Introduction: 7 Winter Life Hacks to Keep You Warm

About: My name is Jason Poel Smith. In my free time, I am an Inventor, Maker, Hacker, Tinker, and all around Mad Genius

It can be hard to stay warm when the temperature outside drops to -20ºF. So here are a few simple life hacks that can help keep you a little warmer this winter. 

Step 1: Automate Your Coffee Maker

There are a lot of appliances that you can automate with a simple outlet timer. One of these is a coffee maker. All you have to do is fill your coffee maker with water and grounds and set the timer for 15 minutes before you wake up. Then you can enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning. 

You can also use your automated coffee maker to prepare, hot chocolate, oatmeal, ramen, or soup. The only difference is that you will want to put your ingredients in the pot instead of in the filter. 

Unfortunately this will not work with all coffee makers. Make models will not turn on automatically when plugged in. For best results use a basic coffee maker without any control circuits. 

Step 2: Use Ice to Trick the Thermostat

If you live or work in a building where the thermostat is locked and you can't change the setting, you may be able to trick the thermostat into turning on the heat. 

A thermostat only senses the temperature around the thermostat itself. This is one reason why different parts of a building are often different temperatures. So if you put ice near the thermostat, it will think that the room is colder than it really is and turn on the heater.

WARNING: Do not put an ice cube on the thermostat. Do not do anything that will get moisture in the thermostat. This can cause it to short out and break. Then you will freeze to death and it will be your fault. 

Step 3: Prewarmed Bed

There is nothing like climbing into a warm bed at the end a cold day. So when you are getting ready for bed put an electric blanket under the covers and turn it on low. That way when you go to get into bed it is already warm. 

Always be aware of any potential fire risks when working with an electric heater and be safe.

Step 4: Prewarmed Clothes

If you know what clothes you will be wearing the next day, place then in your dresser and put an electric blanket on top of them. As soon as you wake up, turn it on. This works best if you can reach the control without getting out of bed. Then when you get up and go to get dressed, your clothes will be warm like they just came out of the drier.

If you have an electric blanket that turns on automatically when you plug it in, then you can set it up with an outlet timer to have it pre-warming before your alarm goes off. But as always, be careful to avoid any potential fire risks.

Step 5: Let a Hot Shower Warm and Humidify Your House

When you take a hot bath or shower, don't drain the water. The water has a lot of heat that would just be going down the drain. Let the water sit and cool to room temperature first. That way all the heat stays in your house and the hot water will help to humidify the dry air in your house. 

Step 6: Use Pipe Insulation to Fill Gaps Below Doors

One problem that is often encountered with older houses is large gaps under the doors. This can result is unwanted drafts. They sell products such as "draft blockers" to fill in these gaps. But why pay $10 for a small piece of shaped foam. You can get similar results from a piece of pipe insulation. Just open it up and wrap it around the bottom of the door. It should tightly seal the bottom of the doorway and prevent drafts. 

Step 7: Dead Battery Hand Warmer

Alkaline batteries will usually stop being able to power your electronics long before they are empty. One way to use that last bit of energy is as a hand warmer.

Once your battery is mostly dead, use a 1 ohm resistor (or an equivalent length of wire with at least 1 ohm of resistance) to bridge the terminals. This will slowly drain out the last of the stored energy and release it as heat. This can make a very low powered hand warmer. It won't make a lot of heat, but every bit helps. 

Safety Warnings:
Only use alkaline batteries. Never use other battery types. Lithium batteries can actually explode if they are discharged too quickly. 

Only do this with 1.5V batteries. Never use higher voltages such as 9V or 12V.

Only do this with batteries that are mostly dead. If you use a fresh battery, It will release much more heat and could burn up the resistor and burn your hand. For new batteries you would need to use a 10 ohm resistor.