are an easy way to feel warmer while relaxing in a cold house.

 
Keeping your head warm helps to keep your body warm
Keeping your head warm helps to keep your body warm | Source

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.

A space heater provides ample heat in the area that it's specifically needed
A space heater provides ample heat in the area that it's specifically needed | Source

Space Heaters

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

  1. Move around! Create body heat through exercise. Running up and down stairs or doing jumping jacks or sit-ups will make you feel warmer.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. Put on clothes right after they come out of the dryer. Now that's living!

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!

Thanks for coming to visit! - Your comments are welcome

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    • Valerie Bloom profile image
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      Valerie Bloom 2 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @paperfacets -- Wow! What a great idea!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 2 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I have my winter fleece poncho like cover up. It is roomy like a poncho but is open in the front. Super easy to put on and does not bind or feel bulky.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 2 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @lambservant -- WOW! What a great tip! I never knew about insulating with bubble wrap, but it does make sense. Do you know how easy/difficult/messy it is to remove the bubble wrap in the spring? Thanks, and stay warm!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I live in a 400 sq. ft trailer and it's always cold and damp. My large windows have storm windows, but the smaller ones don't so this year I found out I can insulate any and all windows and my sliding glass door with bubble wrap. It's easy. You use a spray bottle with water and a little glycerine and just spray it on the window and stick the cut and fitted bubble wrap on it and it will stay. Should it dry up (not as likely if you add glycerine) just re-spray it and put the bubble wrap back on. I can't tell you how much warmer my place stays. It's also good to go around the house and check for cracks and fill them. Weatherizing your house or trailer goes a long way. I only bundle up a whole lot when I go to bed because I wan to turn the heat down some.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Charito1962: I'm envious!

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I come from a warm country in Far East Asia. I have yet to experience winter.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      I love a warm electric blanket.

    • JuliaHidy profile image

      JuliaHidy 4 years ago

      I found that if I take one Norwegian Kelp tablet each day, my thyroid levels are more balanced and I am FAR less cold. I also stopped wearing slippers and wear sport wicking socks with Birkenstock style foam sandals. It sounds contrary to what you'd do, but my feet are no longer cold all winter. Hey, whatever works, eh?

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Good advice. I was cold in October. But now I'm cruising through winter with a total adjustment to the cooler temperatures in my home. I too turn on the space heater in the bedroom before I go to bed. And I love my fleece sheets, my down comforter and my goose down underwear. Great lens.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 4 years ago

      I am currently in a vacation cottage in North Carolina... and the heat went off the other night. I looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy in all the layers of clothes, but a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do. Great tips here, thanks!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Chocolatealchemy: Sounds delightful!

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      This is such a great lens because keeping warm in the winter can be a challenge especially for those who live in houses or apartments without proper insulation, the gaps in the windows and doors can make it really drafty.

    • Chocolatealchemy profile image

      Chocolatealchemy 4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Great Lens and tips - thanks for the ideas. I have cold feet (hereditary) so have an electric blanket across the bottom of my bed which I turn on about 30 minutes before bedtime. I turn off the electric blanket when I get into my warm and toasty bed, my feet warm up and I get a good night's sleep!.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @getmoreinfo: Thanks! I'm glad you liked this!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @SusanDeppner: Thanks! Glad this is helpful even for those in the South!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Brrrr, I'm glad we live in the South, although we do have winter here and it can get pretty cold. I layer, too. The more the sun hides, the heavier the layers! Great suggestions here!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @anonymous: Since first reading your lenses, I have often thought about your experience in a tipi and wondered how cozy or not cozy it may have been in winter! Thanks for stopping by and giving this lens a squid blessing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      "Dress like an onion, not an orange", I like that...so cute and wise! I've heard that I think 90% of heat loss can be through the head, so its definitely smart ot cover it up and I've been seeing sleeping caps advertised now and then in the last few years as people turn down their thermostats. Going to the bathroom to help keep warm is a new one to me, I pictured a little warming candle under the bladder....that heat can be used by our hands and feet for sure. You are such a trooper through all these adaptations. When I lived in a tipi in the winter, I'd sleep by the fire and have plenty of layers and was always cozy.

    • profile image

      webmavern 4 years ago

      Great lens and tips, thanks! I'm like you I wear lots of layers of clothes during the winter. The only problem is it takes me so long to dress and undress!