In case you haven’t noticed, and perhaps due to an exceptionally long summer full of humid days that feels as though it will render Autumn moot, Winter isn’t that far off. Those days of harried holiday shopping, frantically cooking enormous meals for relatives and dressing as your favourite sexy version of a fictional character are less than a month away, and with that time, the weather will start to change drastically. Particularly if you’re living in the Northeast, where the whether can drop to negative 30 degrees celcius on the worst days – a temperature that, had you known it existed, you never would have considered living there.
With the cold comes the necessity of a good furnace or a heating system. And with a heater comes exorbitant electricity bills. Unless you’re financially comfortable, using the heater in your home is always an act that takes some deliberation. “How much cold can I stand?” you start to ask yourself. “What are the first signs of frostbite?” You worry. Particularly if you’re a student living in a small apartment, affording a heating bill every two months or so is a calculated risk.
Here are seven ways on how to stay warm in a cold room. These methods can circumvent the vent or space heater, saving you a bundle while still managing to keep warm.
1. Use Your Windows and Blinds
Ideally, you want your windows shut tight. This is self explanatory, but using your blinds to let in the natural light of a winter day can also increase the temperature. You want as much sunlight as you can get, so before leaving for work or school in the morning, open them wide to let in a natural brightness. When you return home at night, immediately close all blinds to preserve whatever heat built up over the course of the day.
2. Layers Are Your Friend
Everyone up North has a decent collection of sweaters and long sleeve clothing. Rather than turn on a heater, layer up with as many as feel comfortable. Softer clothes such as hoodies and sweatpants are the best for layered comfort.
Otherwise, using fabrics that don’t breathe such as polyester or rayon come in especially handy. In fact, cold days are probably the only time such clothing feels comfortable, as the lack of air in the summer turns them into skin tight steam baths.
3. Put a Hot Water Bottle in Your Bed/Sofa
One of the most shocking moments of a cold day is when you collapse on your matress, only to feel like you’ve landed in a pile of snow. Your bed will naturally adjust along with your body heat, but the minutes in between discomfort and relative ease are intolerable.
Filling a water bottle with steaming water, especially one designed for microwave use, is a great way to avoid the most freeezing matress. Leaving in the centre of your bed for 15 minutes will spread the heat across the surface, letting you rest easier faster.
Hot water bottles are fairly inexpensive, too, usually running you only 15 dollars at your local pharmacy. If you can’t afford a heating system, they are affordable alternative ways on how to stay warm in a cold room.
4. Plug Up Your Windows With Spare Blankets
Some apartments and houses don’t have high quality insulation, or the windows have deteriorated, letting in drafts. While drafts may sound like minor annoyances, they can actually be quite debilitating. Cool air blowing constantly on the same spot on the back can make walking difficult.
This is why it’s ideal to use blankets to plug up any visible breaks in windows panes, which are great ways on how to stay warm in a cold room. Spare rags work just as well if you know precisely where the draft is, but blankets are the best all purpose solution while waiting for a more permanent fix.
5. Cold? Have a Party
Body heat isn’t just a movie with William Hurt. There’s a reason so many films set in icy tundras feature scenes in which characters hold each other closely; it actually works. Filling a cold room with friends and family isn’t just fun, but their natural temperatures will help warm things up. Even pets can help make things warmer.
A good rule of thumb is the smaller the room, the more people and more physical activity will be the best way to keep warm and probably have a good time.
6. Blow Dry Your Bed
For those of you without the pleasure of the hot water bottle, lightly blowing a blow dryer over the surface of your bed will have the same effect. After going over the surface, reach under the blanket and fill the space between matress and cover with a blast of hot air. Just be sure not to let the medal parts of the dryer make contact with any of the fabric unless you want your room really warm.
7. Make the Most of Your Radiator
Ineveitably, there will come a time during which you just can’t take it anymore and you’re willing to turn on the heat, bills be damned. The strategy is to ensure that your radiator is exerting all the heat it can without obstruction. Ensure that it’s not blocked by furniture. Older buildings often intentionally hide radiators behind bed and couches. If necessary, move them temporarily.
Putting a large sheet of tinfoil behind the radiator will focus the heat away from the wall and directly at you. This may be your last resort given the cost, but if you’re going to do it, you may as well get the most out of it.