Keep Your Family Comfortable Without Overworking Your Heater
We get it. You and your family want to stay warm in winter. However, the increased use of your heater - whether it's gas or electric - can cause your winter energy bills to increase accordingly.
Thankfully, by learning proper layering techniques for your clothing, you can surround your body with enough warmth to offset a spike in your thermostat and stay just as warm. We've gathered eight tips to stay comfortable and warm on the inside of your home, without relying on a heater.
A Few Considerations Before We Begin
As a Texas resident, I don't have central heat in my home, but I've learned how to keep my two young daughters and myself warm when the chill of winter reaches our area - especially since we usually don't keep a fire going all day long.
But, as anyone who takes care of young children should know, it's especially important to keep their bodies warm. Children’s organs are rapidly growing for the first seven years of life, and at times it can be a struggle to keep a hat or jacket on their active little bodies. By giving them lots of layers, we can ensure they stay warm, even when the mittens are pulled off.
It's also important to remember that cold weather can compromise your immune system. At a time of year when colds, the flu, and other bugs run rampant, keeping everyone warm with layers of clothing can provide resistance to illness.
1) Layer Naturally
Layering with natural fibers is the best way to stay truly warm. Cotton, wool, and silk, are all materials that breathe, but keep in the warmth. You don’t have to be a knitter to enjoy a good wool sweater, either!
Don't have the funds to stock your wardrobe from scratch? Head to your local thrift shop to find lots of gently worn wool sweaters for the whole family. Be sure and check the labels for 100% wool. Avoid polyester and other synthetic materials that might keep you warm, but won’t let your skin breathe.
An undershirt for both adults and children alike is one of the most versatile pieces of clothing in your drawers. Great to wear in the summer, but they are irreplaceable in the winter.
Start with an undershirt to keep your torso warm. For children, this is especially important as it warms and protects the heart, lungs, and other torso organs. Look for brands that are also offering under layers made with merino wool or silk. If you are prone to sweating, wearing wool or silk will wick the moisture away from your skin, so you’re not left feeling clammy.
3) Long Johns
The next layer to consider is long johns. These can fit beneath your pants or skirt, keeping your legs warm and toasty. Look for thermal long johns, a waffle type weave made from cotton, or woolen ones. There are also full-body long johns on the market that cover your entire body with one garment.
4) Thick Socks
Thin socks won’t keep the cold out, and losing heat out of our heads, hands, and feet is the fastest way to catch a chill. Opt for thick socks, some of which are made with sheep's wool, goat's wool, and even possum fur! You can double-layer your socks for added protection, and ditch those open aired shoes this time of year.
Pull out your slippers to wear as your final foot layer, and if it’s time to shop for new ones, opt for some that are lined with real sheepskin.
5) A Mid-Layer
Before you put a sweater or coat on, make sure you have a mid layer between your undershirt and the outer layer. Think of it as the insulation on your body, much like the insulation in our walls that create the buffer between the outside and inside. A warm cotton flannel shirt or a thermal cotton long sleeve shirt is ideal.
6) Hats Indoors
Don’t worry about hat hair! Wear a beanie cap, and keep the heat in your head sealed in. Make sure it’s long enough to wrap around your ears so they stay warm, too.
7) Don’t Forget a Scarf!
I recommend something loosely wrapped around your neck to keep the collarbone and neck area warm. There’s no need to wrap with a thick and wide woolen scarf inside the home.
8) A Good Blanket
If you’re sitting still, then toss a good blanket or quilt on your lap, to trap in the warmth. Break out the heirloom quilts that have been on the tops of your closet or in a chest, and make them a staple around your home this time of year. Cuddling under a quilt not only keeps you warm, it invites time into your day to read and relax!
Do you have any recommendations for layering techniques that help you stay warm in winter without relying too much on the heater? Share with us in the comments!