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Depending on where you live, winter can be tough. I’ve never been much of a fan of cold weather, though I still don’t mind the occasional fun day of sled riding, cross country skiing, or just cozying up inside while the snow falls. I live in Central Pennsylvania, and recent winters have been uncharacteristically mild the past several years. This year, however, we are experiencing the coldest weather we’ve had in a long time, which has been a major challenge for us, especially since I raise backyard birds as pets. Whether you like the season or not, these 25 Cold Weather Hacks will help you stay warm and safe and save money this winter. Also, be sure to check out 12 Genius Cold Weather Clothing Hacks to Keep You Warm This Winter for more helpful tips!
Cold Weather Hacks You Need to Try This Winter
Sure, it can get annoying having to constantly bundle up all winter – even at home – but if you put on another layer of clothing instead of turning up the heat, you can save yourself some serious money on heating costs, which are high enough this time of year. When I’m at home in the colder months, I’m usually wearing a hoodie and socks and cuddled under a nice, warm blanket and some dogs and cats if I’m lounging or watching TV. For more easy ways to save money in the winter and all year long, check out 25 Money Hacks That Will Save You Money + Simplify Your Life.
CLEAN YOUR DRYER VENT
Now that cold weather has set in, you may be using your dryer more often if you normally like to hang your laundry outside. To prevent fires and increase your dryer’s energy efficiency, make sure to regularly and thoroughly clean the vent that goes from your dryer to outside. This is a leading cause of house fires.
TRICK A LOCKED THERMOSTAT
It’s one thing to try to keep heating costs low, but some people take it too far – like unscrupulous landlords and office managers. If your apartment or office building is freezing and you have no control over the thermostat, you’ll need to try to trick the device if you want to get warm. Make the thermostat think the room is colder than it is by placing ice, cold packs, or a fan near it.
TURN YOUR CEILING FAN ON CLOCKWISE
In the summer, you want to run your ceiling fans counterclockwise for cooling, but winter is a different story. Warm air rises to the ceiling leaving you cold down below. Turn your ceiling fan on low in the clockwise direction to send cool air up toward the ceiling and warm air back down to you. This article states you can save up 15% on heating costs with this method.
INSULATE YOUR WINDOWS
There are a couple ways you can insulate your windows for winter:
- Buy a Window Insulator Kit to cover your windows with a clear plastic film. These kits are super easy to install and remove in the spring. Just make sure you have a hair dryer to smooth out wrinkles for a transparent view.
- Replace thin curtains with heavier ones. I recommend buying Thermal Insulated Curtains. I have them in my living room, and they do a wonderful job of blocking the cold air. When I bought mine, I couldn’t find any particularly stylish insulating curtains, so I bought some in a nice green color and put my pretty sheers in front of them, which looks great.
- Use a draft stopper at the base of drafty windows. To make your own, check out 10 DIY Draft Stoppers to Warm Your Home in Style.
BLOCK DRAFTS UNDER DOORS
Stopping drafts is a necessity to keep you warm and save on your heating bill this winter. If you own your home, you’ll probably want to permanently fix any drafts under doors with some weatherstripping, but if you rent or are low on funds, you can use draft blockers to block drafts under doors (and windows, too). This super cheap DIY draft blocker is made from foam pipe insulator, which you can easily get from your local hardware or big box store. One 2-inch by 6 foot long piece can insulate two doors. While it’s not very pretty, it does an efficient job of blocking drafts on doors and moves with the door when in use. For more attractive options, check out 10 DIY Draft Stoppers to Warm Your Home in Style.
COVER BARE FLOORS WITH RUGS
Your home loses heat through the floor, especially uncovered floors like hardwood, tile, and laminate. To prevent this, cover bare floors with lots of cozy throw rugs that also feel better under cold feet.
COOK + BAKE ALL DAY
Cooking and baking can seriously heat up a home. Prep your meals for the week on the weekend when you’ll be home all day to get the house all warm and toasty. Make a roast or soup that has to cook for hours. Bake some goodies, and invite some friends over – with their body heat – to eat the spoils. If the oven and stove are hard at work, all that heat will radiate throughout your home. Plus, as long as you’re cooking, you’ll stay active, keeping you even warmer.
OVEN HEATING HACK
When you’re done baking, turn the oven off and open the oven door to distribute extra heat into your home. Just make sure no children or pets can burn themselves on the oven before it cools. DO NOT use your oven as a regular heat source – this can be dangerous.
SHOWER TO WARM YOUR HOME
Plug your drain while you shower to let the warm water collect in your bath tub. Then, don’t drain the tub until the water returns to room temperature. This method will help warm your home and add some much-needed humidity to the air.
PUT SOCKS ON YOUR WINDSHIELD WIPERS
Icy windshield wipers are the worst! You can’t just pull the ice off the wipers because you might take pieces of the wiper off with it, and damaged wipers can damage your windshield resulting in costly repairs. To prevent this, simply cover your wipers with some old socks to make cleaning off your car in bad winter weather a breeze.
From Twitter: @DetailPlus_Auto
COVER SIDE MIRRORS
If you don’t have heated side mirrors, cover your car’s side mirrors with plastic bags secured with rubber bands or clothespins. Before using your car, remove the bags for ice free mirrors!
COVER YOUR CAR
If you live in an area with harsh winters, you may want to invest in a Waterproof Car Cover. When a storm is in the forecast, cover your car with your car cover – you can also use a bed sheet, tarp, or plastic sheeting – so you can just remove the covering when the storm is over for an instantly clean car! This video shows how well this method works.
KEEP YOUR CAR WINDOWS FROM FOGGING UP
There are a couple methods to prevent your car windows from fogging.
- Put clay kitty litter in a sock, and place it on the dashboard. The cat litter will absorb excess moisture inside your car.
- Don’t leave any liquids – water bottles, other drinks, etc. – in your car overnight. This moisture can cause frost on the inside of your windows, which is a pain to clean off.
- Use your car’s AC – it’s the best defogger around because it takes humidity out of the air.
- If you windshield fogs up while you’re driving, point your vents to the windshield (the defogger) and set the heat directly in the middle. This often works better than putting strictly hot or cold air on your windshield.
USE A LIGHTER TO THAW A FROZEN LOCK
Heat your key with a lighter or match, then gently insert the warmed key to thaw a frozen lock. You can also apply a few drops of hand sanitizer or the DIY De-Icer below to your key before inserting into the lock.
Instead of purchasing de-icer, which may contain dangerous chemicals, make your own. In a spray bottle, mix rubbing alcohol and water in a 2:1 ratio, and spray on car windows to help melt ice faster. Never use rubbing alcohol full strength – may damage your car’s paint finish. When temperatures are just below freezing, use a 50-50 mix of alcohol and water, and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. This mixture works better than just alcohol and water when temperatures are less extreme.
I use RainX All Season Windshield Washer Fluid all year long. In the winter, it quickly melts light frost without refreezing (thick ice still requires the ice scraper), in summer, it keeps the bugs off, and rain runs right off while I’m driving, greatly increasing my visibility. I’ve used this fluid for years now and won’t go back to regular washer fluid.
EMERGENCY KITS FOR HOME + CAR
Prepare emergency kits like this one for your home and car to protect you, your family, and your pets in emergencies this winter. Your home kit should contain flashlights, a battery powered or wind-up radio, a wind-up clock, a portable cell phone charger, some food that stores well and requires no cooking (and a can opener if this food is canned), lots of fresh drinking water, plenty of blankets, and fresh batteries. Having these supplies on hand will ensure you can weather a storm safely without having to venture out.
For the car kit, you should have the items listed above, plus an extra layer of winter clothes for everyone who might be traveling with you, warm and waterproof winter boots in case you have to walk in the snow, jumper cables, and some road flares to warn of traffic hazards and help rescue teams find you.
PRO TIP: If you’re worried about having enough water in your home or car in case of emergencies, consider keeping a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness on hand to purify water for safe drinking. It could save your life.
USE THE SUN FOR WARMTH
On those special winter days when the sun is out, use its energy to your advantage. If you can, park your car in the sun facing east. The sun’s warm rays will melt snow and ice on your car, doing most (if not all) of the work for you. You can also open your curtains on sunny days to let the sun shine through your windows to help warm your home.
CLOSE BLINDS + CURTAINS AT NIGHT
Once the sun goes down, it’s pretty pointless to keep your blinds and curtains open in the wintertime. Close your blinds and curtains at night and anytime the sun isn’t shining through the windows to keep heat from escaping out the windows.
CLOSE VENTS IN ROOMS THAT AREN’T USED REGULARLY
To heat your home more efficiently and save on heating costs, close vents in rooms you don’t use. Be careful not to close too many vents, though, because doing so will make your furnace work harder to circulate air. Also, make sure your vents are free from obstructions to increase air flow and reduce fire hazards.
USE COOKING SPRAY ON YOUR SNOW SHOVEL
Spray your snow shovel with cooking spray to prevent snow from sticking and make snow removal so much easier.
STOCK UP ON HAND WARMERS
Sometimes, no matter how much you bundle up or stay inside this winter, you still need some extra help to stay warm when it’s really cold outside. HotHands Hand & Toe Warmers are a wonderful way to keep your hands and feet warm when warm clothes just aren’t enough.
BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Winter is usually the worst time for colds, flus, and other illnesses. Keep your immune system strong by adhering to the following healthy living strategies: eat a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, limit junk food and sweets, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, get enough sleep, minimize stress, don’t smoke, drink alcohol in moderation, and take steps to avoid infection, such as washing hands regularly and cooking meats thoroughly. Also, be sure to consume immune boosting foods like garlic, ginger, citrus fruits (Vitamin C), and turmeric.
Staying active isn’t just a great way to boost your immune system to stay healthy, it can also help you stay warm and ward off the winter blues. When you’re at home, try to stay moving as much as you can – wash the dishes, tidy and clean the house, work out – all of these activities can keep you warm, reduce the need to turn up the thermostat, and keep you happy and fit.
Getting through winter isn’t always easy, but these Cold Weather Hacks will definitely make it more bearable.
I would love to hear from you!
What do you think of this list of Easy Cold Weather Hacks? Do you think you’ll give them a try? Did I miss any great tips? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!