Condo Blues: Five Unusual Ways to Keep Warm in a Cold House

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Five Unusual Ways to Keep Warm in a Cold House

Welcome Weather Channel viewers! This morning I did another 58 Degree Challenge interview on The Weather Channel. I talked about how my family stays toasty warm in snowy Ohio with our daytime thermostat set at 58 degrees (F). Here are five ways we stay warm in a cold house.

1. Dress in layers. Sweaters are good but fleece layered over another long sleeved shirt is my favorite. I must have ice water running through my veins because I get cold more easily than Husband. I sometimes wear long underwear under my clothes too. Not only at home but sometimes in cold office buildings. Because like I said before, I get cold easily.

2. Heat rooms with passive solar heat. I have thermal window shades that I open on the windows on the south side of my house. The sun shine heats our bedroom up enough that we don't need to use an extra space heater for that room. At night I close the insulated window shades to keep the heat in the room during the evening. You can buy thermal shades or curtains. I decided to make insulated roman shades. I was surprised that I could use passive solar heat because 51% of the days of the year in Central Ohio are overcast. This is good because:

  • It's free heat!
  • We don't have to worry about potential for space heater accidents.
Notice how gray rope caulk seals small air leaks around my double paned windows. I remove it during the summer so we can open the windows.

3. Seal air leak and air drafts. It’s easy and inexpensive to seal air leaks and air drafts. It is something we all know we should do but don’t. It’s the number one way we stay warm in a 58 degree house because it guarentees that our heat stays instead the house! Weather-stripping, caulk, and draft blockers aren’t a sexy or a wacky way to keep warm but they are inexpensive tools and they work. There are temporary options you can use if you rent.

3. Use your computer as a space heater. One strange way we keep warm is with our desktop computers! I work at home and my computer processor puts out enough heat that it acts like a little space heater under my desk. Don’t worry folks, I built my computer with an Energy Star rated processor so it uses less electricity to run its powerful processor. I installed more cooling fans in the case than the processor requires to insure that the processor doesn’t overheat. That’s why it is so surprising that my computer gives off so much heat. When Husband is working on his desktop computer (which he built) the room is toasty warm. This is great during the winter and but a challenge to keep cool during the summer!

A warm campfire? There's an app for that!

4. Drink hot drinks. It’s strange but I noticed that I got colder when I drank juice or water during the day, so I enjoy hot drinks throughout the day instead such as coffee, homemade flavored coffee drinks, or tea. A glass of mulled wine or hot toddy in the evening doesn’t hurt either.

5. Snuggling with that special someone. My favorite way to keep warm in a cold house is to watch TV cuddling under a throw with Blitzkrieg, our double coated dog, on my lap. His favorite TV show is Bones.

Blitzkrieg is warmer than a Snuggie!

How do you stay warm during winter?

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Anonymous said...

Good grief! I keep our heat at (to me) a toasty 68 degrees and my extended family thinks I'm trying to freeze my children to death. I can't imagine what they'd say at 58! LOL. I may try it, just to see the looks on their faces.

My mom actually turns the heat up when she comes over, which I think is quite rude. She could just bring a sweater.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Cindy - Mother in Law has politely inquired if we need her to make us an afghan or two. We have plenty. I pull one from the closet for her.

Susie - said...

Those are great tips - I especially like the solar blind heaty thingy, I'm going to look into getting some of those!
In our cold, student house days we used to wear trousers that were too big and put hot water bottles (not too full!) down the waistband then under our jumpers to warm ourselves up! It was a good look! honest!

Robj98168 said...

I get in my snugglie , with a cup of hote coffee in my muggsly, with a warm cockapoo at my feet.

The Frugal Engineer said...

I'm a new reader (got here from the frugal girl), and I love your blog!

We used to live in MN in a somewhat drafty apartment with a thermostat over which we had no control (10 apartments on three floors, and only 2 had thermostats - ours wasn't one of them). I kept the place toasty with lots of baking (I make all our bread), plus we did many of the things you do - add a couple of layers, drink lots of warm things, and practically live on soup and stew when it's cold outside.

My personal favorite - putting the bathroom scale in the closet until the last frost - I need my insulation, thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

Two ideas that I have done with success: wear nylon hose under pants, and put strip magnets in the side seams of the roman shades - one in the seam itself and the mate on the wall or window frame. It seals it shut and keeps out drafts.

Liz said...

Great tips, thank you for bringing them to FF. It's amazing to me that we all have such different internal thermostats. We keep ours at 68 F during the day and turn it off at night. And, I'm cold during the day (hubby not) and hot during the night (he is cold).

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