Monday 3 October 2022

Beat the Cold and the Fuel Crisis 7

And save the planet.

Halogen bulbs better than LEDs.
Showers, not baths.
Dry your clothes outside, not in the tumble-dryer.

(All from BBC Breakfast)

Dust lightbulbs.
Turn off the heating when you go out.
Office buildings to turn off lights at night.
Leave curtains and blinds open until the sun goes down to take advantage of natural light and warmth.

Don't heat empty rooms: turn off the radiator in the spare room and close the curtains. Keep the door shut, too.

(from The Times)

Tips from Twitter

Things I learned from working in -10°F on loading docks:

Scarves/Keeping your neck warm does a LOT to keep you warm.
Wear 2 pairs of socks & tuck your pants (trousers) in between the layers of socks.
Tuck your sleeves into your gloves.
No hat? Get a long scarf & wrap it like a hijab.

Learn to crochet:

Wrist warmers

What to wear:

Fine vests and spencers
Waistcoats that hug your ribs
Stockings under trousers
Scarves and snoods
Silk scarves, shirts, vests
Socks on your hands at night
Furry ear warmers
(very fashionable in the mid-60s)
Long silk underwear
Fine wool long vest and long-leg knickers. Tuck the vest into the knickers.

Wear a nightcap, don’t drink one.

Slippers and shoes with thick soles – platform shoes keep you off cold pavements and out of the snow.

Old dinner jackets are warm, says @zi6qa. And stylish!

Paper can be used as insulation, says @jaredmshearer. Over or under your vest?

Cardboard insoles make a difference – but commercial insoles are better and sheepskin are best.

Tuck your shirt in. Tuck trousers into socks.

Make mittens by cutting the toes off socks and making a thumb hole. Bind the edges.

Don't throw out that moth-eaten cashmere jumper – cut off the sleeves to use as wrist warmers.

Insulate knitwear with a big plaid shirt over the top – or an emergency poncho. A bin bag with a head hole and arm holes would probably perform the same function. They can also be used as rainwear.

Line hand-knits with taffeta.

Pyjama trousers under jeans, suggests @szetoinsitu.

And change out of damp clothes, says the BBC's Morning Live.

Keep changing your socks. Wear two pairs.

At home, get up and move around every hour.

Instead of turning on the central heating:

Check your fire and carbon monoxide alarms.

DO NOT start a fire in your house unless you have a chimney, warns @OSTBear. He also points out that candles emit heat as well as light.

If the electricity has gone off but you have a gas cooker, keep a pan of water boiling on the stove. (Make sure it doesn’t boil dry.)

Plug in your slow cooker in the living room.

Divide up open-plan rooms with thick drapes, or room dividers. Rebuild that wall you "knocked through". French style glass doors between the rooms will conserve heat while letting in light.

Put a candle in a clay pot and it will radiate heat.

Fool your brain with a “crackling fire” video, says @Lisaffect.

Clip fine blankets to your curtains with clothes pegs, says @thunderratz.

Electric throws are cheaper than heaters, and space heaters are cheaper than central heating. 

Don’t block radiators with furniture. Stick foil behind radiators and fix a shelf above them.

Keep internal doors closed. If anyone leaves a door open, shout “Were you born in a barn?” Or "Shut that door!"

Put rugs down on those fashionable bare boards and laminate floors.

In a two-storey house, live upstairs (heat rises), or fix up a thick curtain between downstairs and upstairs – or box-in the stairs and put a door at the bottom.

Avoid external walls, or insulate them with blankets hung as tapestries. Or bookcases – books do furnish a room. If you have no books, buy in bulk from charity shops. You may even start to read!

Families and flatmates congregate in one room.

Ten pigs give out as much heat as a single-bar fire! Copy Yorkshire farmers and keep cows downstairs. Or take a hint from the Irish and Scots and keep your animals down one end of your bothy. Sleep on a mezzanine floor above them. Or be like the Russians and heat the house with a big porcelain stove on which you all sleep.

Put a screen round the front door.

Hang curtains over all doors.

Bring back the "room divider".

After cooking, leave the oven door open, advises @OllyWrites.

Build a bonfire in the garden with that wood you liberated from skips. You can even cook on it! Sausages in a roasting tin; chestnuts and jacket potatoes in foil, in the embers.

Heat the person, not the space. (Room heaters, electric blankets or even slankets.)

Huddle over a heat source, as your parents and grandparents advised you NOT to do.

Sleeping arrangements:

If you don’t have a hot water bottle or wheat bag, fill a glass lemonade etc bottle with hot water and wrap it in a towel or jumper. Improvise a wheat bag from a sock and some raw rice.

Turn your bed into a four-poster and dress it with a thick tester (roof) and curtains. Use quilted fabric.

If you run out of bedclothes, use bathtowels and coats.

And you can always sleep with all your clothes on. Curling up is warmer than stretching out.

If you have dogs and cats, pile them on your bed.

Share your bed with as many other people as possible – all at the same time.

Pick a high bed, not a divan – or pallet. An old-fashioned valance will insulate the space underneath and obviate cold draughts. Or fill the space with old suitcases.

Flannelette sheets and duvet covers keep in the heat.

Put a blanket under your sheet, or on top of your sheet and sleep on it. Put another one between you and the duvet. Use several duvets at once. Tuck the duvet round you, not under the mattress. Partners – adopt individual duvets.

Layer blankets with newspapers in between.

Invest in a sleeping bag designed for Himalayan expeditions. Wear while working from home and watching TV.

Pitch a tent in your living room, blow up your lilo, don your sleeping bag and crawl inside with your hotwater bottle. Zip up the tent from the inside.

Some recommend putting the tent on your bed and sleeping in it.

Blanket forts are great,” says @eveiswurzig. (Made from blankets and clothes rails, or a blanket draped over a table. Mattress on the floor, whole family huddles.)

If you lose power, sleep together with your children in the middle and layer blankets over and under everyone, says Lee in Iowa.

During the day:

Wrap yourself in a space blanket as you work.

Insulate your typing chair – throw a coat over the back.

Keep moving. Housework warms you up!

Wrap yourself in a spare duvet.

Make soup – it's also cheap.

Boil water and keep it in a thermos to save boiling the kettle constantly. Or fill the thermos with tea.

Invade the second homes of rich people, suggests @hanikamiya.

Window treatments:

There are many cheap ways of insulating windows – plastic, bubble wrap, cardboard, rubbish bags – but have you thought of using an emergency blanket? 

Install blinds as well as curtains and draw both.

Hang thermal curtains.

Use a pool noodle cut in half lengthways as a draught excluder, recommends @nivahiem. Or find a 1970s pattern for a draught excluder in the shape of a corduroy dachsund.

Build a broch – an ancient Scottish castle with double walls (see above). Or a beehive hut as dwelt in by the monks of Skellig Michael, an Irish island in the Atlantic. 

Already firms are ceasing to heat foyers. Will we go back to the 40W bulb in the hall? The five-inch, tepid bath? 

On trains, shut the door after you. They're probably automatic now, but I once spent an entire chilly train journey getting up and shutting the door between carriages as people passed through – and didn't shut the door after them. I also spent a freezing journey wrapped in sheets of newspaper. The Good Old Days!

In a café, pick a seat near the back instead of scowling at thoughtless customers who leave the door open.

More here, and links to the rest.