Sunday, 7 October 2012

Shivering to Save

All of my Northern Hemisphere readers might have noticed the nip in the air recently.   No doubt it'll have some of my favourite bloggers tapping away on their keyboards and bringing you eminently sensible ideas on how to stay warm and reduce fuel bills to boot.  Bring it on! I'll be using some of these myself in order to save, save, save.   After all, why would I want to waste money on utility bills when I've got much more exciting things to do with it?

Now I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to the cold.  Some of it is well founded.  Since childhood, my feet are like little blocks of ice for much of the year and are, indeed painful shrouded in a good layer or two of cosy fabric. Using the thermal properties of materials  is behind many of my fellow bloggers' seasonal thrifty tips.  Insulation might be applied to the structure of your house in the form of curtains, extra glazing, sausage dog  draught excluders.... you'll be getting the generally idea by now.  Or it could be applied much closer to your body, say in the form of fluffy blankets, homemade knitwear or layering clothing.   All these measures seem like they'd go towards creating that rather wonderful winter wonderland state that the Danes know as Hygge

Amateur mad scientist that I am,  I'm going down a different path with my own handy hint.  If followed,  I hope it will make a dent in those heating costs.  Its based on my own observations and is grounded in  human physiology rather than physics.

You must have noticed that we all have different tolerances to heat and cold. I went on a work visit the other day to a flat where I would have had to have been a naturist to tolerate the heat.  Yet there was an elderly lady swathed in sweaters and complaining that it was a bit chilly.  And my lovely friend Salty Dog provides another example. This girl hales from the Northern reaches of the UK but now spends most of her life yachting in hotter climes in temperatures that I'd personally find unbearable.  She's making a brief visit back to Devon later this month and no doubt, when I see her, she'll be freezing cold on what I view as a balmy autumn day and shrouded in woolies.

Blimey, this post is long!  So, where's it leading?  Well, to sum up, our bodies have a clever propensity to adapt to temperature change - if we let them.  By turning up the heat or add extra layers when we're feeling just a bit chilly we don't naturally acclimatise ourselves to cooler weather.  My tip:  Step away from the central heating controller and the jumper drawer and allow yourself to shiver a little.  You might even burn a little more body fat as an added dieting bonus!


  1. Good post. I do that sometimes for awhile before putting on a jumper. We have not had the heating on yet, but we are down South.

  2. Hi - we do get used to the weather. I get home from work and wrap up to cope with my house, I soon warm up in a thick wrap around cardigan. I usually get a huge thick jumper or cardigan from asda or matalan every couple of years. I also wear thicker socks at home.

  3. No heating till November is my goal. At work we need to use fans in our office year round just where we are positioned with repro and the reflectory close by. Five in the office with Pcs chugging away. Sweltering. Home is an ice box in contrast.

  4. Will someone please tell this to my mum?

    I can stand the cold but my mum has to turn the heating as soon as it goes below 20c which I think is fairly warm.

    Must be costing her a fortune.

  5. I didn't use any form of heating until December last year, and I'm aiming for the same this year.My Mum had her heating on in September.

  6. Coo, I think Scarlet's brave; I thought I was doing well to aim for no heating until November! I do think we can get acclimatised to lower temperatures. Over the past few years I have turned down the thermostat from 20-something to 18 or sometimes 17 last year. Every time I feel cold, I turn the thermostat to see where it clicks and it hasn't been below 18C so far.