We all want to be cozy when we’re at home, but we don’t necessarily want a massive power bill to go with our toasty warm toes! Blogger Bruce from Big Family Little Income shares some top tips to keeping warm without boosting your bill.
For 15 years, the first hint winter of on our doorstep always results in a quiet uttering by my wife. “I hate this house,” she’ll say. Of course, she says it with less fire in her belly these days, because I’ve spent our entire marriage trying to make the house warmer.
Now we live in Queensland, so you people in the southern states are probably rolling your eyes and nudging your partner and saying something along the lines of, “that’s not cold. THIS is cold.” But, remember for a second that our house isn’t built for winter.
Actually, it’s not built for summer either. Our house is definitely more an autumn/spring sort of structure.
Let’s be clear – this house is COLD in winter. How cold?
“EiiiiieeeEEEEeeeeiiii – what was THAT!?!,” I’ll yelp from my side of the bed come July or August.
“My feet,” my shivering wife will say – also from my side of the bed – and then demand I lie still so she can continue to warm her feet on mine.
But we’ve made some progress, these last 10 or 15 years, in making our house more comfortable in the chilly season.
5 tips to keep cozy this winter
Here are our five most successful tips:
Forget your oil heater or your reverse cycle air conditioner; this is my favourite way to warm up. Winter is the season for hugging and loving, so curl up on the couch under a blanket with the kids or your partner. Put on a good movie, make everyone a hot chocolate and let body heat do the rest. Guarantee it’ll warm your heart as well.
2. Sort out your underlay
Our home is on a hill and in the dead of winter the wind comes up under the house and tickles our toes. Not literally, but we know it wants to. The last time we re-carpeted was in winter. We took the old carpet out and got the underlay up with a couple of paint scrapers and then spent a week shivering as we waited for the carpet-layers. Meanwhile, the wind came up unhindered through the floorboards and cold took on a new meaning that year. This resulted in us rushing down to the carpet place and paying extra for thicker, more wonderful underlay. Then we put insulation in the ceiling. Because c-c-cold sucks.
3. Fill in the gaps
We have gapped up everything. For example, the tongue and groove made a HUGE difference. It took ages and my finger had blisters and we had to repaint, but the house suddenly felt cosy. And then, last year, Tracey took to the door and windows with seals to stop the last of the drafts getting in. I mean, when everything’s shut up you shouldn’t be able to feel the hairs on your arms moving in the lounge room while you’re watching telly.
4. Layer up
Layers are for houses, beds and for individuals. Like those heat saving layers (carpet underlay and ceiling insulation) for our house, we don’t skimp on the underlay for the beds and things like singlets for the kids. We love our doonas, flannels and blankets. If there’s anything more comforting in winter than the weight of a well made bed on top of you, and sheepskin under you, then I’m yet to discover it. Best of all, the big ticket items are pretty much a one off expense which last for years.
5. Grab a onsie!
I know they look stupid. I don’t care.
Winter should be about stews, hugs and a lot less mowing. Nice things. Not shivering or high electricity bills. Fill those gaps, invest in the right linen and gift your partner bed socks.
You might even start to look forward to this time of year. I know I do now.
Written by Bruce Devereaux
Bruce writes about his family’s antics on his Big Family Little Income blog and assures everyone who’ll listen he’s one of the nicest people he knows. He is a forty-seven year old father of seven children, all of whom provide him with endless amusement and frustration, frequently at the same time. His favourite flower is self-raising. Ditto children.
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