Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Holding off on Turning Heat Up

 I know it is pretty darn warm - hot - in many, many places.  Let us just say - it really will be chilly and cooler much sooner than we think.  Times flies - and fall and fall weather is just around the corner.  
Now, I really do love fall weather.  Cooler temps, windows open, sweatshirts, campfires, and pretty leaves.
THEN it gets cold very quickly.
Heat bills in all forms will be going up this year.  No matter what you heat with - increases are happening.
Today I thought I'd just mention a few ways to keep the bills lower and maybe JUST MAYBE keep the heat off as long as possible.

I always turn the AC on later than most people, and I turn the heat on later.  I have a pretty good comfort range and truthfully, I use many of these ideas and it really does save some dollars.

When it is sunny out - open those blinds and curtains!!!!!!  Follow the sunlight.
Not only does it make the cheery and bright - but the sun provides a lot of warmth.  Keys times to open the curtains is between 10AM - 5PM.  On the reverse - block those windows in the evening to keep that warmth inside!!

If you normally line dry your laundry outside - during those frigid cold months, that can be hard to do.  Oh, I remember frozen sheets on the line when I was a kid!!  LOL
Get a simple accessory to put on your drier vent.  It allows you to vent all or some of the heat from drier into your basement or home.  Now I hear a lot about it also allows moisture.  It may put off some humidity - we need that more in winter.  I have a piece of nylon hose over the open end of mine to catch any lint that may blow out.  I have no heat vent in the basement and all my pipes are in the ceiling of the basement.  Using the drier in this way (along with natural temps) is enough to keep it nice down there all winter.
ALSO - in this same vein - after baking anything - prop the oven open when done and turned off.  That allows that heat to venture into the house.  Never waste heat from anything!!  Recycle it.
ALSO - make sure you keep those furnace filters CLEAN!

Add extra bedding to your bed.  Extra blankets or quilts!  Many people use and love flannel sheets.  They are much warmer.  I cannot do that - they are waaaayyy too much for me.  I am one of those crazy people that has to have cold sheets 365 days a year!!!!
Extra covers are a plus for keeping the temps lower at night.  Snuggle with your honey or your fur babies!!!  Either one can keep you warmer!
Afghans and throws are wonderful for any couch or chair.  I have a little living room - but I always have at least 3 throws in there during the colder months - easy to grab and snuggle in any chair.  Warm blankie, hot chocolate and a book - winter bliss!!!!!!!

Wear many layers.  You can always remove clothing if you get hot - but once you are cold - it takes a while to get your body warm.
Of course you may be that person, who is still wearing shorts in December!  I am not.  I do not like being cold.  I hate shoes - but that is mandatory in this area during winter (socks too).  House shoes in the house or socks - will keep those tootsies warm.

MOVE - get outside and do yard work if at all possible.  Move around the house.  You work up a sweat sometimes.  You get fresh air and sunshine - nothing bad about it.  Even when the weather is frightful - you can do something.  I HATE to exercise - but in the dead of winter I turn on the radio to oldies some days and dance like I can!!!  LOL!  If I am watching the silly boob tube - I stand in front of the TV and do a few lunges or toe taps, or arm exercises.  Just don't sit on that BUM all day every day!!!!!

Spicey food and drinks help the body warm.  Hearty foods stick to your ribs and make you feel full and the body feels warmer.  Chili, stews, crockpot dinners, roasted foods, casseroles - is this really a thing - or do we just THINK we are warmer.  I don't know, it may be psychological - but whatever works!!!!
Hot drinks, like hot tea, coffee, hot chocolate all help you feel warmer.
Heck, even a hot toddy now and then doesn't hurt!!!!  I only do those if feeling sick from a cold/flu.

Think about getting or having a couple space heaters.  You can often use them to just warm a room up ENOUGH.  You don't have to keep it on for a long period, they will warm the area in need quickly and for less dollars than the furnace.  BE CAREFUL if using any type of space heater.  That is so very important.

Make sure you change the direction of those blades on the ceiling fan.  Heat rises - so pushing it back down into the room just makes since.  You don't want it just going up through the ceiling and out the roof!
NOTE - it sure helps to have insulation in those attics or ceilings.  When we had blown-in insulation added, they 'guaranteed' our heat bills would fall by half.  It did!!!!!!  It makes a huge difference.

Don't stop drinking just because it isn't hot out.  Fluid intake is important.  Warm fluids are great.  Again, hot tea, coffee, hot cider, warm OJ, warm lemonade (tasty), hot chocolate, etc.  It all helps your body feel warm.

A nice hot shower is wonderful feeling on a cold day.  I love taking a 'spa day' for myself.  A candle in the bathroom, maybe a warm drink and a hot soak with some scented Epson salts in the water.  Yep, that makes me right as rain.  After having that hot bath or shower - again let that warm air flow into the house.  I do not have towel warmers or heated floors - but I do throw my towel on the floor vent until I need it (when bathing) and I have a fuzzy mat to get out on.

SO there you have it.  A few ways to stretch your heating dollars a little.  I can usually cut a month off each end of the heating season by doing most of these things.  It may not seem like a lot - but a couple months of heating bills could make or break it for some homes this winter.

So what ideas do you have to stay warm and keep that bill down a little.  We would all love some new ideas.


  1. We tried the diverting of dryer exhaust into our home. It didn't work. Perhaps the laundry area is too small? We don't have a basement so had no opportunity to direct the hose straight down. We found the contents in the dryer took much longer to get dry. So, I think it is somewhat dependent on the shape of your space and/or the shape you must form the discharge hose in?

    We heat to 67 and wear heavy sweatshirts, fleece pants and I fleece lined leather slippers that come above my ankles. Hubster prefers knee socks and slip on wool slippers.

    Hard to talk about winter right now. We're in Savannah where it's near 80 and humidity is 98%. It is horrid for folks from the desert West. :-(

    1. I understand - it is still hot here as well. It will be here before we realize it.
      My drier has a vent to outside and the connector fits on my hose right before the outside vent. It works well for me, no longer dry time, but it is in a basement. Must make difference.
      Sounds like you stay cozy warm. In the house, I just wear socks or a pair of slippers and sweatshirts. I keep the furn. down - but stay plenty warm - outside is my problem!

  2. Cheryl, great minds must think alike because I was online just last night researching various ways to make this old trailer a little tighter for the winter.
    NEVER vent a gas dryer into your home. CO (carbon monoxide) poisoning will kill you.
    When we experimented with keeping the unused parts of the house cooler and running an electric space heater in the living room, our natural gas bill did go down, but the electric bill went up, and the net result was about the same. Others may have different results.
    We also dress in layers in the house. Husband even wears a hat sometimes. He has poor circulation and shivers in temps below 72F. My hands get painfully cold, so I wear fingerless gloves. Even old socks with the end cut off and a thumb slit will work.
    Weather stripping is a relatively inexpensive way to help keep winter's chill out. There is lots of info on the 'net about how to check windows and doors for air gaps and how to remediate them.
    Use heavier window curtains in winter, especially on the windward side of the house.
    In a mobile home, insulate behind your skirting. I used foam insulation panels cut to size and taped together. Wire zigzagged from screws behind the insulation will help keep it in place when the winds are howling. There are lots of ideas for skirting insulation on the 'net.
    If your outdoor a/c unit has a damper to prevent air from coming into the house in the winter, check to make sure it still functions. I don't know about regular house set-ups, but my mobile home a/c has one.
    Get your furnace checked now to avoid the rush. We ran ours a couple of chilly mornings and made sure it was functioning correctly. Check any heat tape, too. It's no fun replacing heat tape in the middle of winter (ask me how I know!)

    1. Great tip on venting 'gas' dryer. Mine is electric. We must all stay safe and be aware!
      Great tips. Last year I did weather stripping around doors. There are just so many little things we can do that add up.
      Good advice on getting the furnace checked before you need it!
      Chilly mornings? Haven't had any of those here yet!!!!
      Sounds like you and hubs know just what to do to keep yourselves warm.

  3. Love the last item in the box..."Am I wearing a bra? Who knows..." haha. That's me for sure.

  4. Great tips, Cheryl, and funny you should ask! As you know, we moved to high elevation in AZ at the end of March. Nights are already getting down to about 50 degrees. For the first 3 months, we stayed with our son (at a higher elevation); his home only has a pellet stove and space heaters for heat. Flannel sheets were a must, along with puffy comforters. Daytime meant clothing layers.

    We have propane heat at our house, but planned ahead for a pellet stove. Although a wood stove is cheaper to use (generally, if you have access to wood), a pellet stove offers more efficient, continual heat. The propane co. said we won't likely go through 500 gallons through the winter because of the stove. For those of you with a wood fireplace, be sure to close the flue as soon as the fire goes out to prevent drafts. Speaking of drafts, check all your windows; old, rolled up towels make great draft-blockers. In Ohio, we had storm windows to keep drafts at bay. Ditto doors. Now is the time to weather seal.

    Oh, and if you have a fireplace or stove, set up a clothes drying rack nearby. Everything will dry quickly and add needed moisture to your home. I put a flannel backed vinyl tablecloth (small) beneath to protect the floor from drips.

    If you don't have carpet on your floors, area rugs help keep your feet from freezing in busy areas of your home. Heat rises. Floors get COLD. Thick winter socks are useful, too, as are fuzzy slippers. Watch for sales/clearance. Stores are having a hard time unloading non-food/essentials stock right now.

    Looking for a cold weather hobby? How about knitting or crochet? Automatic warmth in your lap on chilly nights. I also keep throw blankets or afghans around. To be continued... --Elise

    1. Great tips and ideas.
      Storm windows here (well double paned windows). Like the idea of placing towels or dodgers at windows or doors. I have done that many times at door bottoms.
      You sound like you have really planned this new adventure out. That is great! Good idea on 2 heat sources.
      Thanks for the tips.

  5. Another fan of fleece lined bootee slippers here, along with 2 pairs of socks when the cold weather hits. Well-insulated feet make me feel much more comfortable. Pre-Covid I would spend most days at home on my own and would sometimes wear a fleece hat to keep the other end warm too! My husband is now retired and my son is at home all day too and they feel the cold more than I do, so the heating goes on a lot more during cold weather. Thank goodness we fixed our electricity rate for 2 years last August. This Winter is going to be a very hard one for a lot of people.

    1. I too, want my feet warm during the day - but can't stand socks on in bed. I don't want cold feet - but can't sleep if they are hot! LOL
      Nothing wrong with wearing a fleece cap to keep the head warm. We lose a lot of heat out of our head.
      Nice to have you here - please post anytime.

  6. Back Up Generators:
    I've read in several places (economic news) that the U.S. will see energy shortages in parts of the country this year, due to the depletion of our reserves, which were both used to bring gasoline prices down and sold to other countries in the past few months. Our emergency reserves are dangerously low.

    I know back up generators aren't cheap, but they can be life savers if the power is out for an extended time. Don't forget, even if your home isn't all electric, the water heater, stove/oven and furnace require electricity to run. I have family in AR that has gone days in winter w/o power; my sister said the back up generator was one of their best investments.

    Thanks to all for your "stay warm" tips! And thanks again, Cheryl. Great topic! --Elise

    1. Another great tip. Yep - I have a whole house version - but portable generators are very important, in especially cold regions. At least you could alternate appliances and eat, keep warm and keep hot water. Food could be placed in a vehicle if necessary - but we need heat.

  7. I would go to bed sleepy and then be jarred awake by the icy pillow in my unheated bedroom. While I do like the room cold, the pillow was unbearable. I would put my pillow in the warm den and just before bed, it was not icy. But, I popped it into the dryer for five minutes along with a throw. I would place the heated throw on the bed where my trunk would rest. The pillow was on the top of that. So, I could jump into bed and be warm long enough to heat the rest of the covers with my body. The warm pillow helped so much.

    1. That is a good idea for those that are very cold natured. I still want my bed sheets and pillow cool. If I can't get warm quick enough in bed, I lay on my back - that way the greatest mass of body is generating heat into the bed and back to me.
      love how we all have out little tricks!

  8. I keep the house cooler in the daytime, turning up the thermostat in the early evening, and then down again at night. But sometimes when it is really cold -40C/F for several days the furnace runs a lot more.
    Windows are really important too. In homes I've lived in previously I've used plastic film to keep the breeze out and for leaky doors a folded up towel helps too.

    1. Oh brrrrrrrr! Golly, I hate to think about cold temps.
      Great tip to cover the windows with some kind of film if they aren't well insulated. I have used towels and remember that from way back to being a kiddo.

  9. I always had particular dates when I turned things on and off. IF it got too cold before that date you put on a sweater. We use much less electricity than many homes near by.

    1. I kind of agree with you on that. In my mind I have a date - but sometimes I break down.
      I love the elec. companies let us know how we are doing. IF it is true (well, you know).

  10. Debby in Kansas USAAugust 30, 2022 at 4:20 PM

    I'm always the one that tries to hold off using the heater as long as possible. We usually keep it at 65 during the day and 60 at night. We've already settled on a 2° change. 63 during the day and 58 at night. We bought this comforter set at JCP a couple of years ago and I swear it could be used outside at the North Pole!! We only keep it on the bed in Dec, Jan, and Feb because it's intolerably HOT! Half the time I wake up with it only half on me. I either push it to my waist or hang a leg and arm out! We haven't taken out the flannel sheets since we got it. We bought it when we repainted the bedroom. It's beautiful! But unfortunately we've reverted to our holey ratty quilt for the rest of the year!

    I'm with you, Cheryl. I hate wearing shoes, too. I have these thick knee high socks I wear in winter, but I will often hold out until my toes ache from the cold. I'm stupid that way. I also use my husband's old holey undershirts for a thin insulating layer around the house. I always do my cleaning in the morning to keep the shower warmth for as long as possible. At least until the sun hits the south bay window. Ironing is my favorite winter chore!!!

    We also have those wonderful microwave pillows. Those are winter pals!!!

    1. I had to laugh at your description of laying in bed. I am one of those - under covers, at least one foot and leg out of covers - maybe more and one arm out. My pillow gets turned often, as I want a cool spot. I want my sheets cool too. I am weird!
      I usually have a t-shirt and a sweatshirt on in the winter. Knee socks and maybe slippers. I avoid shoes as much as possible.
      Your comforter sounds like it was well worth whatever you spent!!! You never know - you may get THAT cold someday!

  11. For a quick heat-up of a cold bed, you can make a hot pack with an old tube sock (or you cold stitch up a case) and some dried beans. They can be put in the freezer to use as an ice pack, or microwaved for 30 seconds or a minute at a time for use as a heat pad. Just know that they can get really hot, hot enough to cause a burn, so don't put the sock directly on your skin, wrap it in a towel or washcloth. But to put in the bed to heat it up a little before bedtime should not be a problem. Google "beans hot pad" for suggestions on how to make one.

    1. Great tip - thanks. You gals are so ingenious! So many neat ideas.

  12. I do many of those things. I am going to try and leave our furnace off until at least the first of October. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

    God bless.

    1. I usually can get to October without heat. Maybe later. Here's hoping for you!!!!!

  13. We put off turning on the furnace as long as possible and same way with the A/C. My daughter and I say that we like cold weather better as you can put on more clothes but there is only so much you can take off! ha! Our thermostat is set differently than most folks. We're not trying to go in shirt sleeves in the dead of winter.

    Did you see Sherman on Fox59 this morning at the restaurant that took over the Edwards Drive-In? It's called the Happy Days Pancake house but they do not have a web site, Facebook only. As I am not on FB, I searched and found the breakfast menu but not the lunch.

    1. You sound like me - always wait as long as I can.
      I did not see that - haven't turned on TV yet. I know many people who have eaten at the new place and say it is great. I have not yet. I loved Edward's. They still have a food truck that goes to different places and do catering.

  14. To tag onto Lori K’s comment - I have made rice (or wheat, barley, bean) ‘bags’ by sewing a smallish bag (8” square) and filling 2/3 full with grain of choice (not corn!!!), and sewing shut. Heat safely in microwave. You can even make washable ‘bag cases’ for them. They are great for not only pre-warming the bed but we heat and hold them to warm up our hands or feet when reading/watching t.v. in a cool room.
    Thank you for this forum, Cheryl! Conni

    1. Hi Conni! Those heat bags are great for so many things. Warming the bed, the body and aches and pains. Such an easy and simple remedy!! Another great recycle or upcycle for us all.
      Thank you for being here. I so appreciate it.

    2. My mother-in-law got a barley filled one at a craft show and gave it to my hubs when he had a back issue, which is how I first learned about these. A tutorial on the tube-sock version popped up as an ad in my news feed awhile back, reminding me of this easy tip. Hubs used it a lot on his back and developed blisters one time, from heating it up too much.

  15. We have those stainless steel water bottles so I fill one with hot water from the tap and cover with a sock or towel or piece of fleece and put it in the bed. Even with just water hot from the tap it's pretty hot so I hold it with a towel or potholder when filling. I suppose it would work with a plastic water bottle but I feel like the metal might hold the heat better so I've never tried it.
    Years ago I bought a pattern for fleece socks. It's pretty easy and doesn't use much fleece. So using fleece remnants I can sew up pretty quick a pair of warm socks. I can't stand cold feet! Lol. But like you, Cheryl, I can't have anything on my feet in bed. I can't fall asleep unless my feet are bare! Isn't that funny?
    On especially cold days I will do my baking. Or make up a big pot of soup. It certainly takes the chill away and I get my cooking/ baking done.
    I don't function very well if I feel cold. I actually can tolerate heat better (within reason). And I often don't realize it. I'll find myself feeling sluggish and having a hard time getting anything accomplished. And finally a few hours into the day it hits me that I'm chilly. I do something to warm myself up and then I'm fine and can get my to- do list done!
    I appreciate all the ideas! I'll be trying many of them this winter.