Winter is fast approaching, and that means chilly, dark mornings and cold, long evenings will soon be our reality – not to mention the impact that increased load shedding will have.
Granted, South African winters are mild compared to many other parts of the world, but that does not mean we do not find the lower temperatures difficult to contend with.
In addition to the rolling blackouts taking away our power sources for heating appliances in our homes, and warm food and drink, the financial struggle many are facing has forced us to cut down on our electricity usage.
This does not mean we have to suffer in both the cold and dark this winter though. Here are some clever ways to keep your family and home warm this winter:
1. Block any cracks or crevices in your home
Spaces underneath your doors and gaps around your windows may appear to only let in a little cold air, but it is enough to bring a definite chill into your home.
If you are able to, fix any windows that do not close properly, before the temperatures drop further. For all other cracks or crevices, you can use towels or other thick materials to block any drafts, and then secure them with tape. You can use draft stoppers on the bottom of your doors.
2. Insulate your windows
Did you know that you can help keep cold air out by insulating your windows with bubble wrap or plastic wrapping? All you need to do is cut the wrapping to the size of the window, secure it to the window with sticky tape, and then use a hair dryer to melt the plastic to the sticky tape.
3. Bring out your sleeping bags
Sleeping bags are designed for outdoor use and this makes them warmer than regular blankets. Whether the power is out or not, you could use them in the lounge when watching TV, or even in bed while you sleep.
4. Consider erecting a tent
Just like sleeping bags, tents are made for outdoor use and designed to insulate occupants. It may be unconventional but you could set up a tent inside your home. You could gather inside it during the colder days or evenings and even sleep in it. Plus, the kids will love it.
5. Reverse your ceiling fan
By reversing the direction your ceiling fan turns, you will push any warm air near the ceiling down towards the floor of your home.
6. Open curtains during the day
During the day, make sure your blinds or curtains are fully open to let in as much light and warmth as possible. At night, ensure they are closed to then keep that warmth in your home for as long as possible and help block out any drafts.
7. Make use of rugs
By covering your floor with rugs you can help prevent heat escaping through the floor boards. For extra effect, use rugs made of fabric that offers insulation.
8. Drink warm drinks regularly
Keep your body warm by consuming warm drinks, and/or soup, every couple of hours. If you are able to heat water on a gas stove then your supply of hot drinks should not be hampered, but if not, then make sure you check your load shedding schedule and prepare for the outages by boiling water beforehand and storing it in flasks.
9. Fill up hot water bottles
Fill water bottles with boiling water and the heat should last you a couple of hours. Children, however, should not be left to use hot water bottles unsupervised. An alternative is to make use of bean bags that can be warmed in the microwave.
10. Light some candles
While candles are often used as home décor, they can be a good source of heat, especially if you use a few of them together. Set up some candles on a table and they will eventually start to warm the nearby areas. Do not leave candles unattended though.
11. Layer yourself
Don’t just rely on a warm jacket or gown, but, rather, layer your clothing while inside the home. Not only will this keep you warmer but will also allow you to take layers off should you get too warm.
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