Keeping warm

What's your strategy during the winter? A fireplace? heated blanket? warm puppy? Here are the steps we've taken to both keep warm & save money this winter:

  • Oil-filled heaters - I swear by these things. I've used them since I was in the dorms, and am convinced they're safe around pets & kids & furniture. I'm wary of the regular space heaters, but I love these things. For our 1200 sq ft home, we have 2- one in the living room/kitchen area and the other in our bedroom.
  • Closed doors - For the areas without heaters (basically, the bedroom we use as an office, and the bedroom we use as a guest room/game room), we close the doors. We don't need to heat space we're not using, and these rooms don't get used very often- even less so with our new laptop.
  • Baking - Cooking dinner in the oven as well as cooking treats results in warm food as well as warmth in the kitchen. When I'm done cooking, I crack the oven door and let the heat escape the oven into the rest of the house- I paid for the energy to produce that heat, so I might as well let it do double-duty!
  • Window insulation kits - I had heard of these, but hadn't actually seen one until we were wandering around Menards one day. The kits were really cheap, so we picked up enough for the windows in our bedrooms and master bath. The plastic is amazingly invisible, and hopefully the extra layer is helping with drafts.
  • People insulation - Wearing socks in the house does wonders. 
  • Other insulation - We wrapped our water heater in a water heater blanket, and have heated insulation on our pipes to prevent freezing (when we remember to turn it on!) A big-ticket, someday, wish-list item is new siding & insulation on at least the west side of the house (where the wind comes from!) I can dream...
  • Hot drinks - Tea, chai, & hot chocolate make us warm inside.
All these allow us to be toasty warm in our old house in the winter, while still keeping the thermostat set fairly low. What strategies do you use?


Matt said...

We use our fireplace frequently. However, the wood bundles from Kroger only last for one or two evenings and are $5 each, so I doubt that's saving us any money.

I bet there are cheaper ways to get firewood.

Beckie said...

We live in a mobile home and the door into our dog yard is VERY drafty. Living in Maine it is important to stop ALL drafts. My Mom made us a heavy curtian to hang over the door to seal out the drafts. It has been the most wonderful gift.

Alisse Goldsmith said...

Apparently until this weekend, Matt and I were using our stove and oven to heat our apartment (not to mention heat seeping between the floors and walls of other apartments). Our heater was never hooked up after the spring renovations, and therefore, we didn't have an actual heater until Sunday. But sure is lovely :)

ashley @ twentysixcats said...

I actually just sold our oil filled heater! We weren't impressed with that - every time we turned it on the lights dimmed, and I never felt like it really warmed the room. We have a space heater and we like that a lot. We also keep warm with two kitties in the evenings. They are amazing heat generators! We can have the heat completely off, with throw blankets and kitties on our laps and we're completely toasty.

Of course, it's hard to imagine cold right now when it's 64 degrees outside. :-p :-) But I'm told the temps are going to drop again next week.

Jennifer said...

I love those pillows filled with rice that you can warm up in your microwave. If you put them under the covers a half hour or so before bed it gets your bed nice and toasty.

And draft dodgers, to make sure no heat is escaping under the door.

Humidity makes the house feel warmer, so leave the tea kettle on for a little longer to release some steam into the air.

Great list, thanks so much!

Shari said...

We use the oil filled heaters, too. Our big oil furnace is too expensive to run right now, so we have one heater in the kitchen and one in the living room. We don't heat the upstairs. Sometimes we have to run a third heater in the morning just to get the temp. back up. Our neighbors are paying $300 a month to fill their oil furnaces and we just have to pay the electricity to run 2 oil filled heaters. They work great and the kids don't get burned if they bump into them.


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