A Conversation for Surviving the Winter in a Student Household

Keeping warm

Post 1

The Researcher formally known as Dr St Justin

Spend as long as you can at uni. Just the heat from all the people will make it warmer than an unheated house.

Wear lots of layers - go for lots of thin layers, rather than one or two big heavy jumpers. This way, it's more 'adjustable'.
Don't forget hat, scarf and gloves for the journeys in to uni, or to do the shopping, or go down the pub....

*Don't* drink too much alcohol. Seriously. It's a false indicator - makes you feel warmer than you actually are. This might seem a good thing at first sight, but it could easily lead to you getting a bad cold, flu, hypothermia...
Find someone to smiley - cuddle. Shared body heat is warming *and* fun (with the right person smiley - winkeye)

Grow your hair long(er). Most of your body heat will be lost through your head - so the more insulation you have there, the longer you should stay warm. Boys, it could be time to start growing that beard you've always dreamed of having...

In the evenings, go out. To the pub, cinema, wherever. By now you should be able to make a single pint last at least half of the evening...

Keeping warm

Post 2

Martin Harper

I was in a house with a friend who was economical with the heating. Specifically, we didn't turn the heating on all winter. Solution: more clothes, and blankets over the duvet. Of course, the best solution is just to get used to being cold. Just as you acclimatise if you go on holiday to a hot place, you can acclimatise (within limits) to a cold place. Young people have decent circulation anyway, so the risks aren't huge.


Keeping warm

Post 3

the_league_against_helium (see A816996 and A823448)

Yeah, doesn't alcohol relax blood vessels near the skin, causing you to lose heat that way? smiley - blush

I always thought that St. Bernard dog bringing his master some rum as he stumbles about in a blizzard (anyone remember that?) must have exacting it's sneaky sniggering revenge for bad food and ill treatment. smiley - biggrin

You do get used to it. I actually quite like it, and a good few years on it still baffles me how people can stand to have their central heating so high.

My tips: lots of homemade soup, which works out as a pretty cheap version of central heating if you make it in bulk (it isn't difficult, trust me, if I can do it!). Wear your duvet/blanket teepee-style in the house and you might even manage to keep warm enough to study.


Keeping warm

Post 4

Trout Montague


Two bodies moving together ... etc. See also


Keeping warm

Post 5

NastyKoala - Grand Thingite Master (and Cause) of Chemistry Lab Fiascos

smuggle in a little portable heater, and don't let anyone else in the house know. then when the electricity bill comes... play innocent

Suitable excuses as to why the electicity bill is so high-

I told you not to leave the lights on...
You use the washing machine too much...

and if that doesn't work hit them with your trusty towell!

Keeping warm

Post 6


I found that hobbling around in a sleeping bag (jump right in, zip right up) is nice, but be careful. It's easy to trip up.smiley - biggrin

Keeping warm

Post 7

Amy: ear-deep in novels, poetics, and historical documents.

Keep a few extra light blankets on hand, and even wear sweatshirts/pants (er, what's the British equivelent to that??) to bed if need be. And socks. Wear slippers, socks, or shoes around the building/house. Invest in a few sweaters. Wear scarfs and hats when you're outside - it'll keep you warm in there and give you the illusion that the house you go into is warmer than it is, at least for a while. smiley - erm

As far as food goes... soups of all kinds are great for keeping warm. Load up on hot chocolate mix (yes, I know, it's terrible, but we're talking cheap here) and other warm drinks like apple cider and teas and coffees and so forth. I've always found that one cup of any of them warms me quickly when it's cold up here.

As a side note - if you live in student housing (ie, a dormitory), see what you can't do about getting whoever's running the building (in the US, it's the Resident Director or Quad Director) to raise the heat a degree or two. Sometimes begging works.

It's been said elsewhere - finding someone to smiley - cuddle with is a wonderful way to warm up, too.

Keeping warm

Post 8

Amy: ear-deep in novels, poetics, and historical documents.

Oh. And get a carpet for your bedroom if it's not already carpeted. Nothing worse than hopping out of bed to a frozen floor in the morning - whether the room is warm or not.

Keeping warm

Post 9


Going to bed with a 'beanie' wooly hat keeps me warm, and I seem to get a better nights sleep. Wearing a hat in bed also trains your hair into your chosen style, as fashion dictates, this saves students spending money on styling products, which can then be spent on pencils and rulers. Oh, and booze.

SNIDEsmiley - whistle

Keeping warm

Post 10


If you use your own computer a lot, you're best off if your house has central heating or decent convector heaters (central preferred as it can warm up the house before you wake up in the morning - luxury! I didn't have it last year and wow did I miss it). If your room gets cold at night and you're typing and your fingers get cold, that can be very uncomfortable.

Or you could learn to type with gloves on!

I wouldn't be surprised if typing with cold fingers exacerbates RSI or something either - anyone know?

Wearing two pairs of socks can be surprisingly effective, but slippers are essential. Get some nice comfy ones. Big fluffy ones in the shape of dragon's feet or rabbits or something like that are fun too - although if you're a bloke and have size 12 feet like me, forget about those.

Keeping warm

Post 11

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

As per the illustration on the main page, if your landlady/landlord won't let you have a heater in your room, a hair drier can make a surprisingly effective alternative. At my last flat, I used to sit with a hair drier up one trouser leg with a flow of warm air up one leg and down the other... smiley - bigeyes

Keeping warm

Post 12

Titania (gone for lunch)

Hot water bottle... mmmm....smiley - bigeyes ...you can wear it inside your clothes, or put it in the bed some time befor you get into it...

Keeping warm

Post 13

Witty Ditty

Certainly a hot water bottle - makes you feel all toasty and warm in the deepest and coldest of nights smiley - smiley

For girls, a t-shirt bra has a dual use. Firstly, it's padded, so provides extra insulation over the dual airbags, and secondly, if it is really cold, no one will be able to tell smiley - smiley

Keeping warm

Post 14


I lived in the coldest room known to man in my first year (eskimos pah!)

I discovered that I lost most body heat through the mattress, not the covers. So no matter how many covers I had I was still cold. But if I put a big blanket underneath me i kinda warmed up. Gloves, socks, hats and fleeces were also a must.

SallyM smiley - smiley

Keeping warm

Post 15


Mattress covers, fleecy underblankets and flannellette sheets, sounds old lady-ish but it works.

I still wear my long johns under my trousers on cold days.

Draft excluders (grab some old tights and newspaper...thank you brown owl) and thick curtains help too, I made a thick curtain for our front door for £5 worth of material (didn't hem it or anything just sewed a channel along the top and threaded string through then tied the string to nails in the door frame) keeps out nasty drafts and stops all the heat escaping everytime someone opens the door, not to mention tin foil behind the radiators (especially on external walls).

Keeping warm

Post 16

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

I got one of those synthetic spongy fleece thingys for the bottom of a baby's cot at a thrift shop - I put it under the bottom sheet where my feet are; it makes all the difference! smiley - ok

Keeping warm

Post 17


I always find a shower when you wake up sort of sorts out your body temperature in the morning.
Foil behind raditors works, apparently.
Get a cheaper gas and electricity supplier, don't rely on those door to door salespeople who will tell you there's is the cheapest check Ofgem out.
http://www.energywatch.org.uk/supplier_information/comparisons_of_price/index.asp .
They price up each supplier each month and have links to web sites which will work out and switch you to the cheapest supplier.

Keeping warm

Post 18


My school days were spent in Pittsburgh PA.
For those not familiar with the Pittsburgh winter, it begins in September and ends in May. The word cold was invented there.

My first apartment (I never lived in a dorm) was on top of a mountain overlooking the Iron City. It was a duplex house built (by the steel companies) during the industry boom in Pittsburgh (sometime during the Jurrassic Period). What this means, basically, is that the windows were wood cased, and drafty; the house, previously heated by oil and a wood fireplace, had been converted to use a gas furnace (central air), poorly I might add.

What does this mean?
My roomate and I were paying to heat the local atmosphere (possibly the house's attempt to single handedly cause global warming).

After our first $195 gas bill we put plastic on the windows, towles under the doors, turned the heat down and bought sweatshirts.

Winter passed slowly, frigidly by. That winter we had 16 inches of snow in less than four days, a quick thaw and then refreeze, which pushed ice up under the eaves of the roof and into the walls of my room (rendering the room unusable for the rest of our lease).

Lots of hot chocolate later, and a few months of beastly gas bills we solved the problem.

We moved.

More particularly, we moved to a well sealed, small apartment, off the mountain, with electric heat and a landlord willing to pay the electric bill and still let us have control of the thermostat.

So, how do you stay warm this winter while away at school?

1. Find a crazy old man with an apartment complex who is willing to both pay your heating bill and let you control the heat.

2. Move there. smiley - stout

Keeping warm

Post 19


There really is nothing like the sneaky 3kw heater, on for 5 minutes before you go to bed and accessible from the bed so you can put it on before getting out of bed in the morning. If you don't have it on long, it doesn't cost that much, but it makes a huge difference.

Hot water bottles are good as well...

The other thing you can try is sitting in your sleeping bag while working on the computer for example. It's not convenient if you want to walk around, but it's good for when the essay's due on Friday, and you have to devote all your time between now and then to finishing it off...

Keeping warm

Post 20

Napnod the (thoughtful) little green sleep monster BSC Econ (Hons)"eek eek eek"

For those with a smiley - hug partner but forced to sleep in a single bed (one of the main downsides of uni) a double duvet is essential, especially if you live with a duvet hogging mmonster! But a double duvet for a single is also a lovely luxury on a single bed as it doesn't allow anywhere as much cold air in through the sides and lets you really snuggle down.

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