Instructables

Stay Warmer At Night

We keep a kind of chilly house in winter . Sweaters and sweatshirts are expected, except for company.  In our area, we heat and cook with natural gas and that is cheaper than electricity. But the cheapest heat is residual from cooking . So a kettle is always on for tea whenever wished. And most nights we bake potatoes unless the daughter bakes brownies or something. And, in addition to that we will stick bricks in the oven. Come bedtime, the bricks get wrapped up in towels and put in the bed. where toes can cling to the brick and other toes. Best strategy for bricks is to bake them at 175 for a couple of hours. 
Please spare the obvious comments, but please make other homey suggestions.

Like ChrysN says - Ricebags!!! Fill fabric bags with rice (only half full) and microwave I imagine you could bake them to heat them, but would need to keep an eye on it, maybe.
Wilmette (author)  Lithium Rain1 year ago
A cursory look at fabrics suggests that one could find a pair of clean, used wool pants from the local resale shop, cut off the legs, sew the bottom up of a leg , fill with rice, and have something that could safely bake at 200 on a cookie sheet. One pants could make maybe four bags ? Does this seem correct ? The only sticking point is that, during the summer the wool and the rice become food sources for different types of moths and so they would have to be redone. Maybe wife or daughter can be persuaded to try. Microwaves did not commonly exist in my childhood; they are new and suspect,
That does seem correct. Some people use flannel, but we just use regular cotton, like a pillowcase is made out of. Muslin could also work. I've heard of people using socks and either tying the top or using a rubber band, although that wouldn't be my preference because I don't like the texture of that fabric and I prefer a bigger wider ricebag. We used to use corn - like what you'd feed a horse - but if you ever overheat the bag, it stinks to high heaven, so we switched to rice.

I have never ever ever had a problem with moths eating the rice or the fabric - do you have a moth problem? A ricebag can last for a couple of years or more if taken care of properly, although over time they A) tend to get overcooked due to carelessness, eventually and B) the rice shrinks, gets dry, and consequently loses heat faster than new rice, which retains moisture and thus heat much better.

You should totally try it! If wife or daughter doesn't want to, it would be super easy to make a square (or do your pants idea) and had stitch it closed. Or, again, take an old sock, fill it half full and tie it shut with the extra fabric. It doesn't have to be fancy; it just has to keep the rice in.

Haha, microwaves are awesome, though! You stick one ricebag in for 2-3 minutes and you are done.
Wilmette (author)  Lithium Rain1 year ago
Re: moths, they are called meal moths or flour moths or pantry moths. They infest even breadcrumbs. Every year or so we find small moth's flying around and then find some grain or flour that's been opened and not sealed properly. It took us a while to figure out what was going on. Kids got adept at moth catching. What, this sport is not played in every house ? Re fabrics, wool has a much higher scortch flash point than cotton.
Sorry for the late reply; I just saw this comment.

Ahh, I see what you mean about moths. We actually have had an on-again/off-again pantry moth issue, but it's never spread to the ricebags. Hope you try it! :)
(Maybe pillowcase fabric IS muslin? Not sure; I'm not a fabric expert. :P)
Many homes could be much more efficient and cheaper to heat with just some simple changes. Check doors for drafts and fix seals as needed and use silicone caulking to fill small gaps outside (such as around windows, faucets, electrical boxes etc). Its also a good idea to inspect your attic, roof and eaves. If you see icicles or patches where snow has melted on the roof, (or any frozen or wet insulation in the attic) then its a big sign you have a lot of heat escaping! Although icicles are pretty, you should NEVER see them forming off your roof, (so take pictures and have this addressed in the spring). If you use a furnace, keep it serviced, change the filter regularly and keep the ducts clean to make heating more efficient. Even a stove or bathroom vent can let out a lot of heat, so covering them when they're not needed can help keep your home warmer. Using heavier curtains on windows, or covering them with an insulating plastic can help, as can simply closing doors to rooms that aren't being used. There's certainly many alternative ways to heat a home, but I think stopping all the heat loss is a good place to start. :-)
Have you tried that window insulating plastic, does it work?
Wilmette (author)  ChrysN1 year ago
Yes, I have tried it in many forms and yes it does work. Its best when you have someone to work with . They help you at your place, you help them at their place and then Irish coffee all round. Start with the window that is the least conspicuous.
I have used it before (but only on the inside) and it did make a difference. Installation is pretty easy, but the plastic tends to be static-clingy, so get help for larger windows. It essentially creates an insulating air pocket and does a good job to block drafts and heat loss. Its definitely not a replacement for better windows, but if you can't afford them (or your a renter), then its worth using.
ChrysN1 year ago
Having some warm fleece blankets around is nice too. A hot water bottle or a microwavable rice filled heating bag work if you don't have bricks. The bag works well on hot summer nights too to cool down the bed -just keep it in the freezer and take it out before you go to bed. Having a pet that sleeps on your bed is great, my cat sleeps by my feet and keeps them nice and warm.
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