High oil prices fuel winter heat fearsWhat are your plans for heating this winter?
This is a major question for those on the northeastern seaboard, where many rely on heating oil. As heating oil prices increase, people already on the edge financially find it harder to afford to heat their homes. Maybe that’s you, or someone you know.
Let’s talk about some ways you can reduce the cost of heating your home, or stay alive if the worst happens and you find you can’t.
- Get used to it being colder inside. Turning down the thermostat saves energy. Put on a sweater, socks, or even a hat indoors if you feel chilly. When your body becomes used to a colder temperature it won’t be such a shock to your system.
- Use the sun. Open blinds when the sun is shining in, to let the sun’s rays warm your home for free. Close blinds and drapes when the sun moves on to keep the heat inside.
- Cook at home. Rather than eating out, use the heat from cooking to help heat your home. You’ll save money in the long run. If you don’t know how to cook, learn.
- Get up and move around. Sitting in front of the TV will make you feel sluggish and cold. An evening wrestling with your kids or cleaning the garage will leave you feeling warmer.
- Move up in the world. If you have an upstairs, those rooms will be warmer than the ones downstairs as heat rises. Sleep upstairs if the downstairs becomes too cold at night.
- Cover up! When it’s cold, covered is better, layers of covers are best. Keep your head covered at night especially, as you lose a great deal of heat through your scalp, even if you have long hair.
- Have a slumber party. Families in medieval times slept together in one four-poster bed, draped with blankets to keep heat in. If you read stories from that time, often the author will comment on water in the basin across the room being frozen, but the family being just fine. If you live alone, get your friends together! The rest of you can shut off the heat in your houses for the night. Doing the tent under the table thing like when you were kids can be a fun time, and very warm.
- Drink up! Staying well hydrated by drinking lots of water will help your blood circulate better, and keep you warmer. One caveat, though …
- No alcohol or smoking. Sorry. Alcohol and cigarettes might make you feel warmer at the party, but both dilate your blood vessels, making you lose heat from your body. Alcohol also dehydrates you.
- Use local heat. Heated pillows, heating pads, hot water bottles, and space heaters can help keep a small area warm without costing much money. Never leave space heaters on around small children or when sleeping. Also, heaters using propane, kerosene, or anything else with an open flame can kill you if you don’t have adequate ventilation. Avoid using those indoors and invest in a carbon monoxide detector if you’re forced to use them.
What strategies are you using to stay warm this winter?
(this is crossposted to my blog)