You know winter's coming, and you usually have plenty of time to take all the necessary precautions. Perhaps you can beef up the insulation and winterize the water pipes. After that, you could seal the windows with weather stripping or even plastic wrap and install thermal or insulating blinds and curtains. This helps keep the cold air out and the warmer air in. What can you do when the weather turns suddenly, or you lose power?
Maybe you've been experiencing a warmer than typical autumn, but then suddenly the air became surprisingly cold. For example, in many U.S. states the temperatures can drop over 50 degrees overnight. Besides maintaining your furnace for efficiency and increasing insulation, there are a few things you can do for short remedies to reduce the drafts, make your home more comfortable, and keep your warmer. Consider using heavy blankets, like mink blankets, to keep the cold weather out and the warm air in.
You Can't Always Count on Electric Space Heaters
You may have one or more space heaters in your home to provide versatility and options. When propane costs are high, using space heaters is often a more efficient option. On particularly cold nights, using space heaters can supplement the heat provided by the furnace. Plus, they can be strategically placed in areas that are a bit drafty or could stand to be a little warmer, such as the bathroom or bedroom, etc.
They're also good for use during emergencies, such as when your furnace unexpectedly breaks down or (if this is the fuel you use) you run out of propane. The first (and hopefully only) time we ran out of propane, it was during a cold spell that occurred overnight when we were traveling in our RV. Unfortunately, it was on a weekend when the service provider was closed. Thankfully, we had our space heater, right? We plugged it in, turned on the switch, and found that it had stopped working entirely. It was after regular business hours and it was cold. Plus, what about times when you lose power due to an ice-storm or other inclement weather?
Fortunately, we had lots of heavy blankets that we used to block some of the drafts, as well as to cover up with. Blankets never break down. They don't use electricity, natural gas, or propane. They may be the perfect heat source. Furthermore, the hold the heat in and allow it to increase over time from body heat.
Adjust the Temperature by Using the Sun and Blankets
Most people know that when the sun is out and the shades are open, the interior of the house can warm exponentially—even in the winter. On cool days that are sunny, just open the shades to let the sun in. Once the interior of the space has heated up, you want to keep the heat in there. There are a couple of ways to do this.
One way to do this is to merely close the blinds. Of course, this is improved upon greatly if the blinds are thermal ones. Regular blinds do little to insulate the windows and although they may help a bit, they still let a lot of the chill back in.
If you don't have insulating window treatments, another option (and a great one in an emergency) is to cover the windows with a couple of strategically placed heavy blankets, which allows less heat to escape through them.
To be even more strategic, hang blankets over the west windows in the morning when the sun is on the eastern side of the home and cover the east windows after noon. This keeps any drafts from entering the windows opposite of the direction facing the sun while allowing the sun to heat from the other. When the sun goes down, cover up everything. This keeps the heat from escaping throughout the night.
Use Rugs and Heavy Blankets as Emergency Insulation
Eliminate drafts from the outside by hanging blankets in front of the doors to the exterior. Then place blankets in the doorways between rooms to create comfortable spaces. This creates a barrier, particularly around the cracks around the edges and at the bottom of the door.
You can further increase the insulating effect by draping quilts or old comforters along the exterior walls in the bedroom. If you do have a space heater, the additional padding around the room helps keep in all the warmth. Even without an emergency, this is a great way to create a cozy space.
Make Insulating "Snakes" from Blankets
Another way to keep cold air from seeping your home is to use insulated “snakes.” These stuffed cloth tubes are usually three to four feet long and are made to block cold air from entering the space under the door. In a pinch, rather than using commercially-made snakes, create a few using blankets. Either twist the blanket or pinch it and wrap a few rubber bands or shoestrings to secure it.
By using multiple "snakes," you can insulate the perimeter of the floor space. Just place them end to end around the edges of the rooms. Anywhere you feel a breeze coming in is a good place for a snake.
Wear Warm Clothes and Supplement with Blankets
Although wearing warm clothes is an obvious choice, many people forget to do it. Rather than adding a layer of clothing, they immediately turn up the thermostat instead. Using heavy blankets, thick socks, and a sweater, among other things, you can reduce how often you run your furnace, turn down the thermostat, and use less fuel. This is an especially important step to take if you are experiencing an emergency in which staying warm is necessary.
Try wearing layers so you can raise and lower your level of warmth as needed by removing and adding articles of clothing during the day. Have a couple pairs of sweats, thick socks, sweaters, and hoodies on hand. Thick tights or long johns under your regular clothes, take up less space in your closet than other options and make a great way to add layers. Sitting under a heavy blanket while watching T.V. or working online, is a great way to add a final layer.
Wear flannel PJs or sweats to bed and consider wearing a housecoat or robe over your nightwear. The longer the design, the more of your body is covered and warmed. By wearing thick sock or warm house shoes, you avoid walking around barefoot. This keeps a barrier or two between your feet and the cold floor, which can often be quite cold. By dressing for the temperature, you can improve your comfort level dramatically even without cranking up the heat.
Use Heavy Blankets to Stay Warm at Night
The right bedding can create a very comfortable night. So, you can sleep soundly, even when the rest of the home is uncomfortably cool.
Start with the right sheets. Although poly-cotton sheets might hold in body heat, slipping between a couple of chilly layers can make anyone dread going to bed. Flannel sheets, on the other hand, are much warmer and sleeping between these layers can result in a much cozier evening. Some people, however, find that sleeping between flannel sheets results in a nocturnal experience that is too hot after only a few hours. A nice set of Jersey sheets made from T-shirt material are soft and warm without being too warm. They may be the perfect compromise between the other two options.
Follow by using the right blankets. This is another situation where layers may be helpful. As your personal temperature requires it, you can add and remove blankets throughout the night. Although some people like to use a bunch of lighter blankets, many prefer to use a couple of heavy blankets. Mink blankets, for example, are super soft, super thick, and very warm. They come in a variety of colors, styles, and designs that allow you to mix and match, as well.
Whether winter has caught you unprepared or you are experiencing an unseasonably or unexpectedly cold day, by making a couple of temporary adjustments you can easily remain in relative comfort. Invest in a high-quality space heater and check it, use it, clean it regularly to make sure that it's still safe and functioning for use in particularly cold periods in which you still have electricity. Use blankets to create barriers at windows, door, and edges to block any drafts or breezes. Harness nature's furnace by allowing the sun to shine in and warm your home for free even if you have no interest in solar energy. Make sure to dress warmly during the day and have plenty of good heavy blankets to wrap up with. By including faux fur, or "mink" blankets in your regular bedding you not only make sure that your sleep is sound, but also that your bedroom is cozy. Collect a variety of snuggly mink blankets to make sure you're always fully prepared for any winter-time event.