Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our Strategies For Keeping the Heat Turned Down Lower This Year

...Okay, so check to make sure if weather stripping isn't it. Other ideas...

  • 2 Layer Minimum: All family members have happily agreed to wear long underware under our clothes. Sweaters are encouraged but do not count as a layer.

  • Socks and Hats Required: We plan to wear socks all winter long. Two layers of socks, with wool on top, or even just wool socks by themselves are preferable. Slippers make a great addition but are not necessarily necessary ;-). Hats are a must at all times outdoors, but also are great when folks get chilly indoors. If one of us is cold during the day, we'll try a comfortable hat before turning up the heat.

  • Tea as the Standard Drink: During the winter, we plan to drink warm drinks throughout the day. Options include warm milk, apple cider, or our current favorite: tea. The children enjoy a child-friendly herbal (thus naturally caffeine free) tea, lightly steeped. They like Celestial Seasoning teas such as Sleepytime, Chamomile, Peppermint, and the Berry one (can't recall its name at the moment). They have yet to try the Orange Zest tea. Coffee is also an option for adults and hot chocolate is a favorite among everybody on special occassions. All of us will drink something warm not just during the day, but especially before bed.

  • Warm and Spicey Foods: Cooking and baking not only keeps the house warmer, but eating warm cooked meals helps to warm people. We won't be having meals that are served cold this winter...hardboiled eggs, most types of sandwiches, etc. Since everybody in our family likes spicey food, we'll also be eating plenty of that because it can noticeably warm us up.

  • A "Downsized" House: We will be closing off a number of rooms for the coldest months of the winter. We don't have multi-zone heating, but we do have radiators that can be shut off individually in rooms, and as I understand it, this can save on heat. I know a woman who has shut down the entire upper level of her house, setting up bedrooms on the first level (which she decided to make the "open for business" level due to the location of the kitchen on the ground level). I guess that is always an option. We have three rooms downstairs that could be transformed into bedrooms with a little creativity if absolutely necessary.

  • Cold Means Get Out: The library and the ecotarium (to which we have a membership) are two of probably several places we can go that will not be keeping heat any lower this year than last year.

  • Rice Pack Warmers: We have at least one already, and could make or inexpensively buy several more. Heated in the microwave for a few minutes, these can warm beds before bedtime, couches, and even chairs throughout the house. They can also be used by any of us if we just feel a little chilly.

  • Blankets, Blankets, Everywhere: Reading books under blankets on couches can be a fun activity for everyone! Blankets can also be used by any person who wants one for his or her lap while doing a puzzle, playing a card or board game, drawing, writing, or otherwise staying put in one place.

  • Fans on Reverse: I have heard that putting a fan on the "reverse" setting, if one is available, helps disperse heat throughout the room. I will be checking to see if either of our fans has this setting.

  • All Appliances Run During the Day: In the summer, we have a rule that we don't vacuum, do laundry, cook, or run the diswasher during the day because it makes the house hot. Now that winter is here, this can be part of a great strategy to keep warm during the day. At night it is great to run appliances too for heat, but it is easier to stay warm at night under the covers than it is during the day.

Other things we'll possibly do? I am going to keep my eye out at the thrift shop for soft, wool clothes. Unfortunately, we can't do just any wool clothes because wool is very itchy and none of us tolerate itchy wool. But maybe we'll find something. If not, I am at least going to buy wool *socks,* no matter where I have to buy them. I also am going to look around for heat-resistant radiator reflectors to put on exterior walls behind radiators to prevent heat escape, and hopefully we can swing it (assuming cost) to get our radiators fully serviced this winter. If the project looks manageable for non-do-it-yourselfers like us, I'll use 2" certifoam insulation around rim joists, which are in between floor joists in the basement, to help keep the floors warm. If we have enough when that is done, we will also get flannel or fleece sheets for the beds. And finally, I hope to make "draft dodgers" for doors between rooms, especially rooms we won't be using.


sf said...

Heather and Silver got another set of long undies at the ARC for a little boy back there, yay!!
Will send them this week - you should be getting that other pair in a day or so, I hope!

Masasa said...

That was very sweet of them. Thanks, and thanks to Heather and Silver!