A reader wrote to us asking how she can warm up her rental house:
I live in an older rental house in Canada, where temperatures often reach -35C (-31F!) in the winter. I’m wondering if there are any clever winter-proofing things I can do to decrease my energy consumption and heating bill over the winter — besides the standard heavy duty heat shrink plastic over the windows, which we already do. I tend to be cold all the time to begin with, so packing on a third sweater starts to feel excessive.
I have visions in my head of castle-style wall tapestries in the bedroom to warm the freezing cold wall behind my back. I know there are plenty of solutions out there, but I need something functional, not super ugly, and suitable for rental homes — i.e., not a brand-new heating system combined with better insulation.
Oh, we’ve got you!
I’m from WI, originally, so I feel your gut-wrenching, frozen pain.
I think tapestries would be a beautiful (if expensive) way to go about things. I never used them myself, really, but they really would be lovely.
The window plastic only works so well, and don’t forget to check on them every month (or slightly more often if you like) to see if they couldn’t use another go-round with the hair dryer.
First order of defense: block the gusts from doors and windows
First, You might want to consider getting some insulation board like this. You could paint it or stick nice wallpaper on it to make it look better. You could then prop it up against your existing walls, kind of like modern tapestries.
Other good tips are to make draft blockers out of old tights or socks filled with other socks or newspaper to put in front of doors and windows where drafts creep in. You can even sew or knit them if you’re crafty!
If you’re NOT crafty? you can totally buy stick on drauft blockers,
Finally, really heavy, thick curtains are very good insulation around windows. Have a look in charity shops for old velvet ones. They look great up, really vintage!
Now let’s talk about blankets
I always like a lot of blankets. I seem to feel warmer if there’s a blanket (or six) spread on the couch cushions as well as one (or six) to cover up with.
Get yourself a really good heated blanket – I love this one
The heating blanket under the mattress pad is absolutely crucial to having warm, fuzzy, happy slumber.
What about a cold floor?
Invest in a good pair of slippers, and I mean a really, really good pair like one of these.
I seem to warm up faster and stay warmer longer if I have good, thermal socks (I love my Smartwool socks!)on as well as slippers.
Also, rugs on the floors to ward off icicle toes and help lock in heat… I’ve gotten a few wool rugs on sale at Wayfair and loved them.
And what if you’ve covered all those bases and your house is still cold?
If you have ceiling fans, make sure they turn clock-wise so they suck the cold air up and away from you.
Cook with your oven a lot, and when you’re done, turn the oven off and leave the door open just a smidge in order to let all that lovely heat escape into your surroundings. This is what baking is for. (Plus, cookies and pies and casseroles and comfort food automatically make you warmer, right? Isn’t that like, the law?)
Space heaters, while a bit dangerous and definitely not eco-friendly or energy-consumption-lowering, will do in a pinch, and I had a friend whose mom put one in/near the bathroom. No frosty bums at her house!
Hope you find a cozy way to hibernate this year!
Check the comments for even more ideas….