A cold wind swept into my cove this weekend. I don’t know if it was from the north, the south, the east, or the west, but I do know that it has moved me firmly out of tank tops and flip-flops and into thermal henleys and wool socks. In addition to a wardrobe shuffle, the change in temperature got me thinking about the impending need to have firewood delivered for the wood stove and propane brought in for the furnace. Firewood and furnaces got me thinking, in turn, about money (and the recession) and the environment. I know I’m not alone here. Not only does the use of winter fuel cost us our hard-earned dollars, it exacts a hefty toll on planet, too. All of those combustible materials disperse into the atmosphere when burned. According to the National Resources Defense Council , electric power plants are the single largest source of pollutants that contribute to global warming in the United States. [image above: swans island blanket and alpaca hot water bottle cover]
In an effort at saving cash and reducing carbon emissions alike, I try to turn low-fi when the mercury dips. I realize what I do won’t warm everyone. My grandmother is perpetually chilly, even in summer, while my brother’s internal temperature renders his cheeks always warm and rosy. In my 1920’s house, though, (way overdue for an insulation makeover, which will happen, when time and funds allow) I’ve found the cold-warrior methods listed below bring a bit of much needed warmth ’round the old hearth. I know the time will eventually come when supplemental heat will become necessary. Until then, and even once that need arises, my heat-saving (and heat-retaining!) small measures provide a hugely welcome thermal injection. Many will seem obvious, others will induce “Ah Ha!” moments (hopefully). I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel or be the high priestess of cold-warring endeavors here, just merely offering a few tips on helping you feel the heat while saving Benjamins.
CLICK HERE for ashley’s heat (and money) saving tips after the jump!
It’s incredible just how much cold can be kept at bay through employing the use of heavy curtains. My north-facing bedroom warms up considerably once I pull the curtains tight in the evening (two dogs on the bed at night don’t hurt either!).
hot water bottles
Great for both menstrual cramps and cold toes, hot water bottles are a fantastic way to fight the chill. I fill mine up with the hottest water my tap provides, and then snuggle under the covers. Would work great for a couch-bound warm-up, too.
My feet were forever frosty until I began investing in proper cold weather foot and leg ware. Now I have an arsenal of cotton tights, wool socks, warm knee highs, and toasty leggings to help stave off the chill.
If you’ve got ’em, use ’em. If not, consider installing them or ask your property owner about having them added. Storm windows provide an incomparable extra layer of insulation against cold temperatures and high winds.
Now is the time to bust out your most beloved cardigans and revel in your favorite pullovers. Sweaters are an instant ticket to a warmer body. I keep a rotating collection to complement every activity and style whim.
My tea collection seems to reproduce itself exponentially with little assistance on my part, which is fine by me. There’s a pantry’s-worth, ready for chilly mornings, frosty evenings, and any time in between when a bit of liquid warmth is in order. Spicy blends are especially good at warming up extremities, so I always keep ginger and chai offerings on hand.
Setting your daytime thermostat temperature at 68 degrees F and nighttime (or away from home) temperature at 55 degrees F during the cooler months will go a long way towards curbing emissions and costs alike.
Easily sourced from your nearby hardware store, weather stripping is an invaluable tool in your cold warrior quest. Super affordable and easy to install, weather stripping is available in a number of forms. Rubber and plastic adhesive-backed or felt are probably the most affordable and easiest options for renters, while metal would perhaps be a more suitable choice for homeowners, or those who intend to remain in the same location for more than 3 years. This tutorial on How Stuff Works will help get you navigating around the weather-stripping world.
windowsill blankets/door sweeps-shoes
I have several small, old windows in the house that lack storm windows. For these, I use a windowsill blanket, resembling very much a rather long hot dog. This infinitely handy gadget fills in the gaps that wind and cold air would otherwise slip through. They are also great used in the same manner on the bottom of doors, especially in unused, or seldom used, rooms.
I’d love to hear your cold-fighting tactics. When it comes to staying warm this season, an ounce of prevention (and preparation) are worth a heap of savings, fiscally and environmentally.