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    Staying Warm Without Central Heat

    How To Conserve Heat and Stay Warm With Little to No Heat
    by Samantha Biggers

    Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 3:53 PM

How To Conserve Heat and Stay Warm With Little to No Heat

By: Samantha Biggers

Winter is approaching, and with that comes concern about staying warm. In this article, I will discuss methods for staying warm when your regular method of heat is not available and ways that you can conserve heat and reduce your overall energy bill.

Grid Issues

There is a lot of talk about how vulnerable the grid is all over the country. Even if you don’t think an EMP or terrorist attack on the power grid is likely, you shouldn’t ignore the fact that our electrical grid is aging, and that leads to problems. There are main power lines that run to Asheville, and beyond that, I can see from the top of the property. There is a lot of rust and damage but no indication that anyone is going to do anything about that anytime soon.

With so much going on in this country, it is likely that the power grid issues are going to just be ignored until there are major incidents, such as the nightmare scenario that happened in Texas at the end of last winter.

Blackouts can mean you only have the heat off and on for a period of time.

Buy extra blankets.

Wool blankets are an excellent choice for layering when the heat is off. Inexpensive fleece throws are a good option for those who do not want to invest in many wool blankets.  Wool army blankets are nice and affordable. Some of the European army wool blankets are fairly attractive if you can find them. Most wool blankets are a blend which helps them hold up better.

You can buy 24 fleece throws for around $100 on Amazon, or you can just pick one up occasionally when you do your grocery shopping. I used to get some really good fleece blankets for around $5 at my grocery store.

Stay in one or two rooms.

It’s a heck of a lot easier to keep one or two rooms warm than a whole house. When it is cold, family members might have to deal with spending more time with one another than they may be used to. Returning to separate bedrooms later in the day is probably what a lot of people are going to want to do. That is fine if those rooms are not too cold to return to.

Air mattresses, foam mattresses, and sleeping bags are all helpful if you find that everyone needs to sleep in a single room or two during an emergency.

Dress in layers.

Lots of layers is a great way to stay warm. This also allows you to adjust your warmth throughout the day and night.

When you are purchasing winter clothing, consider layers when deciding what size to buy. An overcoat is better if it is a little bit loose, so you can add a lot of clothing underneath without restricting movement as much.

Only open doors when absolutely necessary.

A lot of running in and outlets out a lot of heat and allows a significant amount of cold in. A lot of folks are not going to want to go out in the frigid cold anyway, but there are some people that have a hard time staying inside for very long.

Consider adding a wood stove or furnace if it is a realistic option for you.

There is nothing like wood heat for backup. Of course, not everyone lives where there are good sources and decent prices on firewood. It makes a lot of sense for Matt and I because we have 5 acres of trees that have provided us with quite a bit of firewood as we have thinned out trees. There are also a lot of people around that cut and sell firewood. I have to say that the cost of seasoned firewood has increased a lot in my area over the last few years, but one can say that about many things.

Invest in a kerosene heater and some fuel.

Kerosene heaters can provide heat, but you need to be quite careful when using them. They do have a bit of an odor to them. I remember family members using them when drying their houses out after catastrophic flooding. They have safety cages around them, but you still need to be careful if you have children running around and playing.

Electric can be a backup in some cases.

Although electric is often considered a primary heat source, it can be a good backup when additional heat is needed, or you have power and your other heat source is not available.

Consider this example: You have a small electric furnace, but you get a few super cold nights in the winter. A few 1500w electric heaters can make a huge difference.

Disposable Hand warmers

You can get big packs of disposable hand warmers that offer up to 8 hours of heat. These are nice to keep in cars, book bags, and more. As far as I know, they have an indefinite shelf life if protected from punctures and impacts.

USB Heaters

This USB hand warmer is also a 10,000 mAh battery bank so you can use it to keep any small USB device topped off when you are not using it has a hand warmer.

USB heaters are a kind of neat invention. USB is just such a versatile and low voltage charging system. You could keep a lot of USB heaters charged with a power center and a solar panel or two. While these heaters are still small and not so common, I expect to see significant improvements. At the moment, they can at least replace some of the disposable hand warmers that people use. You can also recharge them via any battery bank of sufficient size.

Outside Fires

There could be a situation where you may be better off starting an outside fire that you can warm up by and even use to cook.

Sleep in one room but in a tent.

It doesn’t take an expensive tent to make a difference in how warm you are. A really good four-season tent is, of course, the best option. It is even better if you have someone or a pet to cuddle up within there. Doing this can actually be pretty fun for kids, especially if you are trying to keep them entertained and having fun during a power outage.

Cuddle.

Even if you sleep in a different room from your spouse, it may be time to give that up for a night or two when you are trying to stay warm. Two people in a room, especially in the same bed, are going to have a lot easier time staying warm than sleeping in separate rooms and apart.

If you have young kids, pile them in there, too, if you have a big bed.

Sleep with Pets.

This is an easy one because it is something that a of people do anyway. Cuddling with a big dog can provide a lot of heat, but even a little one will help. If you don’t usually sleep with your pets or cuddle them a lot, it may take some creativity to assure them it is ok and that you actually want them to behave in that way.

Make sure you have extra warm clothing for kids.

Now that I am a mother, I am finding out just how fast a child can grow. I advise taking an inventory of what you have for your kids and then making sure you have warm layers that will be large enough for them to wear during the colder months. Remember, a little big has its advantages because you can layer a lot.

Drink warm beverages.

Remember that alcohol takes the edge off and gives you a “warm feeling,” but it doesn’t actually raise body temperature itself.

While that hot toddy may taste great and feel extra warming, the alcohol is not giving you any boost in body temp; only the temp of the liquid itself is doing that.

If you are tired of your typical hot drinks, take some time and get a few recipes for something new and fun this winter.

Get some exercise.

Moving can really help you stay warm. Do jumping jacks, run in place, or do a whole workout routine if you want. Doing chores outside if the weather allows it can help too if the temperatures are not too frigid. Exercise can help stir-crazy kids a lot, too, and help you keep your sanity a bit.

Use your oven if you can.

If your cooking stove is still working, now is a great time to bake something delicious or stick a roast in the oven. After you are done, make sure to leave the oven open so that you get the maximum amount of heat released into your home.

Reverse your ceiling fans.

If you still have electricity, you can reverse your ceiling fan. This will help push the warm air that rises down towards the floor, where it can make a difference.

Eat large meals with snacks in between. Hot food is best.

Your body will burn more calories when it is trying to stay warm. When your heat is off is not the time to try sticking to a reduced-calorie diet. Hearty stews are popular in the winter for a reason. They are calorie-dense, filling, and served hot. Foods that are high in fat are particularly good when it is cold.

Sometimes wood stoves are not big enough to heat an entire home, so it can be good to cook a hot pot of food on the stove at the same time, so there is always something good to eat.

Hang blankets or sheets overexposed windows if you don’t have curtains or shades. Towels can work too.

Window shades may not always be wanted, but it can be a good idea if you live somewhere that gets gold, to have some window shades or curtains to provide insulation in the winter.

You can also use plastic window kits to provide insulation to windows during the colder months. These can decrease how well you can see out a window somewhat.

Block drafts around doors.

Sticking something under drafty doors is easy and can make a big difference in how warm your home stays. There are door sweep kits that you can buy and install on your door. Older doors may have sweeps already, but they may need to be replaced if they are old.

Weatherstripping can help block drafts around a door frame. This usually comes in the form of semi-dense foam with a sticking backing that you can put up in just a few minutes. It is very inexpensive and literally takes minutes to install.

Plastic sheeting and duct tape will insulate windows.

In a real emergency, plastic sheeting and duct tape can be used to insulate windows. When using plastic sheeting, you just have to keep in mind that you don’t want to seal up the space you are in too much. It is easier to do than you might think. You need some airflow in your home.

Candles can add some light and heat but must be used with a lot of caution.

We don’t use candles in our house usually due to the fire risk, but when I do, I use one that fits in a jar, and then I put it inside another piece of glass and keep it in the hearth area that is made of granite.

Jar candles can last a really long time, and they are safer than tipsy tapers and holders. I have to say that good candles can be expensive so you may want to consider making your own.

Gasoline generators can run a space heater or two.

Solar generators cannot be relied on to run space heaters during an emergency. A gasoline or diesel generator can produce the power to run one or more depending on the size of the generator. A typical space heater burns 1500 watts. Gasoline generators must be used outside, and power cords run into the home, of course, due to the fumes. They are less expensive for the amount of power they generate when compared to solar generators. Be prepared to use a lot of gasoline if you use a generator to provide backup heat.

Area rugs can help insulate your floor.

A cold floor just makes you feel so much colder. Even if the ambient temperature is just cool, some types of floors can really bring the chill into your bones. Stone, tile, hardwood, and laminate can all feel very cold during the winter months. While I am not a fan of wall-to-wall carpeting because it is so hard to keep clean out in the country, area rugs can be nice, and you can keep them cleaner than an installed rug. Some you can just throw in the wash.

Check your heat vents and make sure dampers are open.

Vents may be closed that you think are open. There have been times when I have taken the vents out to clean them and then put them back in, and they closed, and I did not know it until it came time to use the heating system for the year.

Conclusion

When the electrical grid is stressed, power may be intermittent. The best you can do is try some of the things discussed in this article and make the most of the time that you do have heat and electricity to take care of things.

The supply chain and shipping problems that started during COVID-19 are more concerning than ever. Purchasing what you need to stay warm sooner rather than later is something to consider. As the holiday season approaches, shipping networks will be very stressed.

What do you use for backup heat? Have you went for more than a few days without heat during a winter in the past? What tips do you have for staying warm this winter?

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51 Comments

  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 4:00pm

    #1
    You've been Nudged...!

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    You’ve been Nudged…! said:

    Valuable information, but probably unnecessary for most, as I think many people will be burning in hell this winter....

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 4:18pm

    #2
    brushhog

    brushhog

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    brushhog said:

    Woodstove for sure. I have used a woodstove as my primary heat for the past 12 years. It makes sense when you have a wood lot and plenty of free time. If you dont, buying wood still makes sense from a preparedness standpoint because wood is local. Its not a global industry dependent on geopolitical uncertainties, shipping, or market speculation. There's usually a local guy who cuts and delivers wood from his lot to make some extra cash.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 4:48pm

    #3
    You've been Nudged...!

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    A message about collapse.

    Trust is the first thing to go...





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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 5:00pm

    #4
    Ritz

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    Don’t Forget Wool Clothing…

    Wool hats, wool socks (can sleep with both), wool shirts, wool vests. All are much warmer than clothes made of synthetic materials. I live in Bozeman, MT, and I wear long-sleeved wool shirts almost exclusively in the winter.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 5:06pm

    #5

    pinecarr

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    And don't forget long underwear!

    For staying warmer indoors, long underwear, heavy socks, and warm footwear (to insulate your feet from cold floors) make a big difference.

    Microwavable rice bags are also a treat when it's cold .  You pop them in the microwave to warm up for a minute or 2, then throw them in your bed to take the cold out of the sheets. They also are wonderful under your lower back if it is feeling achey.  https://wellnessmama.com/24601/reusable-rice-heat-packs/

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 5:07pm

    #6
    Techpriest

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    Techpriest said:

    Odd alot of these require power, if you have power, heat shouldn't be too hard.

    If you have a natural gas or propane furnace you can get a small transfer panel for just that circuit to run it off a generator. Bonus if you have a tri-fuel generator to connect to the gas line.

    Also a big buddy heater is cheap and super effective.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 6:00pm

    #7
    Phred

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    Fingerless gloves with mitten covers

    My goto for cold hands. Flip the top back over fingers not used on the keyboard. Any combination of fingers can be exposed. Stock up now, but you can easily make them.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 6:21pm

    #8
    westcoastjan

    westcoastjan

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    I am doing an experiment this year - not turning the heat on at all!

    I live in a coastal temperate zone. It is rare to have temperatures below zero. There is no concern for pipes freezing. The ground never freezes and frosts in my specific location are a rarity.

    I decided to do an experiment this year, to see if I could live without using the electric baseboard heaters in my 1200 sq. ft. condo. I have long observed that no matter the season, my home seems to maintain a constant temp in the 15-20 C range - very livable! Dressing warmly in layers works wonders, as does having hot tea and foods. The coldest night thus far has been 6 C, and the interior temp was 16 C. In the evenings I usually light about 8 tea lights in various jars in the main living area, while keeping bedroom doors closed. The candles can raise the temp by 2 degrees, and also make for a nice atmosphere. I have a wood burning fireplace, and while I know a lot of heat goes up the chimney, it does really warm the place up well when I use it.

    So far so good! While electricity costs are not huge for my circumstances, winter heating seems to be what bumps up the monthly average cost. So it will be interesting to see how this works out, cost wise, and comfort wise. More than anything, it will be good to know I can survive and be just fine without a main heat source.

    In the event of a grid down scenario I do have back up sources for power including a Jackery 1000W generator with solar panels, a gas generator, and multiple ways of cooking food, with good supplies of the necessary fuels for all equipment.

    It will be fun to see if I can go through the winter without turning the heat on!

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 6:52pm

    #9
    David Henry

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    Home energy audits....can save you a ton of money

    It can get cold here in Interior Alaska, -40 for a few days. (but not a few weeks at a time like a couple of decades ago) We love our woodstove, it's just a different kind of heat than the baseboard heat, much cozier! And we've got one (a blaze king, great stoves) that is efficient and we can cook on top of in a pinch.

    That said, I think it's less a grid down, all the oil is gone scenario that is most challenging, but instead an issue of cost. I think heating fuel will likely still be available, if you can afford it. Our borough (=county) offers free and discounted energy audits and they can save people a ton of money, often times by finding things you wouldn't think of. The energy audits (a person comes to the house and tests for air leaks among other things) offer amazing financial returns even if you have to pay something for them upfront.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 7:07pm

    #10

    Montana Native

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    Hudson Bay Blankets

    There is nothing better on a dark cold night.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 7:08pm

    #11
    sand_kitty

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    Itsy bitsy wood stoves ???

    I have seen these itsy-bitsy wood stoves mentioned for heating a tent.

    15" x 20" x ??      $349      20#

    Since I am now in an apartment I have been thinking about it.  Would have to vent the smoke through an opening in a high window or something.

    Any one tried a little stove like this?

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 7:09pm

    Montana Native

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    Bozeman........

    Bozeman is cold, but my hometown of Butte is brutal. Glad I live in the tropics of North Idaho now.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 7:13pm

    #13

    Montana Native

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    For power outages

    These pewter lamps don't push out much heat, but do provide a few BTU's if the power goes out. I almost look forward to using them when our power goes out.https://www.danforthpewter.com/lighting/oil-lamps.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI557g8YKP9AIVfyGtBh28XQXJEAAYASAAEgKV5fD_BwE

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 7:26pm

    David Henry

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    small stoves (but not tent stoves)

    We usually use heated tents (my friend has an arctic oven, amazing tents) that have a small wood stove in them when we go winter hunting. They heat a tent really well, but they absolutely have to be vented carefully, you can't burn them too hot or the bottom will burn through eventually (usually when you least expect it), and they don't hold a great seal (you can't easily control the air flow like a regular wood stove) so you usually have to stoke them (add wood) every 90 minutes or so. I would be terrified to use one in an apartment or house.

    https://www.airframesalaska.com/Arctic-Oven-Tents-s/2025.htm

    edit: They do make small wood stoves for inside dwellings. I don't have any experience with them but if they're designed to be used in buildings they should be safe? (if properly vented, which is essential of course)

    https://cubicminiwoodstoves.com/

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 7:42pm

    #15
    Netlej

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    Basement

    I know that this doesn't help most people but about 20 years ago we had a house with a large basement. It was 10 to 15 degrees warmer that the house in the winter and 10 to 15 degrees cooler in the summer. It took only the smallest space heater to make it toasty warm and if we had 4 or 5 people down there you didn't even need that.

    If you are looking to move I would seriously look for property with a basement. Ours had window wells and I always made sure to circulate air as often as possible.

    On those really hot days everyone would come over and we would go down into the basement for relief...of all sortes.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 8:22pm

    #16
    dryam2000

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    There’s going to be more polar vortexes

    As we go deeper into the grand solar minimum there’s going to be more polar vortexes, and overall colder winters.  The winter in the N. Hemisphere last year was unusually long, and had notable extreme cold snaps within it in N. America, Europe, and China.  Do people recall the polar vortexes, killing of major crops such as a big percent of France’s wine crop, and snow storms in the U.S. as late as the end of May?  This winter is setting up for more of that.  China has already been getting an early polar vortex which will likely oscillate to N. America in the next 2-3 weeks.  If so, that means there could be unusually low temperatures across all of the US.  The event in Texas last year was a tragedy as they were completely unprepared for the supposed once in 100 year event.  People might want to take a good inventory of vulnerable pipes which could need extra insulation or heat to keep from freezing.  Just because one lives in the south does not provide immunity from freezes, and ironically the risk can be much more than those who are prepared in the north.  I think most people should be prepared for very cold temperatures all the way around:  houses, layers of clothes from head to toe, (SAFE) heating devices, etc.  There are two things I can’t stand being: 1) truly hungry as in no access to food to provide adequate nourishment (have experienced it and I think most people would have very different views in life from such an experience), 2) being bitterly cold.

    Btw, how many people caught the tidbit of news that the Antarctic had its coldest winter *ever* this year?  That was a little inconvenient truth that wasn’t widely reported in the MSM because it didn’t go along with mainstream narrative that the world is going to burn to hell this next year.  Yes, last summer the western US was extremely hot, but the rest of the country was cool.  What’s going on?  Solar minimums cause the earth’s magnetosphere to be weak which leads to great oscillation of the jet stream.  The jet stream becomes much more wavy, and dips much further towards the equatorial direction.  This results in what we saw last year in Texas (Europe & China), and what’s going on in China now.  Also, the jet stream oscillates further towards the poles as well which brings warmer temperatures in the pole direction.  This is a big reason why there’s been large extremes of temperatures around the globe the past two years.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 9:00pm

    #17
    Daddy-O McDadstein

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    Propane heater

    Living in East Texas, I was in that very unexpected zero-degree freeze, grid down, last winter. I hadn’t stocked up on wood for the fireplace insert—and with no electricity, the fan wouldn’t work to blow the heat into the living room anyway. It was nearly useless.

    I had figured on propane heat. I had bought a Comfort Glow heater that accepts a 20 pound propane bottle and has three plaques. It’s supposed to be for heating at job sites and such, not in a house. But my money says that most of them are used in homes.
    Anyway, it was a lifesaver. It costs about $100, depending on where you buy it.
    I have seven tanks at the ready, but I cut a bunch of wood as well.
    Can’t say enough about that heater though.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 9:14pm

    skywolf

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    Good reminder on basements

    Yes to houses with basements! It's been a "must" on my house list for a long time for just that reason - stable 50 degrees or so.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 9:19pm

    #19
    Daddy-O McDadstein

    Daddy-O McDadstein

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    Igloos

    In the event of long term disruption in energy supply, like a total shtf scenario, folks living where it snows heavily could make igloos to sleep in. I’m a southern man, but I spent three weeks in the Cascades in January and February in the Okanogan National Forest. National Outdoor Leadership School. Pasaytan (sp?) Wilderness Area. We built igloos. SO warm compared to bivouac. Zero air movement and a constant 40 degrees F with three people inside. Downright toasty compared to what was outside. Have to vacate it during the day so it can re-freeze. It’ll fall apart if you stay in it day and night—so build one for day use and one for sleep.
    no matter how cold it gets outside, the igloo will stay around 40 degrees if people are inside. A single candle is all the light you’ll need.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 9:43pm

    #20
    Nate

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    ramblin man

    We live in Central California.  Purchased our home in 1988 and have been heating with wood since then.  In 2006 we purchased an efficient insert and it made a world of difference.  Burned a lot less wood and stayed much warmer.

    We are surrounded by almonds and orchards are always being removed (and replanted).  Almond wood is awesome for heating homes.  We can stay warm with 3 cords of almond wood per season.  The current cost is $220/cord delivered.  Since I am a hunter and gatherer of firewood, I end up with what I can find.  This year my stockpile consists of Modesto ash and redwood (both low BTU).  Three cords won't take us through the "winter".

    My goal is to cut, split, and dry enough wood for heating our home each season.  On average I am at the 2/3 mark.  Plan to fix that when I stop working for Maggie's Farm.  Nearly there.

     

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 10:02pm

    #21
    2retired

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    2retired said:

    I have taken to noting the dates when the birds that winter on the BC coast and predictably congregate in front of our "summer cabin" and when they leave for their summer (interior continent) sojourns. They came early again this year, which predictably means early and cold winter east of the rockies.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 10:24pm

    #22
    aggrivated

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    Cold in Tennessee

    We live in a 110 year old wood frame house with no wall insulation and 11 foot ceilings. The sunny side is always warmer by at least 5 degrees.

    At night we set the thermostat at 55F. Daytime we splurge and shoot for 63F.

    1. Three helpful things we love :

    Flannel sheets

    Silk long johns

    A wool blanket under your fitted sheet.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 11:37pm

    #23
    Blueberry

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    Blueberry said:

    Living in Ontario Canada, this is definitely a concern.  In the summer I bought  cold weather sleeping bags and buddy heaters. A couple days ago I came across an unusual looking tent in that it was square and very high.  Turned out to be an ice fishing hut on sale 2/3rd  off and a better price than the other tents....just 25 square feet but there is only my son and I and it would be for daytime use. The outside is regular tent material but a little sturdier as it is lined with something else.

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  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 - 11:51pm

    #24
    Mike Anderson

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    polystyrene sheet insulation

    Today I purchased 131 cubic feet (3.7 cubic meters) of expanded polystyrene sheet insulation for my building project.  Of the sheet insulation options available in my area, it has the lowest R-value per unit thickness (3.9/inch) but also the lowest cost per unit of insulation.  Extruded polystyrene sheets are a little better at close to R 5/inch, and much stiffer too.

    Which leads me to a practical suggestion: make insulating plugs for your windows out of extruded polystyrene.  Even in Europe where the triple-glazed windows are standard, you should not expect much beyond R-5 (U=0.20), and the more typical North American double-glazed window at U=0.27 (R-3.7) is even worse.  The easiest thing to do to keep in the heat is to block those holes in the walls at night with some R-10 2-inch polystyrene cut to size.  Well, perhaps easiest after you've blocked any obvious drafts.

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  • Thu, Nov 11, 2021 - 6:50am

    #25
    You've been Nudged...!

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    IT'S HAPPENING! GET YOUR TRIBE READY. SOCIAL UNREST & FOOD SHORTAGES





     

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  • Thu, Nov 11, 2021 - 6:55am

    #26
    treebeard

    treebeard

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Apr 18 2010

    Posts: 573

    3

    At war

    Wow, the new normal has settled in fast, sleeping with our pets and wearing gloves in our homes, is this what we have been reduced to?  It's hard to deny any more that we are at war with group sociopathic, psychopathic oligarchs who have seized control of all the levers of power.  I hope as we opt out of the system, we can set our standards higher.

    We all need to focus on how to get every nickel and dime out of the system that we can and put it to good use building out an independent alternative. Gloves for now, but let's hope for a better future.

    I have been heating with wood for years, but without passive solar, solar hot water and PV's, wood alone would be a little onerous. Cutting splitting 2 cords of wood a year is doable, almost easy, not sure I would have held in there if I had to do 10 cords a year. We can live well on less, conservation is definitely the way to good.  It is the manifestation of consciousness.

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  • Thu, Nov 11, 2021 - 7:21am

    #27
    Tuon

    Tuon

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    Joined: Aug 05 2021

    Posts: 11

    7

    carbon monoxide

    Word of caution about using certain heaters with certain fuels.  I had bought a propane lantern earlier this year for power outages and maybe some heat.  It came with a big sticker on it warning of carbon monoxide.  Not sure what fuels result in carbon monoxide emissions or not.  Just be sure to check for whatever fuel/heater you're considering.

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  • Thu, Nov 11, 2021 - 7:57am

    RandomMike

    RandomMike

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Mar 12 2020

    Posts: 389

    5

    Energy audit by thermal camera

    You can get thermal cameras for phones. On a cold dark night look at your house from 100ft away and see where the heat goes.

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  • Thu, Nov 11, 2021 - 10:03am

    wotthecurtains

    wotthecurtains

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Feb 27 2020

    Posts: 952

    2

    +1 for Generator running furnace idea

    I outlined my journey to this in post #7 on this thread:

    What’s your Blackout/Grid down plan?

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  • Thu, Nov 11, 2021 - 12:29pm

    #30
    Thetallestmanonearth

    Thetallestmanonearth

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    Joined: Feb 28 2013

    Posts: 343

    4

    embrace the cold

    This is a less popular option, but our bodies adapt quickly to the cold when they have to.  Wim Hof has spent hours submerged in ice water to no ill effect and climbed mountains in only shorts in record time.  He teaches a breathing method combined with cold acclimation through daily cold showers.

    I enjoy the breathing techniques, but can't find the time most days.  I do end my shower every morning with 2 minutes of the coldest water I can get from the tap.  It's better than a cup of coffee and I am less effected by the cold throughout the day.  I've seen data that people who take cold showers take 26% fewer sick days, but my guess is that is because people who are willing to endure the cold care more about their health generally....correlation doesn't equal causation.

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  • Thu, Nov 11, 2021 - 12:50pm

    brushhog

    brushhog

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    Joined: Oct 06 2015

    Posts: 995

    4

    Wim Hof

    For some reason alot of people dismiss the Wim Hof method. Either they think its too "new agey" "woo-woo" or something...Ive even heard quite a few people comment to the effect that the name "Wim Hof" sounds stupid to them so they just dismiss it as silly or fake.

    When you look into the method, it makes perfectly logical sense, it is NOT new, and it definitely does work. The breathing techniques are similar to those of free divers [ people who hold their breath for long periods of time under water ]. Those divers have been demonstrated to have larger lung capacity. The hyperventilation followed by timed breath holds exercise and stretch the lungs as well as increasing the body's capacity to use oxygen more efficiently.

    The other part of the method involves cold showers followed by cold baths in slowly increasing duration. The logic here seems sound as well. The cold is a shock that causes a stress to the body. Stress forces the body to make an adaptation. As time goes on you become better able to tolerate the cold for longer and longer....something is changing in your physiology.

    If I said that by lifting weights you create a stress that forces an adaptation everybody would agree. Well this is the same principle. Its true for the breath work too, by breathing hard you are strengthening the muscles in your diaphragm, chest and around the lungs...you are stretching and working the lung tissue. By holding your breath you are creating a stress that forces the body to adapt by using oxygen more efficiently, etc.

    The fact that I can hold my breath for nearly 3 minutes now, where 4 months ago I struggled to get past 1 minute...proves to me that powerful physiological changes have taken place in my body. The fact that I can sit in an ice cold trough for 5 minutes when I could barely stand it for 2 minutes before tells me something has changed in my chemistry and physiology. Theres actually no question about it.

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  • Thu, Nov 11, 2021 - 9:11pm

    TXMonnom

    TXMonnom

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    TXMonnom said:

    I like the Wim Hof method, tried it but not hard enough I guess - the cold is really a struggle for me. I have managed to train my "fasting muscle" and can go 7 days without food - provided I have water - but the cold... the cold... Texas Snowmaggeddon last year was really tough ! I have invested in gloves and blankets this year, as well as small space heaters.

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  • Fri, Nov 12, 2021 - 4:57am

    #33
    skipr

    skipr

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Jan 09 2016

    Posts: 210

    2

    hyperthermia

    Hyperthermia might be a problem with one of these jackets.  I casually walked around with one during a +15F New England winter and was sweating.

    https://www.orosapparel.com/





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  • Fri, Nov 12, 2021 - 4:40pm

    #34
    bergstrom_swe

    bergstrom_swe

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    Joined: Jan 17 2021

    Posts: 19

    3

    Heater broke

    My partner and I got some experience of this when our heat pump broke down last winter when it was -17C (1 F) outside. We have geothermal heating, as is common here in Sweden, but nevertheless you still need a heat pump to circulate the heat around the house.

    Luckily, we have a fireplace in our upper living room, so we just kind of lived there for a couple of weeks. We put big kettles of water (old water bath canners) on top of the fireplace, which kept the heat overnight and kept the entire upstairs warm enough. We avoided the downstairs as much as we could, but kept it somewhat warm with the heat from the kitchen stove and some oil lamps.

    Have to agree with earlier tips - dress in layers, in as much wool as you can come by. Keep your feet warm with woolen socks in layers. Sleep under down quilts and an extra blanket.

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is the good ol' warm water bottle. I have a designated one, made from rubber and covered in some thick fabric, but any soda bottle wrapped in a sock or similar will do. Fill the bottle with hot water and let it keep your bed warm. Always sleep with socks on. A friend of mine used to heat up rocks on her wood stove and use them to heat her bed, similar to the water bottle. Seems a bit less cosy, though...

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  • Fri, Nov 12, 2021 - 10:23pm

    ao

    ao

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    Joined: Feb 04 2009

    Posts: 1600

    5

    good suggestion but there's a problem with this

    I've practiced aspects of the Wim Hof method (and related breathing/meditative/adaptive/autonomic nervous system exercise) for years to tolerate swimming in Lake Superior longer and farther than most people can and it definitely works.  The problem is, you can't maintain it for extended periods of time (meaning days on end).  Your body will adapt to the cold (as we do up here in the Great North) to a certain extent but there are limits (just as Wim Hof could not complete the marathon he attempted in arctic conditions with only light running apparel).

    That being said, psychophysiological training to improve tolerance to cold, hunger, etc. and to overcome fear definitely has a value and I would encourage its practice.

    By the way brushhog, I love your posts.  Your thoughts are always so well expressed and so spot on.  You are blessed with being a thinker of unusual clarity, depth, and discernment.  Thank you for all your contributions.

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 8:34am

    permiegirl

    permiegirl

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    Joined: Aug 01 2020

    Posts: 23

    1

    permiegirl said:

    "If you have a natural gas or propane furnace you can get a small transfer panel for just that circuit to run it off a generator. Bonus if you have a tri-fuel generator to connect to the gas line.

    Also a big buddy heater is cheap and super effective."

    This works with oil heat too.  The furnaces that run either oil or gas use very little electricity, usually just enough to run the fan or water pump.  Our "transfer switch" was  to change our furnace from hardwired to a dedicated plug.  This way if the power goes out we can plug it into the generator.  It was a DIY that only cost a couple of dollars.  Since our hot water runs on the same furnace, we  could plug in the furnace a bit ahead of time, get all the  showers done, do dishes, etc., all while  warming up the house and then shut down the generator to conserve fuel which is usually difficult to come by during times the grid is down.

    Also, love the little buddy heaters although right now it's hard to find the small propane cylinders it uses.  We bought rural land a few years ago and have been building a small cabin, while currently living in town.  When we're at our land we stay in an old travel trailer.  Haven't had electricity there until recently so I've got lots of off-grid experience.  Here's a few observations:

    If you can afford a quality down comforter, the one we have is  so warm it's uncomfortable when temperatures at night are much above 50 degrees.  Ours is 20 years old so the amortized cost is very little.  Considering the cost of fuel, this may become an economical investment for those who can't afford to keep their home as warm as they're used to.

    Own a couple of plastic wash pans.  Used for bathing, washing dishes and even some spot laundry if necessary.

    Learn and practice how to do a bucket shower.  You can heat a big pot of  water on the stove, and mix it with cold water in a 5 gallon bucket to your preferred temperature. You don't need all 5 gallons of water, 2 gallons will suffice per "shower", the bucket is just a convenient and commonly owned container. Put some of the warm water  in one of those wash pans, stand in your tub or  shower and use a washcloth and soap with the water in the wash-pan.  When done washing, fill the wash-pan with clean water for rinsing.  A plastic cup comes in handy for this.  You can be  clean and comfortable using a gallon or two of water.  This beats the hell out of a cold shower or being dirty and stinky.  As a woman with mid-length hair, I tend to keep my hair in a bun and covered with a hat while working to keep it clean.  Bucket showers on longer hair isn't my favorite sport.

    We do use a propane camping lantern that runs on the same cylinders the buddy heater uses.  I hesitate to recommend this because these aren't supposed to be used indoors.  We only run ours with windows open (kind of contradicts keeping warm) and for very limited time, usually to accomplish a task like dishwashing.

     

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 8:58am

    permiegirl

    permiegirl

    Status: Member

    Joined: Aug 01 2020

    Posts: 23

    2

    Insulating windows with polystyrene

    Something like this?

    Try This: Build Your Own Interior Shutters

     

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 9:10am

    Ision

    Ision

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Feb 07 2020

    Posts: 380

    2

    Insulate your window with plastic sheets...

    Every winter in Northern Japan, as soon as it started to get cold, we would cover the outside of all of our windows with a sturdy, clear, sheet of plastic...which was stapled to the wood sash to hold it up...and 3/4 inch wide wood strips would be tacked all around the edges to hold it tight.

    The effect is like having a double pane, insulated window, and would seal off the window to all drafts, rain, and dust.   Cheap, easy and effective.

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 11:38am

    Blueberry

    Blueberry

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Aug 07 2013

    Posts: 50

    1

    refill one pound propane cylinders

    love the little buddy heaters although right now it's hard to find the small propane cylinders it uses

    If you have a one pound cylinder, you can purchase a "one pound refill adaptor" and keep filling it from your larger propane tank.  They are available on Amazon for $17 ( twice the price in Canada). I haven't tried it myself but there are youtube videos on technique.

     

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 12:07pm

    saturn_ls1

    saturn_ls1

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    Joined: Feb 01 2020

    Posts: 32

    1

    saturn_ls1 said:

    Here in the Polar Vortex (Manitoba) it gets pretty cold at times.  We have taken to reducing our window size on one of large windows (7 x 5 ft) by putting 2" Styrofoam  insulation on the bottom.  It not only saves heat loss but reduces the frost and condensation damage.  We've reused it for several years now.
    We like it better than plastic film.

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 12:16pm

    #41
    saturn_ls1

    saturn_ls1

    Status: Member

    Joined: Feb 01 2020

    Posts: 32

    3

    Keep your leaves!

    Every fall we bag our leaves in clear plastic bags. When the temp begins dropping below freezing the bags are placed along the foundation to help insulate and keep cold wind away from the walls. Here in the Polar Vortex (Manitoba) the snow rarely melts after freeze up until spring.  This affords an opportunity to bury the leaf bags in snow further reducing heat loss.  Hey it has worked for Northern indigenous peoples for centuries!
    Free insulation and clear bags makes spring clean-up is easy.

     

     

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 12:20pm

    #42
    saturn_ls1

    saturn_ls1

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    Joined: Feb 01 2020

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    0

    Caution: Disposable Hand warmers

    Just a reminder that they have a shelf life!  Check the dates before buying and maybe group buy with friends and family.  Make use of them for out door comfort before they degrade!

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 12:49pm

    #43
    saturn_ls1

    saturn_ls1

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    Joined: Feb 01 2020

    Posts: 32

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    Propane generator

    Remember Y2K? Yup back in 1999 we bought a propane generator to run our nat gas furnace.  Didn't need it thankfully. We'll I test run it each fall and change oil every couple years.  In 2019 we faced an ice storm that took 4-5 days before power was restored.  We kept furnace running for emergency heat and freezer plus 2 fridges cold. (And air pump for fish tank 😉   Only used 1- 20lb tank over the several days.  The gen only ran periodically with total of 17 hrs run time over that time. We locked it up at night as people were stealing generators!

    Gen is sized for about 1 - 15 amp circuit equivalent so relatively easy on propane consumption.
    Nat gas lines keep running as many of the pumps run on the gas in the lines.

    The propane gen has been easy to service with no stale gasoline issues. We keep 2-3 20lb tanks filled.

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 12:57pm

    saturn_ls1

    saturn_ls1

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    Joined: Feb 01 2020

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    saturn_ls1 said:

    I posted our use at #39 above - "Here in the Polar Vortex (Manitoba) it gets pretty cold at times. We have taken to reducing our window size on one of large windows (7 x 5 ft) by putting 2" Styrofoam insulation on the bottom. It not only saves heat loss but reduces the frost and condensation damage. We've reused it for several years now.
    We like it better than plastic film."
    BTW our triple pane are also filled with argon and sure to eek out as much R as possible.
    You might be interested our use of leaves - see post #40

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 6:06pm

    letro

    letro

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    Joined: Nov 13 2021

    Posts: 4

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    letro said:

    Purchase a fireplace insert. The 2020 on inserts re-burn all gases and no emissions .

    I purchased wood burning insert for fireplace.  Those dead ash trees are keeping the house warm.

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 6:08pm

    letro

    letro

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    letro said:

    Yes water fast solves many problems see Dr Sten Ekberg and Dr. Ed Group.

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 6:11pm

    letro

    letro

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    Joined: Nov 13 2021

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    letro said:

    Perhaps blow in insulation to stop wasting heat.

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 6:14pm

    letro

    letro

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    Joined: Nov 13 2021

    Posts: 4

    0

    letro said:

    Buy a CO detector

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  • Sat, Nov 13, 2021 - 10:59pm

    #49

    Arthur Robey

    Status: Member

    Joined: Feb 03 2010

    Posts: 1596

    2

    Bubble Wrap on glass.

    If you've got a cold glass window that sucks the heat out of your house. but don't have the megga-dollars for double glazing, consider sticking clear bubble wrap to the window. I stuck mine up with water which was moderately successful.

    It worked on my container. My neighbours used the idea and recommend it.

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  • Sun, Nov 14, 2021 - 8:12am

    vmforlife

    vmforlife

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    Joined: Jan 29 2020

    Posts: 1

    1

    vmforlife said:

    Wow, that is a great idea. I hope things go well.  Just one thought to keep in mind.  Since you are in a condo, your connecting neighbors will be using heat and that will help warm your place to a small degree.  If they were also cold (without power) your place would be a little colder than normal.  You need to factor that into your plans and calculations.

    Best of luck, I wish we could try that, but in WY our temp is in the negative most of the winter and 10 feet of snow in Jan and Feb.  That is not an option for us. being completely sealed up and double insulation is our goal.

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  • Sat, Nov 20, 2021 - 11:46am

    Nanski

    Nanski

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    Joined: May 01 2020

    Posts: 28

    1

    Turn it into a heater!

    Found more picsBetter yet, if the window faces south turn it into a passive solar heater.   Paint the outside of the polystyrene panel matte black.  Put holes at the bottom and at the top making sure the sides are sealed with tape.  There should be a gap between the window and panel so that air can circulate.  Keep the hole cut outs so that you can use them as plugs when the sun isn't hitting the window.

    I did this on a single pane window and got 90° air circulating into my house.  It was 30°-40s outside.

    I had 2 floor to ceiling windows that faced south all day.  Best,  cheapest heater I've ever had!

    This picture is of the thermometer at the top hole cut out.

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