Thursday, November 5, 2009

Heating tricks (Caution: extremely frugal tips ahead)

Winter time is coming on! If you haven't had a spell of cold weather yet, you probably will soon. Here are some extremely frugal tips to help you through.

Wait until you're ready to relax to put something in to bake. Heat from the oven will help heat your house and you, while you're not moving around.

While you're baking, put several stones in the oven to heat up, too. When they're hot, remove them (remember, they'll be hot) and put them in a heat resistant container where they can help heat a room. You'll be surprised how much radiant heat you can get from them.

Not baking? Stones or other solid objects soak in heat from the sun, so if you use them wisely, you can use this stored heat to raise temperatures somewhat. Put stones, cast iron or other solid objects where they will be in direct sunlight. When they get very warm, put them in your cold room or area and they will slowly radiate stored heat. The more you use, the more heat will be radiated.

Water will hold and radiate heat, too. Put barrels or other containers (metal or glass) of water in windows where they will be heated by the sun until you draw the curtains - then it will radiate its stored heat.

Don't run hot water down the drain. Let it set, even in a glass or cup, until it's radiated all of its heat into the room.

To warm yourself or family members, sun or oven heated stones (wrap in cloth if they're too hot), and bottles, jugs or cans of hot water, capped tightly, make great foot or hand warmers.

Use passive solar heating as much as possible, by opening windows to the sunlight - but close them as soon as the sun goes down or behind clouds.

Keep windows on the north covered with drapes, thermal blinds, or - new idea - bubble wrap.

Take advantage of small things, like heat from candles. Group several together in an area that doesn't get a lot of air flow and the area will be warmer.

Place lamps as low as you can, so heat from lightbulbs warm the air closest to you first instead going straight to the ceiling.

There are other ways to stay warm than turning up the thermostat.


  1. If one is willing to make an investment in stones to heat, soapstone is well noted for it's heat retention ability. Our wood heater is soapstone and it will remain warm to touch hours after the fire has gone out.

  2. warming, frugal tip, but not as frugal as yours! LOL.
    I have bad arthritis. I feel the cold and damp, even before it hits here. My upper back and shoulder seem to always feel a breeze on them. My new to me way of helping myself is polar fleece ( or any heavier fleecey fabric).
    I have gotten 3 perfect vests with zippers ( although I don't always zipp them up) for 1 Dollar each over the past couple of month at local thrift shops. My friend put me onto the idea of using the vest in the house to keep my upper back and shoulder warmer. I have worn sweaters for years, but these keep me warmer. If I'm still cold I can put a long sleved sweater on under it, even a cardigan over that. Normally on a cold day I wear my summer T shirt, a lightweight sweater and then my vest. This gives me room to move my arms freely, and keeps me warm. Slip on a jacket and I'm ready to head out, still nice and warm.
    My friend started looking for vest and buying them a couple of years ago, now she buys lighter weight jackets for warmer winter days, as the vests really do make a big difference.
    Many seniors like me need more warmth than younger people, so this way we are all warm and comfortable.
    If just one person can use this tip it will be well worth it.

  3. Good ideas! Also, when I run the dishwasher, I open the door when the cycle's finished so the steam and heat can vent into the kitchen.
    When I lived in a neighborhood with frequent power outages, I learned to keep a pot of water simmering on the stove when the power (and the furnace) went out ... it raised the temperatures by a couple of degrees. (a pot of soup would do the same thing)

  4. Good ideas from you, too, DW, thanks!

  5. I like these ideas, thankyou. I cannot do the stone one though, because I don't use my oven, it uses too much gas. I do all my cooking on the top ring or grill, or microwave. Ilona

  6. Meanqueen, if you put the entire meal in the oven, you may save gas over heating more than one burner.

    Anyway, I'm glad you liked the other tips. Every little bit helps!

  7. Great ideas Pat!

    We use an old buggy stone to keep the foot of the bed warm at night. It is made of soap stone w/a wire bail for a handle. We heat it on the woodstove, wrap it in a towel, and tuck it into the bed. It stays warm for 24 hours!

    We also use a collection of large round rocks, heated on top of the woodstove and placed in a metal bucket, to keep the chicken house warm on really cold nights.

  8. Great idea for the chickens, Bette! And I bet that piece of soapstone is wonderful on a cold winter night.

  9. Interesting post... I can see that you put a lot of hard work on your blog. I'm sure I'd visit here more often.
    from Magic Tricks.

  10. Some smart ideas. I love the idea about getting as much from the oven as possible when it does need to be turned on and used. I do use my toaster oven a lot and have certain pans that I can fit an entire casserole in.
    I live in CT in the woods and we use a wood stove to heat our house. This fall I decided to start doing my dishes in the 2 lobster pots on top of the stove that have heated water in them. One had dish washing soap in it, the other just plain water. I also dry clothes at night in that room that is very warm. Trying to save on not using the dryer as much also. I get a lot of bang for the buck from that wood we cut down when a couple of trees get felled.

  11. I envy you your wood heat, Zoe. I can't use one where I am now, but have used them more often than not. Good thinking on your part, you can certainly do a lot more than just heat a house with one!

  12. What fabulous ideas Pat!

    I have been through two very cold winters without my gas heating.

    Thankfully my kitchen is adjacent to the living room so I can make full use of heat from the oven. I love the idea of warming rocks ... I have access to some suitable bricks so may use those stacked into and old freestanding fire grate or tin bucket.

    I am inspired to find some soapstone too!!

    I also have door curtains covering every door to help minimise draughts.

    I tend to go to bed early in the winter. Nice and snug in there! I can read, watch movies or catch up on sleep :)

    I have a polar fleece poncho that I wear around the house, I prefer this to a coat or dressing gown. It's easy to wear two or even three of these if needs be.

    I also like to use wheat packs for my shoulders and arthritic knees when working for any length of time at my desk. Works a treat. I doubt I'll be replacing the gas heater any time soon.

    When I do, I'm considering replacing it with a combustion stove ... more multi purpose!