The Internet is full of advice about how to reduce heating bills by installing extra insulation, double glazing and replacing old boilers. For many people this is just not an option since it is just too expensive. While for others, many have lost touch with the “old” ways to keep warm in winter because they have grown up with central heating and expect to be able to wear a T shirt twelve months of the year. Well get this, even 50 years ago central central heating and double glazing was pretty uncommon so what happened in the winter? Well I will tell you…it was pretty cold, there was ice on the INSIDE of the windows, sometimes the toilet froze over in the morning and most years there was a burst pipe. Well, we don’t want to go back to living like that, but what can we learn from the past that will help us find ways to keep warm in the winter now, and may also reduce our heating bills? Read on to discover the latest frugal tips from the MeanyGoat…
The first question to answer is “what is a safe temperature to have inside your house?“. Well, this depends on your age, your health and your overall fitness. Clearly you need to keep the inside of your house above freezing in order to prevent burst pipes…but do we really need to heat everywhere to 75F or 24C? Lets turn to the World Health Organization (WHO) for some advice:
18C is regarded as an adequate temperature in the living areas of your dwelling 20 to 23C are recommended higher for older people who spend a lot of time sitting around Below 16C and resistance to some respiratory diseases can be diminished Below 12 C changes in the core temperature of the body can start…also blood pressure may rise due to the increased viscosity of blood which might pose health risks for some people Below 9C for 2 hours and your core temperature may start to drop if you are sitting still Hypothermia can start to occur when your core body temperature falls below 35C or 95F
Based on this we should aim to keep the living areas of our homes heated to between 9C and 18C or a bit more for the very young, the very old or anybody sick. At these temperatures you will not be wearing a T shirt for very long! The other point to consider is that we can let some areas of our house get colder…but still above freezing…if we are not spending much time there. This way we can save money on heating. Similarly we can let the temperature drop during the night or while we are out at work. Sounds pretty cold even thinking about this…don’t worry, we will soon look at ways to keep warm in winter and then you will feel better!
Cheap thermometers are widely available in the Dollar or Pound shops. It is highly recommended that you buy a few and put them around your house so that you learn what is normal for each room or area. You will also learn at what temperature you start to feel uncomfortable…and this is different for all of us! Once you know the temperature it is easier to figure out ways to keep warm in winter!
In general a Heating Engineer will tell you that dropping the temperature by 1 degree cooler can save between 1 and 3%depending on the type of fuel you have and how well your place is insulated. Significant savings are only achieved if the temperature is dropped for several hours at a time. So you need a double attack here…. aim to lower the general temperature in your house by say 5 degrees and then aim to let it drop by another 10 degrees during the night or while you are out at work. Each kind of heating system is different so you just need to keep these ideas in mind and tinker with the settings until you achieve a lower overall temperature without going below the safe range. Oh, and by the way…really try to avoid leaving windows open in the winter otherwise your heating system will try to heat up the universe at your expense….
Simple Ways to Keep Warm in Winter
Once you have optimized your current heating system, and regulated the temperature of the rooms you occupy, then it is time to look at some old ways to keep warm in winter that are still really useful today:
Wear Layers of Clothing:Aim to wear at least 3 layers of clothing so that you can add or remove layers to regulate your temperature without actually altering the temperature in the room. Use silk, wool or artificial fibers next to the skin in order to draw body moisture away which will avoid that cold and clammy feeling. Your other layers should all be insulating materials like woolen jumpers or fleeces etc.
Wear a Hat:You can loose around 10% of your body heat through your head, and more if you have short hair or are bald. Wearing a hat insulates your head in just the same way that wearing a jumper insulates your chest. A nice little “Beany Hat” will certainly make you feel warm and cosy! Thin gloves are another way to keep warm in winter!
Use a Hot Water Bottle:Yes these old rubber devices can still be purchased! Alternatively you can opt for the modern alternative of a rice or wheat bag that can be heated up in the microwave. Hot water bottles are not just for warming up the bed, you can put them on your feet, knees or under your jumper to keep really warm. Just be careful though since if you use boiling water then the bottle can burst or get too hot and burn your skin.
Wear Leggings or Long Johns:Not sexy at all but they really keep you nice and warm!
Eat Hot Food:Foods that are hot in temperature will help keep your core body temperature ok. Foods that are spicy will make you feel warm and will help your body fight the effects of the cold. On cold days go for something containing Cinnamon, Ginger, Cayenne or Chili.
Keep Moving: If you work from home, or are just sitting around for any length of time it is very easy to get very cold. One of the best things to avoid this, and one of the really simple ways to keep warm in winter, is to just be more active. Make sure you get up and walk around every 30 minutes.
Have more Sex:This is of course a great way to keep warm, but there is also a risk that you might want to take some clothes off….However, moving around and generally getting some exercise will stop your body cooling down since the exercise (or sex!) burns calories and will warm you up.
There are plenty of sensible ways to keep warm in winter and just grabbing a fan heater and putting it on full blast isn’t one of them!
When I was a student I used to revise for my exams in an unheated room and got by wearing seven layers of clothing (including my coat), a woolly hat and a hot water bottle tied around my waist!!! Well, we don’t need to go to those extremes (unless we have a power cut) but we can use the same methods to enable us to lower the general temperature in our home without us feeling cold or getting sick. There are lots of innovative ways to keep warm in winter!
Keep Warm this Winter:
These old ways to keep warm in winter are cheap and sell few products so are not widely publicized! Ask your Parents or Grandparents what they used to do to keep warm in winter and for sure you will get plenty more ideas. It is really important to have a reality check and remember that modern centrally heated houses are quite a recent development. To Keep warm, save money, reduce our CO2 footprint and lead a frugal lifestyle we need to learn form the past and adapt to the future!
So now you know some of my ways to keep warm in winter…..what do you do? Please leave your comments and add your own ways to keep warm in winter so that we can all continue learning…..
Take a Frugal Tip from the MeanyGoat and learn some good ways to keep warm this winter so that you keep happy, fit and healthy while also minimizing your heating costs. Another great tip is to use an electric blanket in bed. These hardly use any electricity and can help you to save energy by reducing the temperature of your house at night… read all about it here: