How Not to Die in Korea this Winter, Part 2 : Home, Sweet, [Warm] Home

Now that you know how to dress the part (Part I), it’s about time that you kept warm while you’re at home.

This is still probably still warmer than my place.

The basics are wearing layers when at home, wearing nice thick socks and closing your windows and doors to prevent heat loss. Here’s a few more tips to keep yourself warm and cozy during your stay.

1. Use a bottle of Warm Water

If you heat a bottle of water and place it by your feet when you go to bed, it’ll keep you warm and make it easier to fall asleep. It also works with a sock full of [uncooked] rice with one end sewn up (microwave for 90 seconds).

*You can either use a polyurethane water bottle or an aluminum one, but don’t use a regular recyclable water bottle as it’ll just melt and you have hot water spilling everywhere.

They also sell plushies and little sacks filled with rice or something similar at stores nowadays that you can plop into the microwave oven.

2. Use Floor Heating, then Sleep on the Floor

I used to sleep on my nice carpeted floor in college so I’m already used to it. But in Korea most homes come with air heating and/or floor heating. Floor heating is much more effective and works wonders when you leave a blanket or foam mattress on the floor to trap the heat. Leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour before you go to bed and you’ll be cozy for hours.

3. Seal Your Windows and Doors

From what I’ve seen, Korean homes incredibly well insulated at the windows and doors leading to the outside. Unfortunately, insulation to the bathroom or between rooms is usually lacking. It might be worth while to affix some temporary seasonal insulation to the doors leading between rooms. All of the places I’ve lived have had a few gaps but with enough insulation to reduce any shortcomings that they might present. It’s always worth rechecking your windows and doors to make sure they’re sealed properly.

4. Leave Your Door Open During a Shower

Eventually the humidity will drop and your apartment will be dry as a bone. At this point, just leave your door ajar when you take a shower and the steam should be enough to humidify your room and warm it up for a bit when you get out.

5. Wear Slippers

Most of us have either hardwood floors or floors that have a hardwood cover. Either way it’s cold and uncomfortable when the floor heater isn’t on. So keep a pair of slippers handy or lay down a rug. A rug is especially handy if you use your floor heater sparingly and want to trap some of the heat it generates.

6. Do Chores

Wash dishes with warm water, vacuum, cook or do anything else that’ll generate heat or keep you warm.

Other Alternatives :

Heated blankets and mattress pads are an effective, albeit pricey alternative. Depending on the size and make, they might not be a strain on your wallet but the electricity they use (especially if you leave it on overnight) will be.

Space heaters work especially well in smaller environments but floor heaters are a more effective option. If you don’t have a floor heater, a space heater is a cheaper option in the stead of air heating.

Generally you want to heat yourself and not your home. If you live alone and don’t mind bundling up, dress warm and have pocket warmers on hand to save money in the winter. It’s not a sensible way to keep warm if you have other people you live with or if you have a pet, but there’s no reason to heat an entire room when you can just heat the immediate area around you.

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