Another Kind of Winter Warmer

I’ve so loved reading all of the Winter Warmer recipes shared by everyone at AAR. I plan to try out a number of them over the next few months (first up, Melanie’s potato soup).  But I find I’m now in the need of a very different type of winter warmer.

A little over a week ago my apartment complex came through and installed a lot of energy saving devices in all of the apartments. As someone who tries to be energy efficient, I was very enthusiastic. I came home one evening to discover a new “low flow” shower head, new pipes (wrapped with some kind of insulated stuff) under the cabinets, energy-efficient light bulbs, and a programmable thermostat. Having only dealt with an old dial thermostat before, this programmable thermostat was a revelation. It came pre-programmed for optimal energy savings, set for cooler when people are assumed to be at work or sleeping.

I always thought I was being energy efficient in the winter, keeping my apartment cool; one night of shivering with the pre-programmed settings on the new thermostat let me know just how wrong I’d been. Clearly the vague settings on my old thermostat (lines where roughly 50f, 55f, 65f, 70f, etc. would be) were horribly inaccurate. Obviously, I had been keeping my apartment much warmer than I believed. (And it should’ve been a hint that I didn’t need anything on my bed other than a quilt at night.)

Turning up the heat at night just doesn’t seem right. I’ve tried various solutions but have finally concluded it’s time to invest in a few new blankets. My old blankets are showing their age, thanks largely to my cat Princess having discovered their storage space in a closet and making them “hers.” I don’t want an electric blanket as that would seem to defeat the point of energy savings. So what kind of blanket to buy? Fleece? Wool? Cotton (surely that can’t be warm enough)? Or something else. And where to buy them?

Way too many years ago I got some wonderful suggestions from AAR readers when I was desperate for new soft sheets. I’m hoping you have some equally great suggestions for blankets. I would love any suggestions you might have both for blanket materials and places to shop. I’m hoping to head to the stores tomorrow. Thanks in advance!

–LinnieGayl

9 thoughts on “Another Kind of Winter Warmer

  1. LeeB.

    Congrats on all the new energy saving devices!

    As for blankets, I have a medium cotton quilt bought from (the sale table of) Bed Bath & Beyond several years ago. And when it’s a lot colder, I throw my puffier cotton comforter (bought online from Overstock.com several years ago) on top. If it’s not as cold to need the puffier comforter, I use a super light quilt (made by a friend) on top.

    If you have stores in the neighborhood, I’d suggest looking at Bed Bath & Beyond and Macy’s or similar. And I definitely prefer cotton though I suppose down comforters would work too but those are usually more expensive.

  2. MisseLee

    LAYERS! Layering is what keeps you warm.

    Cotton — and other natural fibers, including wool — let you “breathe” better and are less likely to make you break into a sweat (you’ll no doubt feel cold when you climb into bed and will be bundled up, but then will be likely to overheat after you’re asleep). The trick is in layers…layers of quilts and blankets and fleece throws.

    Another tip — if you’re prone to cold feet, wearing two pair of socks will help keep you warm.

      1. jodi

        When wearing socks to bed. It is VERY important to make sure they are loose around your ankles. If they are too tight you can damage your nerves in your legs and feet. You are better off putting a blanket across your feet. That doesn’t pull up with the rest of your blankets. I like to use a throw from my couch that is nice and fluffy, but very warm. It keeps my feet warm without making me too hot.

        Layers are important, but when we are in Germany we use a down comforter. The only problem is they can get smelly. I like to hang mine out the window for an hour or so to air it out.

  3. Rosario

    I’d suggest getting a good-quality duvet. Something filled with down would be ideal. Basically, it insulates the bed, keeping the heat you generate trapped around you.

    I would also suggest you rethink electric blankets. They are actually quite energy efficient and don’t cost much at all to run. Apologies if you know exactly how they work and don’t need the following info at all, but a lot of people seem to think that they are a blanket that goes on top of you and is kept plugged in all the time you’re in bed.

    What I’m suggesting is not that, it’s an underblanket that you turn on about 30-60 minutes before going to bed, and turn off when you get in. The point is to help generate the heat that will then be trapped by the duvet. Otherwise it can take a while for your body to do so and getting into bed can be uncomfortable. I actually keep my heating all the way off while I’m in bed, so whatever the electric blanket consumes is easily compensated by those savings (it costs a lot less to heat a bed for an hour than a whole house!). And the experience of getting into a toasty warm bed when the air outside is quite chilly is really lovely.

    1. LinnieGayl

      Thanks, Rosario, I actually didn’t know that about electric blankets, and I’ve never had an electric underblanket.

      I do like the idea of a good-quality duvet as well. Off to shop later today.

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