For preppers, winter brings the added responsibility of figuring out how to heat the home.
Whether you’re looking for tips to survive a crisis or just want to lower your energy bill, this article gives you some practical ways to make it through winter.
Seal Off Unimportant Rooms
The bigger the area, the harder it is to keep it warm. That’s why you can save a lot of energy by limiting the area you’re trying to keep warm to just your immediate living space.
You probably have a room or two that are rarely, if ever, used. Close the vents in those rooms, close the door, and then put a towel at the base of the door. Once you stop heating it, more heat will flow to the rooms that really matter.
Work Your Fireplace for All It’s Worth
This one’s obvious, but I’ll give you a few worthwhile tips.
If you have a fireplace in your home, you have a big advantage when it comes to staying warm in a wintertime crisis. Hopefully, your stash of firewood will last long enough. But if you run out and it’s truly an emergency, start burning inexpensive wood items from around the house.
Be careful not to burn any synthetic materials like foam or plastic because they release toxic fumes.
If you’re out of wood and can’t use the fireplace anymore, it’s time to seal it up to prevent warm air from escaping. Most fireplaces have a damper that helps with this, but it can help to totally block the entrance.
Plug the Gap Underneath Your Doors
Doors aren’t always sealed very well and have a small gap at the bottom of the door. You might not even be able to see this gap, but it’s there and it’s letting warm air escape.
The quick and easy way to fix this is to place a towel at the base of the door. This will plug the gap and keep your house nice and warm.
Insulate Your Windows on the Cheap
The biggest loss of heat in a house comes from the windows. You don’t need expensive insulated windows to stop the heat from escaping if you don’t mind getting creative.
You can buy do-it-yourself window insulation kits that come with plastic sheets and double-sided tape. They’re cheap and effective. You can also get the same effect with regular plastic wrap and tape, which will cost you next to nothing.
Insulate Hard Floors with Blankets
If you have a hard floor like wood, laminate, or tile, you’re letting a lot of heat go to waste through your floor. Carpet doesn’t have this problem because it’s not solid and retains heat better.
A quick fix for this is to cover up the hard floor with rugs, towels, and blankets. Plus, it feels warmer on your feet and is more comfortable to walk around on.
Stock Some Hand Warmers
A lot of times when we think we’re cold and need to turn the heat up, it’s actually just our fingers or toes that are cold.
Fingers and toes are the first parts of our body to get cold. Our bodies consider them “expendable” and redirect the blood flow to more important things like organs when it gets cold.
Instead of turning the heat up just to keep your fingers and toes warm, use hand warmers instead, preferably electric hand warmers which will last longer and there’s no recurring cost of replacement.
Dress Warm and Turn the Heat Down
If you use propane to heat your home, you’ll want to save as much of it as possible. You can save energy on heating by turning it down and dressing warmer instead. Wear thermal underwear to keep your legs warm, a wool sweater, and most importantly a hat because a lot of body heat escapes through the head.
Your head is the only thing exposed when in bed at night, so wearing a hat to bed will keep you warm and allow you to turn the heat down even more at night.
Open Blinds During the Day
You can use the power of the sun to help heat your home during the daytime. Instead of keeping your curtains closed all the time, open them during the day. Even during winter, the sun provides a significant amount of heat.
You might be giving up some privacy, but the extra few degrees of warmth will be worth it.
Warm Up with a Hot Drink
Drinking a hot beverage will raise your body temperature. Tea, coffee, and hot chocolate are all good choices and feel great on a cold winter day.
You should avoid drinking alcohol when it’s cold. The reason you feel warmer after drinking alcohol is because it brings blood to the surface of the skin. But this is superficial, and it actually lowers your core body temperature…not good!
Blast Yourself with Cold Water Before Getting Out of the Shower
No, I’m not pulling your leg. Briefly standing under cold water will actually make you warmer…in the long run.
The reason this works is because the cold water increases your circulation and promotes healthy blood flow. You should still end your shower with hot water so you aren’t freezing when you step out, though.
Make Your Own “Portable Heaters” Out of Rocks
Rocks can be used to make homemade portable heaters if you have a fireplace. Keep a pile of rocks nearby your fireplace for easy access.
Put the rocks in the fireplace until they’re nice and hot, then remove them and put them on something that won’t catch fire, such as a baking sheet.
Keep the rocks near you and they’ll act like primitive heaters. The gentle heat from these rocks feels really nice on a cold day.
Put them in the fireplace again when they get cold and repeat the process.
A word of caution: Don’t use rocks that have been submerged in water for a long time such as those from rivers, ponds, or lakes. These types of rocks might still have moisture trapped inside them, which could expand and explode when heated in the fireplace.
Try This Weird Ceiling Fan Trick
The blades on ceiling fans are tilted, which makes them push air in one direction. If you reverse your fan it will push air the other way.
Why is this important? Because heat rises and then escapes through the roof. Reversing the ceiling fan will push that hot air back down and keep your house warmer.
Stop Blocking Vents with Furniture
If you have the heat on high but still feel like it’s cold inside, it might not be an insulation problem. Sometimes, the problem is as simple as something blocking airflow to a vent.
If you have furniture in front of or on top of a vent, you should move it to the side so hot air can circulate through the house better.
I know vents can be ugly and it’s tempting to cover them up, but you can worry about aesthetics after the wintertime crisis has passed. And you can put the money you saved on your energy bill towards something important, like your own bug-out location.