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It's winter way before most expected it. However there's still time to help your cold body, dry skin, and other winter issues that are always there when it gets colder outside. Your source of heat is the other. I'm thankful for heating but it just dries everything out on our bodies, and can drain our wallets. There are solutions for helping all the issues of having furnaces or heaters.
There are some things you can do around your house to make it better. If you have humidifier use it. Unless you are next to the ocean, when running a furnace/heater you need moisture in the air. Growing up I didn't understand why we had all of those empty coffee cans on the vents, being thrifty was just passed down. I know now. If you have vents in the floor, that's where your heat comes up from. You can put any empty, metal container with water. Keep it half full at least, and it will act the same as a humidifier allowing the moisture to go back in the air.
If you can't stand the sight of these containers or pans, decorate them making sure what you use is safe around heat. Maybe you only need to put one in an area where there isn't a humidifier. Your skin, nose, throat, and cracked feet all just need a little bit of water. If you have nothing, go to thrift store and get the toughest pan. They work great. It's better to use a vessel without handles if at all possible.
Make sure you don't have small children around any humidifier, either on dresser, floor or water filled containers (those vents should be covered if on the floor with small ones). When running a humidifier on a dresser, make sure it's cool mist. Throw out the old ones if it's for a baby, or someone who needs help breathing. The new ones have special settings and safety features. If you can't afford one, and if it's for health issues, please try saving for one.
Most of us are just uncomfortable from the dryness of the air. When cooking, you can have a pan of water on low heat throughout your cooking all the way to dish time; making sure it doesn't run dry.
When I lived in Indiana where it is so cold, people had inventive ways to humidify. They put a slow cooker of water on high. When water is hot enough, release into the air. They did this several times a day. You can leave the lid slightly ajar. I loved having apples and cinnamon always on low. It smelled wonderful and let scented moisture be back in the air. I do it now without having a central heating device.
Making sure all of the windows and doors which aren't used are sealed is the way we save money on heating costs. However while keeping heat in, it keeps fresh air out. I would pick a window you don't want to seal all of the way. So on days when it's not yet freezing, you can open it up if only for a few minutes. Leave one window for last if having to seal them shut.
This is the time if you haven't already to call out the gas or electric company. Have them check make sure the heater is working properly. The new law in CA is to have a carbon detector. They aren't expensive. You may want to think about installing one. Renters can ask your landlord about it. Most would rather spend a small amount to not have to worry. Definitely call whoever you get your gas and electricity from. It's free to have them come out check everything making sure it's all safe.
Lower income families may be eligible for caulking, sealing windows where air escapes, as well as energy saving appliances at no cost to you what so ever. Call your company or 211 get the toll free number to find out details in your area. Maybe if you don't need it, someone at your church, friend or neighbor may.
Keep your furnace set at a lower setting when you go out. It's so easy to raise it once you get back in. Saves you a mint on the bill. Last year I got a space saving small heater my daughter recommended. It works great while I take showers or just can't get enough blankets on to stay warm. If you have one of these and they are older, keep in mind the older ones are more than 25 cents a minute to run.
Most recommend keeping your heat at 68 degrees. That is wonderful if it works for you. Everyone has different situations so try saving in the ways you can like lowering it at night. It's better for your dryness problems if you can lower the heat once in awhile.
I love the smell of fireplaces and it's the first time I don't have one. If you do have one enjoy it, and lower you heat when having a fire.
If you have furnace filters make sure they are always clean. It's so bad breathing in all of that dirty air. It also helps keep your bill lower, and your walls are cleaner, too. Just like everything else, buy your filters ahead of time and buy in bulk. It is so much cheaper replacing filter then the heat kicking on and off when not necessary.
This was the first cold weekend where I live but in some parts, winter came early. It's cold outside and going to get colder. Now is the time to prepare if you haven't given it much thought. Saving money on bills of all kind is a blessing. Winter brings in things we have forgotten over the summer. Making a check list for your families needs in the upcoming months will get it out of the way, while helping you save money. Preventing dry cracking skin, and sinus problems may save a trip to the doctor's office.
If you do suffer from drier skin in the winter, try adding olive oil to your lotion. This always works for me. Cracked heels or itching feet can be helped by putting Vaseline on them at night, putting socks over then while sleeping.
Using your normal hair treatments a few times more then usual will help with dried out hair. It's much harder not to use the blow dryer in the winter. This causes damage to you hair. Use a hot olive oil treatment helps, keeping your hair shiny. Static is always fun with dry hair so taking a drop or two of olive oil rubbing over you hair will prevent it from standing on end. Wear a hat. It's so much easier to prevent static in your hair than to get ear ache or sick.
Keeping some moisture in the air helps with static electricity. Its shouldn't be a problem if you have made a balance of no moisture along with staying warm. Keep warm. I hope some of these solutions helps you through the long, cold winter ahead.
Source: My grandma used coffee cans, and so did my family growing up. One more thing I'm thankful for is growing up in an area where thrifty was a way of life.
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
In the winter, I hang my laundry inside on hangers. The water from the clothes adds moisture in the house making the dry heat more tolerable on the mucus membranes and makes the house feel warmer. As an added benefit, the smell from the laundry soap adds a wonderful smell to the whole house. I hang at night, and clothes are usually dry by morning.
One year, it was brittle cold outside. I used a vaporizer (*not a humidifier) to add some humidity in the air. I was very surprised to feel the difference after a couple of hours. It was cozy and warmer than it had been before I turned the humidifier on. I had to turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees.
Give it a try, you will be surprised. I do this when the temperature is very cold only and the humidity is very low. Keeps the electric bill down some too!
My Dad used to place cans of water on the floor furnace, and now I know why.
I installed a quad hook on our bathroom wall above on of our heat vents. On it I hang my robe, PJ's, and towel. When I get out of the shower or tub, it is all toasty warm without the expense of plugging in the towel warmer.
If your kitchen is the central gathering place and you are trying to keep your heat bill down, then schedule your "hot" cleaning for the colder times of the evening.
Tape a piece of toilet tissue to the register and when the heat is running, the air from the heat system will blow it up and you can see it waving.