Are you feeling the cold inside your own home this winter? If so, that may be because you’re holding back on turning up the heat to save money. It’s true that heat can become costly, but if your rooms are under-heated, you’ll need other ways to keep warm and, fortunately, there are plenty to choose from. These eight tactics will help you get warm without turning up the heat -- and all of them cost little to nothing.
1. Draft-proof your home
Shut all your interior and exterior doors, then block any gaps between door and floor with items such as spare rugs, bedding or cushions. Check all your windows for drafts and draw drapes or blinds across for extra insulation. For a little bit of extra money, you can purchase film to further insulate your windows at a local hardware or home improvement store.
2. Heat fewer rooms
Reduce your energy consumption by heating fewer rooms. Ideally, confine your living space to one room, using it for your meals, computer work and relaxation. Perhaps keep heaters on low in one or two other rooms to take the chill off.
3. Wear more clothes
Consider carefully whether you’re wearing enough clothes, and of the right sort. By wearing several layers, you can create heat insulation between them, keeping your body cozy and warm. Wrap yourself up from head to toe, with leggings or tights under trousers. Put on your woolly hat and a pair of gloves -- fingerless if necessary for work, and an extra pair of socks inside your slippers. You can shed them gradually as you get warm.
4. Enjoy warm drinks and meals
Make yourself a hot drink and a steaming dish of instant porridge or soup. These will provide a warm, comfortable feeling that will last a good while. Use any remaining water in the kettle for a hot hand or foot wash, taking care not to scald yourself, or save the water in a heat-proof flask, saving you the cost of heating the kettle again next time.
5. Use a heating pad or electric blanket
A heating pad or electric blanket will counteract the cold for hours, so make use of any you have in the house. Prop them on your lap, feet or the nape of neck when sitting still. You’ll probably find yourself sweating after a few minutes. Make use of other warm surfaces, such as radiators, hot water pipes or the dryer, to warm clothes before dressing.
6. Get some exercise
The most effective way to get warm is to get moving! Get up on your feet and do something physical. Whether you’re working out, or vacuuming the carpet, you’ll get your circulation flowing, warming up your body from within. Sustain the effect by repeating with a little bit of movement every half hour or so, skipping, jumping, running up and down stairs or whatever suits you best . Every muscle flex will help you -- and your energy bills.
7. Take a bath
A steaming-hot bath or shower will bring sustained warmth all over. If you still have hot water over, give your hands an extra boost by washing the dishes, rather than using the dishwater; this will save electricity, too.
8. Go to bed
If you’re still cold, despite all your clever economies, climb into bed or bring a blanket downstairs; you’ll soon be warm as toast with those cozy blankets. Sit with a pile of pillows at your back, so you can tap away at your laptop, read your book or watching TV. You’ll be amazed how much money a blanket can save you.
In your efforts to save money, don’t be too sparing with the heating; everyone needs a degree of warmth to function properly and stay healthy. You may need to turn the thermostat up a notch in the evenings, for instance, but your low fuel consumption through the day will compensate for this, so relax and enjoy the luxury. Besides, winter won’t last forever!
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