Keep Warm in the Big Chill… Without Turning Up Your Heating.

by , under Environment, Science

As the cold snap grips, I thought a little starter course in thermodynamics might come in helpful 😉

First up: resist turning up the thermostat. Please. For the sake of everyone, now and in the future, we can’t afford to heat the huge air volumes in our houses by burning fuel. It’s highly inefficient. I was brought up in a very cold, large Victorian vicarage where we simply couldn’t afford to heat the house properly. It seems that people have become so comfortable that they expect to be able to walk around in t-shirts indoors in winter. We have to change that mindset, so here’s some better ways to stay warm:

1. Insulate. You won’t feel cold if your body doesn’t lose heat. It’s perfectly possible to be a warm body in a cold environment if you insulate it properly. It’s not fashionable, but pop another jumper on, and pull on a hat, draw a rug over your knees. Granny chic has to be in this year!

2. Do some work. Heat and Energy are the same thing. Work is the process of transferring energies, which always has heat as a by-product. So if you are cold, the best way to warm up is to change some energy stores into heat: ie do some exercise. There’s no way you’re going to warm up by sitting around shivering! A brisk bit of hoovering? Quick bike ride? Game of chase? All going to leave you feeling toasty.

3. Localise heating. You don’t need to heat the whole house to warm up. Localise your heating with hot drinks and snacks, or, if you have to, locking down radiators in parts of the house so that only certain places are being warmed.

Whatever you do though, turning the thermostat up by 2 degrees is the worst possible way to gain 2 degrees!


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