It gets fairly cold in the winter where I live. This means that you either spend a fortune heating the house or you’re miserably cold, right?

Not really. My house thermostat is set on 60oF right now. What we usually do is turn it down to 60oF at night and then bump it up to 65oF during the day. I had been working for an hour when I got chilly and thought about turning up the thermostat when I decided I wasn’t going to bother for a few hours.

Am I miserable?

No. In fact, I’m toasty warm.

Do I tolerate cold naturally very well?

NO! I feel uncomfortably cold when sitting still and clad in one layer if the temperature dips below 70. I hate being cold. Hatey hate hate hate cold. It’s an utterly miserable feeling for me.

So how can I have the thermostat down so low and be physically comfortable?1

Layers

I do dress in layers in the winter. Microfiber long johns as a bottom layer help retain a whole lot of body heat. Then I add a sweater, or possibly a jacket or cardigan. Today, it’s a polarfleece jacket. Very warm. I’m wearing a broomstick skirt, but long johns keep you plenty warm even with such a light lower garment, if your body core is sufficiently insulated. For all my preference for bare feet, I also wear socks and slippers in the house – especially hand-knit wool socks, those paragons of comfy warmth.

If you’re not allergic to wool, I highly recommend it for its insulating properties. But polarfleece garments are also light and warm. I have a couple of pair of polarfleece jammies that I adore as loungewear as well as some fleece socks, and they’re wonderful for my Scroogish attitude towards the thermostat.

Heat source

Since I’m sitting for a while writing and coding, I’m not generating a great deal of body heat.2 To combat that, I have a couple of rice bag warmers that I’ve heated in the microwave – one at my back and one at my feet. When one’s feet are toasty, one feels warmer all over.

Insulation

Over all of this, I’m using my Slanket. This not only keeps the body heat in, but helps retain the heat from the rice bag warmers. My hands, though exposed to type, feel perfectly comfy even though the air is cool because I am heating this tiny space in which I am working.

I’m not going to keep the house that cool all day, as I’d just as soon the family is a bit more comfortable when we eat dinner at the table this evening. Still, it’s useful while I’m doing office work. If you’ve decided that you really want to turn down the heat (or if you are so strapped for cash that you have no real choice), using some of these principles can keep you safe and comfortable while still keeping the house cool.

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1I only do this occasionally when I’m going to be sitting for long periods because I am working, by the way. If I’m going to be moving about the house, I turn up the thermostat.

2Yes, another solution is to bring up the body heat with exercise before putting on the layers and the small heat sources. It works. I just didn’t do it this morning.

household

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