How to Keep Warm Without Heating

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How to Keep Warm Without Heating

Emily Gleeson · Dec 13, 2022
Woman keeps warm in her apartment with the help of a cozy blanket, thick socks, and a piping hot cup of tea.

All-inclusive rents are great for people who live in colder climates since they don’t have to budget for higher utility bills when the cold weather hits. But what about those of us that are responsible for fronting the heating bill? Turning up the furnace just a couple degrees can increase your gas usage substantially, and space heaters just eat up more electricity.

If costly utility bills are getting you down lately, don’t worry. Here are 5 simple ways to keep warm without heating:

Seal Up Drafts

The best way to keep warm without heating is to seal any drafts and air leaks around your apartment. Cold air can find its way indoors through many different entry points, some which you might not have thought of.

Exterior doors and windows will be the biggest culprit, especially if they’re older. Use latex caulking to patch holes around trim or expandable foam for larger gaps in the walls. Install exterior door sweeps to prevent cold air from seeping in through the bottom, or put a fabric “snake” against the door while you’re at home.

You should also check for drafts along baseboards and any openings that lead outside. Seal any gaps where plumbing or other pipes come in, and around electrical outlets on exterior walls if you can feel cold air coming through them.

Incorporate Area Rugs and Curtains

Thick area rug provides warmth and insulation to this apartment's hardwood floors.

Uninsulated floors account for approximately 10 percent of a room’s heat loss, so investing in a few area rugs is a great way to keep that warmth in. Older apartments with wooden floors are beautiful, but they tend to be laid without proper subfloors and subsequently develop spaces and cracks over the years.

Area rugs also help warm your feet, which is one of the main areas where your body loses heat. Quality socks can keep you snug during the winter months, but if you like to go barefoot around the house (especially when you sleep), you’ll find that area rugs in your bedroom, hallways, and living room make a huge difference when you’re on the move.

Thermal curtains and any other window coverings are excellent ways to keep the cold out from drafty windows. Plastic window coverings can keep the cold out in older homes with big windows, but they’re cumbersome to apply and cut down the amount of natural light that reaches your interiors – plus landlords may not approve.

Get into a routine where you open your blinds and curtains as soon as you wake up to let in warm sunshine. As dusk approaches, close them up tight to trap heat in and keep drafts out. Sheer curtains won’t cut it here, so consider investing in some thick panels (perhaps ones that compliment your new area rugs!).

Use Heating Accessories

Keep the thermostat (and your utility bills) lower by focusing your heating efforts on a small area in your apartment or around your body instead of the whole unit. For instance, a hot water bottle can be a lovely way to warm yourself up while you’re on the couch with Netflix and snacks. You can find ones that are microwave safe, but even hot water from the tap can be enough to warm you up under some blankets.

Wheat bags use the same idea of thermal heat but are usually filled with beads or grains instead of water. These are also safe to pop in the microwave and have a nice scent to them. Some are even filled with herbs and essential oils for a soothing aromatherapy experience.

Heat lamps and grow lights are used to warm tropical plants during the winter, but they’re also great for warming up a small space. Just remember that these do use up a fair amount of electricity. But if plants make you happy during the dark days of winter, or you’re using them to grow food, then the extra energy use might be worth it.

Wear Warm Clothing

Woman dons thick, warm clothes in her apartment to keep warm without heating.

Thermal socks made from thicker material will keep you warm and wick away any foot moisture. Damp feet aren’t just a problem if you work outside; cheap, thin socks can also create excess moisture, causing you to feel extra cold inside your home. A good pair of ankle-high slippers can also help keep some heat around your feet.

Along with a good pair of socks (or two), you’ll want to invest in a few quality layers you can wear at home. A thin pair of pajamas might feel cozy most times of year, but long underwear are much better at trapping in body heat, and they allow you to wear pants over top. Similarly, you can keep your upper body warm by wearing thermal underwear and undershirts beneath a long-sleeve top shirt. Sweaters that zip are also handy if you want to be able to easily take them off and put them on as your body heat fluctuates.

Your head is another place where you lose a lot of heat, so don’t think twice about wearing a winter hat inside on cold nights. Make it fashion! A cute beanie can really bring the whole winter-attire-at-home look together.

Run Appliances Around the Home

Use the oven more often for cooking and leave the door open after the food is ready. Make soups and low-simmering dishes on the stovetop instead of cold meals. While this isn’t a long-term heating solution, the extra heat and humidity will make you and your apartment feel more comfortable during the coldest months (and give you a reason to try out some new recipes).

Running a warm bath won’t only heat you up, it will also heat up the bathroom. Don’t drain the water at first, either. This is a great way to utilize thermal energy to heat and humidify the room while the water naturally cools. Outside the bathroom, try making some warm tea or hot chocolate, or light candles around your apartment to warm yourself up and create a cozy atmosphere without having to spend a lot of extra money.

Your landlord may help out with the cost of any apartment improvements, so send them an email before any changes are made, and keep all your receipts. They may even send someone to do the job of sealing up gaps and air leaks. Either way, these tips are all cost-effective and easy ways to lower your heating bill. Once you start to create a peaceful, snug winter space, it gets much easier to keep warm without heating.

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