A little creative thinking and investment can go a long way!
Try these cost-effective and easy ways to keep you and your family warm this winter – without spiking your electricity bill.
1. Check all your windows and doors
Look for gaps or cracks where cold draughts might sneak in. Seal them, and recaulk windows where necessary. Invest in good-quality blinds or curtains to help keep the warm air inside your home. Heat escapes quickly through single-pane glass – the norm in our South African homes. During the day, it’s important to try and use as much natural heat as possible, so curtains and blinds should be left open to allow sunlight in. In the evenings, make it a family rule to shut all doors and windows that aren’t being used, and for all curtains and blinds to be closed. Plus,
keep all doors to unused rooms closed and place a draught excluder at the base of the door. The more space and rooms you have ‘open’, the more heat and energy it’ll take to warm them all up.
2. Add humidity
Humid air feels warmer – the higher the humidity in a room, the more heat the air can hold. No humidifier? Leave
the door open while you shower. You could also leave a bowl of water in your bedroom overnight. Another bonus is that you’ll be less likely to suffer from dry skin thanks to the added humidity!
3. Reassess your flooring
If your home has tiled or hardwood floors, look at placing a few carpets in various spots around the house. The
carpets will act as a layer of insulation, trapping cold air underneath, which will help to keep your feet nice and warm.
4. Speaking of your feet…
Invest in a pair of comfy slippers. Just be sure that they have rubber soles – rubber is a bad conductor of heat and will keep your feet warm. In terms of the rest of your clothing, layer up! Use jerseys and vests as well as warm pants.
5. Get active
Exercise helps to increase your metabolic rate, and accelerates body heat production. Cardio increases blood circulation, while strength training increases heat production in the muscles. Not only will the exercise help
you to battle the bulge, it also produces the feel-good hormone serotonin, so you’ll boost your mood too.
Consider air drying your clothes! It’ll increase humidity, which in turn makes the house warmer. You’ll cut costs on tumble drying too!
6 clever ways to stay warm without a heater
- Make yourself a hot drink, relax and enjoy! Hot drinks help to raise your body temperature.
- Turn off/dim the lights, and light a fire and some candles – just be sure to use candles that are made from
beeswax or soya as these are more eco-friendly than those made from paraffin.
- Prepare a hot water bottle and place it at the end of your bed before going to sleep.
- If you’re not opposed to an electric blanket (they can be dangerous!), switch it on high about 20 minutes
before you go to sleep, switch off and jump into a toasty warm bed.
- Get cosy with loved ones with lots of blankets – whether it’s your fur kid, your partner, or your children, body heat and blankets will keep you nice and warm. Remember, we lose most heat from our extremities, so put socks on your feet and a hat on your head too.
- Leave the oven door open after you’ve finished cooking/baking and this will help heat the kitchen area. Just make sure the oven is turned off! Reconsider this if you have small children and pets, as they could get hurt.
Remember the Time Of Use system (TOU)
Certain municipalities and electricity supply companies such as City Power charge you higher rates during peak periods, in the hope that the increased prices will encourage more people to use power during off-peak hours. Peak periods may vary from region to region, but are approximately 7am to 9am and 5pm to 8pm.
COMPILED BY LAUREN FISCHER PHOTO: FOTOLIA.COM