Wouldn’t it be wonderful if simply doing housework could help with the heating? As we move into more conscious living, we should start thinking this way. When performing a task can get more than one thing accomplished, it feels that much better. Take for example weeding: If we harvest edible weeds, rid invasive weeds from the garden, and make compost from the same task, it feels so much more productive.

Well, the same sort of thing can be true of household tasks. Certain domestic undertakings make the house warmer via the heat they create, so it makes sense to do them when we need some extra warmth. Some deeds are specifically geared towards making the house warmer, so it makes sense that we do them as well, saving the energy cost of having to heat.

Drying clothes

Space and weather permitting, drying clothes in the summer can be done outside on a clothesline or, in compact spaces like a balcony, on a drying rack. This is way better for the environment (dryers are energy hogs). However, in the winter, that option may not be so alluring. Luckily, dryers heat up the house (yet another reason not to use them in the summertime). Ironing clothes could also add some warmth.

Classic Vegetable Soup

Source: Classic Vegetable Soup

Cooking something

Wintertime is the best time for hot bowls of soup and stew, and nothing goes with those dishes quite so nicely as some freshly baked bread. What’s more is that, if we cook these things at home, we not only get the warmth from eating them but also from the process of preparing them. A big pot of soup simmering will put steam in the air, and the oven being on for an hour or more helps to heat the kitchen. In fact, when the baking is done and the oven off, leave the oven door open so that hot air fills the room.

Soaking/Washing dishes

Typically, washing a sink full of dishes involves running a sink full of hot water. Hot water has good thermal mass, meaning it releases heat into a chilly room. While those dishes soak, the heat is transferred from the water to the air. And, using hot water to wash the dishes adds heat and steam to the surrounding area. This might mean it’s a good idea to put off washing dishes until the evening, when the sun goes down and the outside temperature starts to drop.

Preserving fruits and veggies

Preserving fruits and vegetables is something that usually happens in late summer and early fall, when the harvests are coming in. That makes perfect sense because we don’t want the fresh produce to spoil. However, for things that keep well or can be temporarily frozen, if we wait until the weather is colder outside and we are stuck inside, canning, which requires the stove to be on for a long time, can help to heat the house. Maybe berries can be frozen then made into jam when the added heat will be appreciated. Dehydrating could provide a similar heat-producing chore.

Woman scrubbing the tub

Source: JPerez/Shutterstock

Scrubbing the Tub

Cleaning the bathroom isn’t always the most pleasant task to accomplish, particularly when things get down to the scrubbing. Oddly, such chores are often saved until spring, when the weather is a bit warmer. That’s crazy! That’s the best time to be outside. As long as we are running the hot water to scrub the tub, we ought to be getting the benefit of its heat helping to warm the house. Maybe this should be part of a new, more energy-efficient winter regiment.

Opening/Closing Curtains or Blinds

While this isn’t something we often list under “chores”, it’s something we often do: We open the blinds to let in the sunny day, and we close the blinds at night for privacy. Well, this is great for heating the house, particularly with a little added strategy. Opening the curtains on the sunny side of the house will help to heat it via passive solar energy, and closing them when and where the sun isn’t shining will help to conserve the heat via insulative qualities.

Winterizing the house

Winterizing the house is something we should all get into the habit of doing. Not only does it help to protect us from having to pay for damage caused by freezing pipes, but also it keeps the house warmer, saving us money from having a pay for wasted energy heating the place. Addressing drafts, shutting shutters, closing off unused rooms and keeping the insulation up to snuff will all help to heat the house without spending using power to do it.

Sometimes thinking along these lines can make a huge difference to our energy audit, and sometimes this mindset is simply one of the little things we do because we care. What’s for certain is that what efforts we can each give to live with less of a footprint will be something we all get to enjoy. That provides a nice warm feeling in and of itself.

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