When my partner and I moved into our first home, in the middle of the Adelaide winter, we discovered that the heating system was not working.
Until we got the heating fixed, we stayed warm by dressing in multiple layers of clothing; cooking hot, hearty meals such as pasta; using small portable heaters; sleeping in rooms facing north towards the sun; and keeping the blinds closed at night to not let the cold penetrate the glass windows.
By doing these things, we managed to keep ourselves pretty warm, despite the temperature indoors hovering between 10 and 13 degrees Celsius in our lounge room – that’s cold!
Compounding this fact was that because we had only just moved into our new place, the home was virtually empty – we had no couch and had to sit on the freezing, hard floor, which made us feel even colder.
To combat this, we spent a lot of the time in the bedroom, snuggled under three doonas (not what you’re thinking, although that will also warm you up) with a small, electric heating cranking throughout the evening before we went to sleep to try and pump as much heat into the room as possible.
It probably wasn’t the most power efficient approach, but when your nose and toes feel like you’re suffering minor frostbite, and source of heat is worth it – no matter the cost.
Now, trust me – it’s going to be uncomfortable until your heating returns, but implementing these simple tips will help make it a lot more bearable.
The reality is, it’s going to take you a couple of weeks to book in a specialist to come and look at your heating unit (which was certainly the case with us), and even if you get lucky and get your problem fixed earlier than that, it’s likely you’re going to spend a few nights feeling like you’re living inside an igloo.
So, here’s how we managed to stay warm and survive living in a home with no heating, in the middle of winter.
Dress in lots of layers
This is honestly the most cost-effective, simple and easiest way to stay warm without heating.
While my partner and I did utilise small, portable heating devices (which I’ll explain further shortly), we were mindful of avoiding clocking up a huge first power bill.
After all, we’d already just incurred a big, new home loan debt!
Honestly, my beanie barely left my head the entire time, which made sense as most of your body heat escapes through your head.
My warm ugg boots were also a saviour, keeping my feet warm.
Honestly, if you don’t already own a pair of ugg boots, do yourself a favour and go out and buy a pair!
I’ve owned numerous pairs for years and years, and they absolutely tick all the boxes in terms of comfort and keeping you warm.
I also made sure I wore plenty of layers, topped off with a puffer jacket.
If you don’t have one of these jackets, I’d definitely recommend forking out and buying one – they’re a life saver.
Cook warm, hearty meals
While your wall heater may not be working, hopefully your oven or slow cooker is.
There’s nothing better on a cold night that tucking in to a big bowl of pasta, or even a casserole.
We definitely did this to beat the winter chill, and it worked a treat.
Whether it’s spaghetti, pasta bake, garlic bread (my favourite), mashed potato, the options are endless and they’re super quick and easy to do.
If you’re a fan of casseroles, I would definitely recommend getting a slow cooker.
There are heaps of affordable options out there, and it allows you to prepare your meal the night before, let it cook slowly throughout the day, and be ready for you to serve by the time you get home from work.
It’s cost effective, easy to make, and, most importantly, will warm the soul.
Invest in temporary heating devices
We initially spent the first couple of days determined that we could weather the cold without going out and spending money on a small, temporary heater.
We thought, why spend $30-$40 on something that we’ll probably never use again?
Well, I can tell you, after shivering your way through your first couple of nights you’ll end up doing exactly what we did – going out and buying a makeshift heater to use.
You don’t have to spend big dollars; the heater we bought was less than $50, but it did the trick just fine.
Besides, even once your heating is fixed, you’ll still have the heater you can use for other occasions later down the track, or you can opt to try and sell it.
It won’t really be effective in any of the big, open living spaces, so you’ll need to keep it in your bedroom, or whatever room you have set up to sleep in.
A word of warning, though: DO NOT leave these heaters running overnight.
They’re cheap for a reason, and as such their safety ratings probably aren’t great.
You don’t want to burn down your house before you even have a chance to live in it.
Sleep in the warmest rooms
If your house has been designed correctly, the main bedroom of the home should be facing north.
If not, I’d highly recommend you shift your bed into whichever room is facing that direction until you get your heating fixed, as this will be the warmest area of the house.
Why? Well, the sun will peer into the room during much of the day, so if you open your blinds during the daylight hours while you’re at work, and let the warm rays beam in, it’s a great way to raise the temperature of the room at no cost.
I spent much of the weekend laying on the floor of our master bedroom, lapping up the sunlight that was peaking through the glass – imagine me being the ant, and the window being the magnifying glass.
That’s the kind of warmth I’m talking about.
Close the blinds at night
Just as the glass windows can let in the heat, they can also let in the cold just as easily.
The walls of your new home will be insulated, but the thin glass window panes won’t be.
If you’ve got blinds or curtains, make sure they are shut – this will make sure the cold stays out, and gives your small, portable the heater the best chance of heating the indoors.
Similarly, try and stay away from the windows.
Our lounge room has two big, glass sliding doors, which make it easily the coldest room in the house.
Rather than staying there and shivering my ugg boots off, I, again, relocated myself to the bedroom which had only one window, and the heater set up in it.
Blocking out the cold the best you can, by utilising blinds and curtains – or even hanging something like a doona from the windowsill temporarily if you don’t have these – will go a long way to helping warm the home.