During the colder parts of the year, it can be tricky to stay warm without cranking up the heat. Fortunately, there are methods to help you stay warm that don't involve increasing your utility bill. Some are things you can do for yourself while others are tips for improving the warmth of your space.
Here are 13 simple and cost-effective ways to stay warm.
Dress in Layers
Everyone knows you should add a sweater, jacket, and other layers when you go outside in cold weather. You can apply the same principle inside, too. Layers will insulate your body and make it easier to regulate your body temperature. You can add or remove layers as needed to stay comfortable.
Wear Thick Socks or Slippers
Keeping your feet warm will make your whole body feel warmer. For an extra cozy feel, slip on a pair of ultra-warm wool stocks. Or keep a pair of slippers or shoes to wear around the house, especially if you tend to have cold floors.
Use the Oven and Stove for Cooking
The oven and stove both generate heat in your kitchen. This is why it's recommended to make no-cook and no-bake meals during the warmer months. But in the colder months, the opposite advice applies: Use the stove and oven often to add heat to your home.
Leave the Oven Open After Baking
Every time you use your oven during the colder months, leave it open after you're done baking. This will allow the hot air to escape and add heat to the room. However, be cautious about doing this if you have children or pets; make sure they can't reach the hot oven door or inside the oven. And never use the oven as a primary source of heat, especially if your appliance uses natural gas. Burning natural gas for long periods can increase carbon monoxide levels in your home.
Enjoy a Cup of Soup
Besides warming up your space, you also can warm yourself from the inside. Opt for hot meals, such as a cup of soup, on cold days. And consider making your own soup from scratch. Soup generally takes a while to cook, and the simmering pot on the stove will generate heat in the kitchen.
Drink Warm Beverages
In addition to hot meals, you can apply the same principle of warming yourself from the inside with your beverage choices. Keep coffee, tea, cider, hot cocoa, or your other favorite warm drinks on hand for when you're feeling cold. The liquid will feel toasty going down, and a hot mug is excellent for heating cold hands.
Use a Humidifier
Humid air generally feels quite a bit warmer than dry air. And running the heat in the colder months can strip your indoor air of its humidity. To balance this, consider using a humidifier. Look for the models that allow you to choose between warm and cold air; they typically cost more but are well worth it for the heating ability.
Reverse the Ceiling Fan
It might seem counterintuitive to use a ceiling fan when you're feeling cold, but it actually can help to warm you up. Let your ceiling fan turn at a low speed in a clockwise direction during the colder months. This will help to push the warm air that rises toward the ceiling back down toward floor level.
Use Microwaveable Heating Pads
Heating pads are fairly inexpensive, and they can make a huge difference when you're cold. Use a heating pad on your hands and feet when you're sitting or lying down to feel considerably warmer overall. You can even make a basic heating pad yourself by sewing dried beans inside a piece of 100 percent cotton fabric, which you then can microwave in 30-second increments until it's at your desired temperature.
Clear Heat Vents, Registers, and Radiators
It's recommended to have your heating system inspected annually, ideally before the cold weather arrives and you must rely on it to heat your home. It's also important to make sure the heat can adequately warm your space. Pull furniture, curtains, and other items away from heat vents, registers, and radiators. If they're blocked, the heat won't be able to circulate.
Don't Run the Bathroom Fan After Showering
Because humidity can make a space feel warmer, skip using the bathroom fan when you shower. Then, leave the bathroom door wide open after your shower, so the humidity can spread to other parts of your home. However, if mold has a tendency to grow in your bathroom due to high humidity, consider using the fan, at least for a few minutes.
Spend More Time Upstairs
Hot air rises. So if you have multiple levels to your home, aim to spend more time on the upper level to take advantage of the warmer air there. You could even move your home office or TV from downstairs to upstairs over the colder months to have a cozier setting.
Do Something Active
Movement generates body heat. And there are many ways to get your body temperature up by being active. For instance, you could clean the house, exercise, tackle a home repair, or play a game. Consider setting a timer as a reminder to get up and move every so often, so your body doesn't become so cold and stiff that you don't feel like being active.