"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
December 3, 2014
When Heating Costs Have You Running for Cover
by Carolyn Nicolaysen

Due to a stagnant economy, saving money, without sacrificing your comfort, has become a goal of many of us.

Winter is here and that means cranking up the heat — or does it? Begin incorporating these tips into your daily life now and when that winter power failure comes you will be well on your way to staying comfortable and healthy.

  1. Layer Clothing. We all know this, right? Layering is not as simple as you may think. Begin by wearing a long-sleeve, loose-fitting shirt. Next add another layer — again it should be loose fitting.

    As air becomes trapped between layers; it will act as an insulator and keep you warmer than several layers of tight clothing. If you begin to overheat, remove the top layer as sweating will eventually make you colder as your clothing is wet.

  2. Wear Socks. Have you noticed that simply putting on socks quickly warms you? If you will be going outside and it is raining or snowing, wool socks are the best choice as they will retain heat even when wet.

    If you are cold while sleeping, try putting on socks first and you may not need that extra layer of blankets, which can get heavy and prevent a restful sleep.

  3. Sleep Warm. Switch to flannel sheets and add a down comforter.

  4. Cover Your Head. Much like your feet, heat escapes through your head. Even when in the house, especially if the power is out, wear a scarf or hat over your head.

  5. Break Out the Blankets. It’s time to place lap blankets or other larger blankets in every room where you may be sitting. A lap quilt is great to place over your lap or around your shoulders when working in an office or working on crafts. Be sure blankets are long enough to cover your feet and your chest if you are watching TV or reading.

  6. Rice and Beans. We could learn so much from our forefathers if we would just pay a little bit of attention. Bed warmers used to be a staple in every home. Hot coals were placed in them and they were then placed under a blanket in a bed to help keep sleepers warm during the night.

    I don’t suggest that, but making a rice pack is simple and inexpensive. Rice packs have so many uses for relieving pain but they are also perfect for heating and placing in your bed while sleeping or on your feet when watching your favorite TV show.

    Cloth bags can also be filled with small dried beans to accomplish the same goal. Beans are not as comfortable to use as heating pads so if you are using them to soothe aches and pains, use rice.

  7. Time to Bake. Plan foods for dinner that use the oven, and when you are finished leave the oven door open as it cools. Do not do this if you have children in the house.

  8. Break Out the Crock Pot. Now is the time to use the crock pot that has been collecting dust. Place crock-pot in the room in which you are working. If you will be spending most of the day in the office, place the crock pot there. It will smell great and help to heat the room.

  9. Eat Hot. Raise your temperature by consuming hot meals when the temperature goes down. Before the kids leave for the day serve a hot breakfast or add a hot drink to the breakfast menu.

  10. Open Your Curtains or Blinds. Open window coverings on windows where the sun shines in during the day. Leave window coverings closed on windows that do not receive direct sunlight.

  11. Close Curtains and Blinds. Just as with driving laws, do not wait until dark. You turn on your headlight a half hour before sunset; do the same with your windows. If the sun goes down at 5 o’clock, close your window covering at 4.

  12. Cover Bathroom Windows. We often ignore bathroom windows because they are tinted or otherwise treated so they provide privacy. Privacy is great but it doesn’t keep you warm.

  13. Move Furniture. Even windows that are draped will be colder than walls without windows. If you have your sofa or bed under a window, move them to an inside wall for the winter months.

  14. Keep Doors Shut. Keep all the doors in your home shut to warm rooms and not hallways. This is especially effective in keeping bathrooms warm.

    Closing the door to an office or other room where a computer is being used is also a very effective way to warm that room. Computers generate more heat than you think.

  15. Hang Curtains. We have already talked about windows, but do you remember how homes in the early part of the twentieth century had rods and heavy drapes in doorways? Why did we stop doing that when it makes so much sense to keep the warmth in a room?

    If you don’t want to do this now, determine what you will need to have on hand to do this when the power fails. Don’t heat the hallways.

  16. Increase Humidity. If you have ever lived in an area with high humidity, you know increased humidity makes the temperature feel even hotter. Use a vaporizer or place a pot of water on the stove or wood stove.

  17. Move. Clean the house, exercise, run up and down the stairs. When watching TV or working in the office as you feel chilled get up and walk around the house or do a few jumping jacks. You will be surprised how quickly you will feel warmer.

  18. Stop Drafts. Place weather stripping around doors and windows. If you can see light around the door, you need weather stripping. If you can feel a breeze around windows, you need weather stripping.

  19. Reverse Ceiling Fans. I truly don’t know how anyone lives without ceiling fans. It frustrates me when home shows remove ceiling fans to replace them with glitzy chandeliers. Reversing the direction of the blades during the winter allows hot air, which rises, to be pushed back down, helping to heat your rooms.

  20. Cover Tile Floors. Tile will retain the cold as your home cools down overnight. Placing an inexpensive rug over the tile helps stop the cold from escaping the tile and carpet feels warmer on your feet. One step on a tile floor and you are instantly chilled.

  21. Shut Fireplace Flue. Naturally you will want the flue open when building a fire, but when the fireplace is not in use, be sure to close the flue.

  22. Speaking of Fires, Use Your Fireplace(s). Even a small fire will make a huge difference in the temperature in a room, and beyond. Firewood may seem expensive, but in most cases it is cheaper than running the furnace enough to get the same result.

  23. Add Insulation. Add Insulation in your attic, outside walls and attached garage ceiling. If you cannot afford commercial insulation, old blankets, newspaper, and scraps of plywood placed over them work well to retain heat.

  24. Use Space Heaters. If you will be spending most of the day in one or two rooms or if you just need to heat the bathroom at night, try a space heater. They use much less energy than a furnace.

  25. Break out a Tent. Set up a tent in the family room or playroom for the kids to play in. They will love it and they will keep warm as their body heat is contained. During a power outage set up the biggest tent and use it for playing games, reading and eating.

Now that you have practiced ways to keep warm, we will examine what steps you should take when the power fails completely. Don’t miss my next article!

Be sure to visit Carolyn’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TotallyReady. Like and share her page so your friends and family will be “Totally Ready for Whatever comes”

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About Carolyn Nicolaysen

Carolyn Nicolaysen grew up in New Jersey and joined the Church while attending Central College in Pella, Iowa. With a degree in Home Economics, she later worked as a high school teacher, and served as an elected trustee of her local school board. Carolyn has taught personal and family preparedness to all who will listen. Having lived in areas that were threatened by winter storms, hurricanes and tornadoes, and now living in an earthquake prone area, she has developed a passion for preparedness. Carolyn started her own business, TotallyReady, when she saw the need for higher quality emergency information that could truly sustain families in a disaster.

Carolyn is FEMA trained and is an Amateur Radio first responder. She serves as Relief Society president of her California ward.

Carolyn is the author of three ebooks, Mother Hubbard, What She's Doing Now (food storage for the 21st century), Prep Not Panic (preparing for a pandemic of medical emergency) and That Won't Happen to Me (a discussion of disaster preparations). She has also authored a glove box book, Totally Ready for the Road and writes a monthly newsletter and the Totally Ready facebook page.

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