Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fighting the Frost at Night

Fighting Frost at Night

Its 3 am. You can't sleep. Your blanket is suffocating you. You kick your covers onto the floor. You're just too hot!

Has this scenario ever happened to you?
It has happened to me too many times to count. I've been too overheated to sleep at night.
If this happens to you in the summer, at least its understandable, but this scenario has also happened to me in the dead of the winter.

I've noticed a strange thing when it comes to temperature of homes and cars.
In the winter, people heat up their house so much that if feels like summer; in the summer they cool down their home so much that it feels like winter.
There's no reason why one should need to overheat in the winter so much that they throw off their blanket and start stripping layers. There is similarly no reason why one should need to wear a sweater in the summer.
The world was created with seasons. If we're going to be chilly for half the year and warm for another half of the year, we can stick to being chilly in the winter instead of the summer, and warm in the summer instead of the winter.
When setting the thermostat in your house, try taking into account the season. If its the winter, perhaps set the temperature in your home to be a few degrees chillier than you would prefer and put on that lovely sweater your aunt Erma knitted you for the holidays. Winter is the season for sweaters; if you don't take advantage of the winter to wear your sweaters, what is the point in having sweaters?
People spend a lot of money on heating and cooling their home. People probably don't realize just how much money they are allotting to this expense, and cutting back in this area is one of the easiest ways to save.

In the night, when you spend many hours covered in a layer of blanket instead of walking around in the cool air, your home doesn't need to be as warm and you can set the thermostat a bit lower.
There are a few investments that one should make that will ensure greater savings in the long run.

The easiest way to save money on heating is to buy warm pajamas.
I have a few pairs of fleece pajamas that I wear to bed every night in the winter. This is a good example of a pair of fleece pajamas that can keep you warm.
Fleece Pajamas

Sometimes I'll add on a hooded sweatshirt to the ensemble.
Other times I'll wear my bed jacket on top of my pajamas. I have a fleece bed jacket, but here is a good example of a down bed jacket. Mine reaches down to my knees, so it adds even more warmth to my slumber.
Down Bed Jacket

In my opinion, the next most important thing to bed-time warmth is a nice, warm blanket. When I was first living on my own, I skimped a bit on blankets as I assumed that the cost of a down comforter made it a non worthwhile buy.
After one winter in a home without central heating, I was very appreciate of my husband's “splurge” on a down blanket.Down Comforter

This “splurge” ended up saving us much money in the long run. Most nights I do not even turn on my heating. With the combination of warm pajamas and a warm down comforter, heating becomes unnecessary and even uncomfortable at times.
Granted, I live in a place that has a warmer climate than many of my readers. I do not expect most people to go through the winter sans heating at night.
However, putting the heater on a timer actually is a very doable money saving technique for those living in cooler climes.
Instead of paying for 12 hours of heating at night, you can have the heater on for half an hour every two hours or so. This can keep your home from getting too chilly but at the same time, you are not heating up your home unnecessarily.
A timer like this makes it easy to turn your heat on and off throughout the night.
Appliance timer

For those that have central heating in their home, it may not be so simple to turn the heat on and off throughout the night. Some thermostats do have timers but not all do. Additionally, if your climate is cold enough that your pipes in your home would freeze and burst if the heater was turned off completely, you'll need to follow a few different suggestions in terms of nocturnal heating.

Unless you're living in a studio apartment or a mobile home, your home usually consists of more than one room. During the night hours, usually the home's inhabitants remain in their beds in their rule. It is a shame to waste money on heating the kitchen and playroom to a comfortable temperature when no one is there to enjoy the warmth.
Consider either turning off central heating or lowering the thermostat to a temperature that is just warm enough to prevent freezing in your pipes and concentrate the heating in the bedrooms.

The most energy efficient way of heating a bedroom is with ceramic plate heaters. Blow heaters are the most expensive methods. Whatever way you choose to heat the bedroom, put it on a timer and close the door so the heat remains inside the room.
First try having the heater on for 30 minutes out of every 2 hours. If the room remains comfortable the whole night, or especially if you get too hot in the middle of the night, try spacing out the time that the heater is on. Perhaps for 20 minutes out of every 2 hours or 30 minutes out of every 3 hours. Continue spreading out the intervals between the times that the heater is on until you actually feel chilly at night. Then return the interval to a slightly more frequent, more comfortable one.

Hope this method helps you save money on your utilities bill!
What do you do to keep yourself and your family warm at night?

More keeping warm at night techniques will follow in another post.


  1. I think a lot of people see heating as a necessity, because it is, but overheating is not, as you said.

  2. Heating is a necessity if you live in a cold climate. But who says the heating needs to be electric heating or oil heating or gas heating? Why can't the heating come in the form of warm pajamas and a warm blanket, or a hot water bottle? Etc...

  3. when you live in a very cold climate, when, such as today, the high temp of the day reached 18 degrees farenheit, if you didnt utilize any heat at all your pipes would freeze and burst. You cannot put warm pjs and a blanket on your house. :)

    But I do understand the point of this post, there's no need to overheat the house either. The winter shouldn't feel like it is the summer, and vice versa. What I like to do in the winter months is to keep the house at about 62 degrees at night, when everyone is under their nice warm blankets. and during the day, when we're home, keep it around 68 degrees. We keep the house at this temp using an energy efficient thermostat - they save lots of $$$ on the heating bills.

  4. Definitely no need to overheat in the winter. You're correct- the main purpose of this post was that winter should feel like winter and summer like summer- no need to go overboard on heating and cooling. Your house can be chilly, not "comfortable" and then you just wear a sweater to make yourself comfortable.

    Keep in mind that I have readers from around the globe, so even if something isn't as applicable to you, it is applicable to others.
    When I lived in the Snow Belt in the USA, my parents would keep the house at 55 at night. Chilly, yea. But not freezing. Warm pajamas and warm blankets definitely kept us warm enough.


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