Home Heating
January 22, 2004 11:30 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to warm up inside your house? My roommate keeps the temp. far too low in my apartment to the point that my space heater has little effect on clearing out the cold. Any advice to stay warm?
posted by drezdn to Home & Garden (30 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Warm soup, tea, coffee. Wear extra layers. Warm bath/shower. Sex. Jumping Jacks.
posted by msacheson at 11:37 AM on January 22, 2004

Tell your roommate that you find it too cold. Raising it a few degrees (I'm assuming that he doesn't like it at 40 and you don't like it at 95) shouldn't make him overly uncomfortable and should provide you some comfort. The most ascetic roommate shouldn't dictate the conditions for everybody else. The same follows for the summer as well. While I can tolerate it just fine when my apartment is in the high 80's or low 90's not everybody can so if somebody is visiting I turn on the air conditioner.
posted by substrate at 11:39 AM on January 22, 2004

Unless your roommate is footing the bill for you, or you've got some unconventional views on what constitutes hot and cold, you shouldn't be putting up with it. You need to have a chat with your roommate and find a middle ground. Yes, there is the possibility that this is a "deal killer," but there's absolutely no reason you should be sacrificing your comfort for your roommate's.
posted by mkultra at 11:40 AM on January 22, 2004

Turn up the thermostat. If you can't do that, get a new roommate.

In the meanwhile, wear some knit pajamas (what my mom would call "ski pajamas") under whatever else you're wearing. If you're not wearing shoes inside, wear slippers. It makes a big difference.

Oh gee, you're in Milwaukee. Wear sweatpants over your pajamas. Clutch a hot a hot cup of something in your hands. Entertain happy thoughts of Summerfest.
posted by Goofyy at 11:41 AM on January 22, 2004

Get a radiant space heater. Similar to the heat given off by a fireplace or stove, it heats the bodies and not the air. Sunlight is radiant heat, it is like being outside on a cold day with no wind and hot sun you know the effect when skiing as the radiation bounces off the snow. It is the best kind of heat and also the most efficient. This one is the best. It is also very expensive ($400) but you will be warm I guarantee, I have one setup next to me now. The house is at 60 degrees but I am very toasty warm. Saves on overall heating bills so will pay for its self.
posted by stbalbach at 11:54 AM on January 22, 2004

Turn up the thermostat. If you can't do that, get a new roommate.

I've committed to this course of action, but my lease isn't up for about 6 months.
posted by drezdn at 11:56 AM on January 22, 2004

1. Call WE Energies and get yourself on the budgeted plan (so that it spreads the cost out to months in the summer where you doing pay as much)

2. Turn up the thermostat.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:01 PM on January 22, 2004

don't, rather
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:02 PM on January 22, 2004

In addition to the space heater, put up that plastic-shrink-wrap type stuff over your windows. You can lose quite a lot of heat through windows, especially if they're just single pane (and landlords aren't usually motivated to put in the better multi-pane windows when they're building). The sealed plastic covering cuts down the heat loss a good bit.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:04 PM on January 22, 2004

what are you wearing? i've lived with thermostat wars for years (i keep it cooler). partial detente was achieved when mr. must wear shorts in february began wearing socks.

things which help make it warmer when you can't turn up the thermostat:

--winter silks Or cuddleduds, but silks are warmer
--a t-shirt under your sweatshirt
--covering the windows and making sure the drafts under doors are blocked
--keeping the door to your room closed may or may not work to make that room warmer, depending upon air flow, thermostat placement, but give it a try
--heated matress pad

also, where are your vents located? warmer air rises, so if they're at the ceiling, you need some sort of fan to push that air down.

my dad wears a hat indoors--he's bald and he & my mom have the same thermostat wars.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:17 PM on January 22, 2004

can you infect your room-mate somehow, so that they get a fever and feel cold too?

fingerless gloves are good for keeping hands warm while still being able to type.

no-one's suggested (that i've noticed) regular exercise. if i go running on a morning i don't feel the cold til late afternoon (maybe you're in some place where there's too much snow?).

the worst bit, imho, is a cold bed. an electric bed heater is the most wonderful on earth during winter (we have a 12V thing that goes under the sheets and has flat carbon filaments rather than cables, so you don't feel the ridges, and it has variable control, so you can heat up the bed beforehand and then turn it down while you're sleeping).

but at the moment i've just come in for a g&t with lots of ice. it must be nearly 30 outside. and we've just bought a heated flat, so next winter we won't be in this cold place. maybe you should emigrate south? :o)
posted by andrew cooke at 12:21 PM on January 22, 2004

I have a little trick I do where, every couple of hours, I run my wrists under warm-to-hot water for a few seconds. It takes the chill out of my whole body. I'm not sure it works for everyone, but it does for me. (The same trick also works with cold water in the summer.)
posted by jpoulos at 12:48 PM on January 22, 2004

The parabolic radiant heaters like the Presto HeatDish are very good and rather less expensive than the $400 one stbalbach suggested. Since they're parabolic their heat is very directional, so you can point it exactly where you want it without wasting energy heating things you don't want heated.
posted by kindall at 1:05 PM on January 22, 2004

As far as I know, we are on the budget plan (I didn't set up the account), but my roommate is insistent on keeping the temperature very low. In the long run, I imagine running the space heater all the time uses as much electricity anyways.
posted by drezdn at 1:10 PM on January 22, 2004

drezdn, you might try wearing a hat, like a knit ski cap. I did some consulting work with a company in Minnesota that was housed in a huge warehouse-like structure. I froze the first couple of days until someone mentioned this hat thing. Same as outdoors, a lot of your internal body heat is escaping via your (uncovered) head, so it makes sense.

(Yeah, it does look dumb, but you'll be dumb and warm, so what the hell...)
posted by JollyWanker at 1:16 PM on January 22, 2004

Everyone else has good suggestions. I cannot stress heated mattress pad enough. Getting into a cold bed at night sucks, and if your bed is warm there's at least one place for you to hang out and read. Otherwise, concentrate on warm socks, shoes, even indoors, a good hat, even a scarf inside [your roomate will get the point, even if they won't do anything about it, I'm surprised how many people really don't see temperature as a relative thing] If you're freezing. exercise really helps, I get up in the morning and just stretch with some hand weights and that starts the day well.

The most important thing for me [here in Central Vermont] is staying well-fed. If you're hungry, your body has a hard time keeping itself warm. This means real food with protein in it, not just snacks. Powerbars are good for this when you're too hypothermic to really cook well. You may also want to invest in some plastic for the windows in your room, to trap whatever heat gets in there, and keep your door closed, for the same reason.
posted by jessamyn at 1:34 PM on January 22, 2004

drezdn, you might try wearing a hat, like a knit ski cap.(Yeah, it does look dumb, but you'll be dumb and warm, so what the hell...)
In Dallas,TX the high school age wore them during the summer...
posted by thomcatspike at 2:36 PM on January 22, 2004

In the food department, you might try Chai teas or other warming herb teas. Don't eat big meals, because when your food is digesting all the blood goes to your tummy - eat lots of small meals and up the fat content of your food. You can go to a yoga instructor and learn special breathing techniques to keep your body warm, and you can just MOVE more - exercise really does keep your body warmer.

Everyone has good ideas, but if I were you, I think I'd go the less peaceful route and just kick your roommate to the curb.
posted by pomegranate at 2:45 PM on January 22, 2004

You lose most of the heat out of your head. Put a hat on it.
posted by will at 3:51 PM on January 22, 2004

If you're on a budget, depending on the system of heat in your apartment, is it possible that your little space heater is driving the shared (?) cost of electricity up to the point where a, for example, hot water system could easily supply a couple of degrees more efficiently?

If your roommates's comfort is a factor though, what temperature are we talking about? All of the above suggestions are great but knowing what plan best attacks the problem is paramount. Use an independent thermometer to learn if the temperatures are varying dramatically throughout your apartment. Your feeling of being cold might also come from a draft and not the air temperature, suggesting perhaps one solution being more effective than another.
posted by Dick Paris at 3:57 PM on January 22, 2004

He had the thermostat set at 64.
posted by drezdn at 4:18 PM on January 22, 2004

Install a digital thermostat and password protect it.
posted by rushmc at 4:42 PM on January 22, 2004

Also, besides losing a ton of heat if your head is uncovered, feet often act as a person's radiator. If your feet are warm, you'll feel warmer.

I keep my house cool because I like it cool. I have a "house sweater" that I put on when I come home that keeps me warm even when the room is 64F. Layers, layers, layers.

Drinking alcohol helps, too! Ha.
posted by acridrabbit at 5:12 PM on January 22, 2004

my advice above was assuming your house was something like our in winter (around 40F). i'm not sure a bed heater's going to make much difference if you're already at 64F.

if you're having problems staying warm at that temperature, even wearing warm clothes, maybe you should see a doctor? or is the thermostat broken?
posted by andrew cooke at 6:32 PM on January 22, 2004

If you're frugal, you should be able to find a pre-owned electric blanket to pre-heat the bed, or to stay toasty while reading or tee-veeing. There's some concern about keeping it on while asleep. Wear warm socks and slippers, wear a wool or fleece sweater. Lightweight long underwear under regular clothes helps. You'll get chilliest when sitting still, i.e., reading MeFi, MeTa & AskMe. Get up and move around and make a cup of tea.

Space heaters are expensive to run. If you and the roommate share the electric bill, it might be cheaper to set the thermostat higher some of the time. Turn the temp down at night. Even the cheap down comforters are really warm.

Sleep with a friend.
posted by theora55 at 7:35 PM on January 22, 2004

What's on the floor? Hardwoods, carpeting, rugs? Gaps and cracks around your windows and doors? Exactly what kind of heat do you have? Do you split the bill evenly? How often are you home - do you two keep the same schedule? How's the ductwork? What's the average bill for your place? Kwh cost?
I've done work at my job as an energy/metering specialist, so, uh, yeah I do have about 50 more questions to ask. This call could be monitored so first I need to verify your date of birth...
posted by TomSophieIvy at 8:19 PM on January 22, 2004

I just got the natural gas bill for last month, it was $196!!! This heatmeiser is turning the heat down.
posted by corpse at 4:38 AM on January 23, 2004

andrewcooke... 40F?? Are you nuts? How is that a livable indoor temperature? As for the thermostat being set on 64 degrees...

When the outdoor temp is 64, I'm comfortable in short sleeves or a light long-sleeved shirt. However, if it's cold outside, and our thermostat is set on 64 (which, given that I live with the above heatmeiser, seems like a harsh, cold reality now), my hands will get too cold to type and my nose and face will be freezing cold, and this is with the socks, slippers, multiple layers, and a wonderful, floor-length house sweater that's like wearing a mobile afgan. (PS: drezden, if tooling around the house in a scarf feels a little to melodramatic, but your face and nose gets as cold as mine does, try one of these babies. They look like regular clothes but they keep drafts off the back of your neck and you can pull them up over your face, too.)

So what gives? Why does a 64 degree day feel warm and comfortable but a 64 degree house thermostat when it's cold outside feel absolutely miserable?
posted by jennyb at 6:46 AM on January 23, 2004

I don't know how low your roommate is setting the heat, but if she or he sets it too low your water pipes could freeze. Tell them that.

Also, I second (fourth?) the drinking tea idea.
posted by hyperizer at 7:47 AM on January 23, 2004

Why does a 64 degree day feel warm and comfortable but a 64 degree house thermostat when it's cold outside feel absolutely miserable?

Just a guess here (although it's based on some recent observations of my own): If you set your thermostat to 64, that keeps the area where your thermostat is around 64 degrees. If your thermostat is in an interior hallway (as mine is), but, let's say, your bed is by a window, the area where your bed is might be several degrees colder when it's cold outside than the 64 that the interior hallway is at.

Another possible factor might be your activity level. If you're outside, you're probably at least standing an walking around, which may keep you warmer than indoor activities such as reading, watching TV, sitting at a computer, or sleeping. (Experiment: take a chair outside when it's 64 and sit and read for half an hour or more, and see whether you feel cold.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:55 AM on January 23, 2004

« Older How does a deep fat fryer carbonize things if they...   |   How can I make my own monthly calendars? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.