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While winter in Canada can sometimes be cold, snowy, icy, or windy outdoors, Canadians know that you can still have a wonderful winter if you take the time to make your indoors warm and cozy. In fact, people that live in cold places all over the world have specific words for feeling warm or cozy with your friends and family: in the Netherlands, this feeling is called gezelligheid, in Denmark, it is called hygge, and in Germany, it is called Gemütlichkeit. There is even a Japanese word, ikigai, which refers to actions that give life meaning and pleasure. If you try some of the tips below, you may discover the happiness and pleasure that can be found throughout winter in Canada.
Put plastic on your windows! Did you know that sealing your windows with clear plastic can make your home much warmer in the winter? This easy and affordable practice can help you save money on heating bills as you reduce cold air that is coming off your windows and into the home. All you need is a hair dryer and an affordable kit that can be found at Walmart, Canadian Tire, Rona, Home Depot, and on Amazon.
Add a heating pad or blanket to your bed. Heated blankets and mattress pads are some of the cosiest items you can have in your home when it’s cold outside. Heating blankets and mattress pads use electricity to warm your bed to the setting of your choice, and nothing feels nicer than to get into a warm bed at the end of the day! Just remember to turn the heating pad or blanket off when you are not using it, and do not use them with very small children. You can find these products at all major stores that sell housewares, including WalMart and Bed Bath and Beyond. Look out for companies that have made these products for many years, such as Sunbeam and Beautyrest.
Set your home’s thermostat to the right temperature. When you are at home, you may want to set your furnace to between 68°F (20°C) and 72°F (22°C) in order to feel warm. However, when you are sleeping, or when you are away from home, you may want to make your furnace a little colder so that you save money on heat. Try setting the furnace to between 66°F (19°C) and 62°F (17°C). Some furnaces will let you “pre-set” them, so that they will do this automatically at different times of the day.
- Note: You should schedule an appointment with a furnace technician every 1-2 years for an inspection or duct cleaning. Furnaces are very expensive to replace, so keeping the motor and vents in good working condition is important if you want to keep your furnace working properly for a long time. If you have pets, cleaning your home’s vents regularly is also recommended, because pet hair can get stuck, leading to increased allergies and even a risk of fire.
Use a space heater. If you still feel cold even though your furnace is working, you may want to use a small space heater. These heaters are usually light and easy to move around your home, and are just powerful enough to bring warmth to a small or medium-sized room. Space heaters usually need to be plugged in, so try to remember that they will add to your electricity bill. There are also some safety tips to remember if you are going to use a space heater:
- Do not let the space heater run through the night when noone is awake to supervise it;
- Do not put your space heater near blankets, curtains, or other fabrics that may catch fire if they get too hot;
- Do not let small children play near the space heater as the surface may get very hot and can burn if you are not careful.
You should always have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home. These tools can save your life in case of a fire or gas leak in your home.
Replace your weather stripping. If you notice cold drafts at certain places in your home, it may be because you have gaps in between the windows, roof, and doors of your home. These gaps may be too small to see easily, or they may be large, but they will let the cold outside air in and make your home feel colder than it should be. Luckily, it is easy to fix many of these cold spots by improving your weather stripping.
Weather stripping is usually sold as a long, skinny piece of rubber, plastic, or metal that can be applied anywhere you have gaps in your home (in window panes, under doors, etc.). You can buy weather stripping at hardware stores such as Lowes, Rona, Home Depot, and Canadian Tire.