Now that winter has arrived in full force here in Manitoba we are definitely feeling the chill. It can be tricky trying to stay warm with no heat. When half of the year is spent in frigid cold it starts to get expensive. Fast.
How to stay warm with no heat (or only a little bit)
To cut down on the heating costs we have to make some lifestyle changes that don’t involve cranking the furnace. At least we don’t have AC in the summer, right?
Here’s some ways you can turn down the thermostat or the furnace off completely and still stay warm with no heat:
Your parents were right, put on a sweater. If you’re cold try and dress in layers . A long sleeve shirt under your hoodie, warm socks, even a hat inside can keep you a lot warmer since you lose so much heat through your head. We’ve thrown our extra duvet on the bed so we’re warm at night without having to turn on the baseboard heater.
If you have a wood burning fireplace that you’re not using (or even if you do use yours online sometimes) consider trying it to heat your home. Ours is located in the living room where we spend most of our time/ Having it going makes the house a lot warmer. If my furnace costs about $200 a month to run but if a $200 cord of wood will heat my house most of the winter I know what I’m choosing.
Get out of the house
Turning the heat down low everyone’s at work and school is a no brainer. But how about when you stay home or work from home? Grab your laptop and hit up the local library to get your work done or take the kids out somewhere (free) to play. Or do what I do and go hang out by your mom’s wood stove. You’ll need to figure out of the gas costs are worth it if you have to drive somewhere, though.
Do your cooking/baking
If you bake and cook from scratch a lot (and you should be to save money) cold winter days are the perfect time to fill the freezer. Running the stove is a lot more expensive than heat but if you had planned on making baked goods a warm soup anyway you might as well benefit from the extra heat it produces. After you’re done cooking leave the oven door open so the extra heat moves into the room.
Plan warm meals
There’s a reason we like our comfort foods like soups and stews in the winter time. They fill our bellies and help us warm up on a cold day. Meal plan according to the weather.
Heat only one room (uses less heat)
There’s a few ways to do this. One would be to close your forced air vents so they are only blowing into the room(s) you need warm. If you have baseboard heating, turn off the ones for rooms that are not in use. A fireplace can heat the room it’s in. The biggest thing about this is making sure you close off the rooms that are no in use so your precious heat doesn’t escape into them.
Update for Feb 18, 2021
No Power? Here’s some ideas
Right now the power is out in a large portion of Texas and many of us are dealing with a polar vortex bringing frigid temperatures. This article was written for people to save money on their heating bill, not for when you lose power completely.
I thought I’d add some ideas that could help. As Canadians, we’re often educated about what do to if the power drops or heating failures in the cold.
- Seal everything up. That means laying clothing, throw pillows, whatever you have handy around any leaky seams. Doing this in a single room would be better. Another option is pitching your tent indoors. Unless you’re burning indoors – then make sure you have some venting.
- Dress in layers and make sure you have a lot of protection on your head and feet. People lose a lot of heat through those extremities so it’s really important. Also, you should be protecting hands, feet, and ears from frostbite.
- Drink something warm. If you can heat up liquid (maybe you have a camping stove or fire) opt for warm drinks and meals. Soup is great!
- Don’t cook indoors. If you’re burning something it has to be in a well ventilated area which in this case means going outside.
- Try and find a place to warm up. Maybe someone you know has a generator or a wood stove. Even though it’s a pandemic, if you’re vulnerable or really cold it might be better to risk contact and be with other people than to stay at home. Especially if you’re alone.
- Use your body to warm kids and pets. Hug them close into your chest to help warm them up. If possible, wear babies in a sling.
- Change out of wet clothes right away.
- If you warm up in your car make sure it’s in a well ventilated area. Carbon monoxide poisoning is real. This is also true of any gas cooking or heating.
When the power comes back on you’re probably going to be dealing with a lot of damages and problems, but right now it’s most important to focus on staying warm and safe.