Friday, August 7, 2015

Economical Winter Heating

Keeping warm without blowing the budget... How can it be done? I had written this post a few weeks ago, but then the air began to feel warmer with the first hint of spring. Suddenly, we find ourselves in the midst of another winter snap and I feel that now is the time to share these helpful tips.

A little while ago I posted a question on my Facebook page, asking 'What are your best tips for keeping warm, whilst keeping heating costs low?'

Answers included:
• Two dressing gowns, ugg boots and a wheat bag with a hot drink lol
• Wheat bag,massive blanket and warm bed socks knitted ones are the best!
• Hot water bottle.. :)

The general theme of adding layers of clothing or blankets with the addition of a small item that can be reheated to provide additional warmth were very useful suggestions, but what about heating the entire home?

• Taking advantage of the Sun's rays is probably the best, most economical heating idea to date. Each morning I open the shutters and blinds on our north, west and eastern facing windows to allow the natural light to spill in and naturally heat our living areas and bedrooms. I make sure to close the blinds and shutters again at sunset to retain the heat.
• Close the door! Keep doors and windows closed when you need to prevent the freezing air from entering your home. This tip is also useful if you have a fire, heater or air-conditioner running and you don't want to waste your money on heating unused guest rooms.
• Door snakes/ draft-stoppers. These underrated items came in very handy when I lived in Armidale during my university years. Not only did they prevent the chilly winter draft from entering my home under the front door, but they also prevented heat loss to the spare rooms and around the window sill (in older homes). Here's a handy tutorial on how to make your own.
• Slippers and socks. Keep your tootsies warm with thick, woollen socks, or knitted ones as suggested by my friend, Candice.
• House orientation. For those who are in the exciting design stages of their family home, the orientation of the home takes into consideration the position of your home in relation to the seasonal variations of the Sun's path and prevailing wind patterns. The site contains helpful information to ensure your home is energy efficient.
• Tea. I was't much of a tea drinker when I was younger but will never pass up the opportunity to gently cradle a steaming hot cup of tea during the autumn and winter months.
• Layers. Think scarves and beanies for outdoor adventures. Tuck singlets into pants (and pants into socks before bed), spare your shorter midriff baring clothes for the warmer months. Sometimes gloves, thick socks and jackets are also required. Try to maintain your warmth from bed to breakfast. If you allow yourself to cool before adding layers, then you may find yourself reaching for the heater or air-conditioner remote sooner and we're trying to avoid overuse of these heaters.
• Wash your clothes in the morning to ensure you make the most of the available warm light to dry your clothes. Clothes dryers are expensive to run. We avoid using one altogether by drying clothes inside on clothes horses on rainy days. Keep the clothes horse by the window or near your internal heat source (but not too close to avoid fire danger).
• The humble oven. I like to bake, especially in the cooler months but why run the oven for one cake? If I play on baking, I try to be organised so that I can bake my cake, then roast my dinner vegetables immediately afterwards to take advantage of the preheated oven. The heat emitted from the oven itself warms our combined kitchen and living areas and who doesn't love the smell of dessert or dinner baking away?
• Lay an extra blanket over your baby's floor mat to keep them warm on the ground as they play.

• If you are clever enough to work out how much electricity you use during daylight hours and you have a home solar system, try to consume as much of your solar power as possible during the daylight hours. Use the oven during the day, set a timer for your washing machine, switch off unused appliances at night. Solar Choice is a useful site to help you to figure out the size of the solar system required to power your home.

Possibly my favourite tip for saving money during the cooler months is by booking your family holiday! Confused yet?

With the money you can save by following these helpful tips, book early bird travel specials and travel during next year's winter. You could avoid heating your house altogether as you splash about in the tropical waters of a pristine island paradise, like we did recently with my younger sister, Crystal.

Please feel free to share this post and your own economical winter heating tips in the comments below.

Bella xx

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