The time has come when days are getting shorter, colder and darker. Soon enough, we’ll all be searching for other ways to stay warm when our jumpers/scarves/hats/gloves/long johns just aren’t enough!
To coincide with the United Nations World Habitat Day which took place on 6th October, here at the BestHeating office, we’ve been thinking about the different ways that people beat the chill around the world so we’ve compiled a short list for you to enjoy.
Why not take a look at our video, audio and infographic too?! If you know of anywhere else that is worth mentioning, we’d love to hear from you!
The most common form of heating a home in the UK is a gas central heating system. This form of heating uses a boiler and radiators around the house. The boiler heats water which then circulates through the pipes around the home and heats up the radiators.
Most American houses are heated using a furnace or boiler. Furnaces are generally fired by gas or oil. A furnace heats air and distributes the air throughout the house using ducts and vents.
(Think Home Alone – Kevin McAllister’s arch nemesis – the ‘evil’ furnace!)
A designer in South Africa created a home-cooking device called the wonderbag in 2008. The wonderbag is a non-electric, insulated bag which slow cooks food. Once the food is heated normally, the pot is moved to the wonderbag which uses thermal insulation to continue cooking. Over 650,000 of them have been distributed to countries such as Rwanda, Kenya and Syrian refugee camps where fuel is expensive.
(Yes, we know it’s not technically a way of staying warm but it’s still worth mentioning!)
Although the cities and urban areas in Russia tend to use more conventional central heating systems, some villages and rural areas in Russia still use a pechka. A pechka is a unique type of oven but is also used for domestic heating. As a pechka stays heated for many hours, people can sleep on top of it in winter in order to keep snug.
And, in parts of Siberia, some people keep their cars running all day to prevent them freezing over.
Ulaanbaatar is one of the coldest capital cities in the world with temperatures plummeting to a stinging -38°C. Although most people wrap up and use coal fires, Ulaanbaatar’s street children often live under the city’s manhole covers during winter, keeping warm on the underground heating pipes.
Used by the nomads of Mongolia, gers (also known as yurts) are temporary, circular tents and are usually heated by stoves. If fuel isn’t available, the nomads have been known to burn horse manure.
(Errrm… Not sure we’ll be trying that one.)
One of the most dynamic volcanic regions in the world, Iceland uses geothermal energy. Geothermal energy comes from the Earth’s internal heat. The water and heat is extracted from below the Earth’s surface through underground reservoirs. This then gets pumped round and provides heat and electricity to around 87% of Iceland’s buildings. During winter months, this heat is used to keep pavements and car parks snow-free.
(What, no awkward slips and trips on a daily basis? No falling flat on your face in front of dozens of people? Get us a one way ticket to Iceland, pronto!)
Canada and Greenland
Originally constructed by the Inuit tribes, igloos are made by building a shelter from ice and snow. The igloos are built into a dome shape from bricks of ice. The walls of the igloo block the wind whilst the snow and ice work as insulators to trap body heat inside. Nowadays, most of the Inuit people tend to live in houses however it is commonplace to build a temporary igloo for a winter hunting trip.
Japanese homes have no central heating, little insulation and double-glazing is extremely rare. Ouch. Japan’s winters can be extremely harsh with temperatures commonly dropping to a piercing -30°C! Kotatsu is a common concept used by many Japanese to keep the heat in. It involves a low-sitting table with a heavy blanket round the edges and a heater attached beneath it. People also commonly take naps underneath the kotatsu (as well as the household pets!)
A Dutch foot stove was traditionally made from a wooden box, open on one side and included holes or a slab at the top. Hot coals or charcoal were placed into the slab and then the feet were placed on top. A blanket over the legs would also help them to stay warm. Popular until around the 19th century and then not widely available, some people have taken to making their own in recent years.
Home of the earbag. Yes, you heard us right! A Swedish invention, the earbag is similar to the ear muffs only without a headband. The earbags snap directly over the ears and keep them nice and toasty throughout the colder months. They can also fit under most hats and helmets.
Do you have any ingenious ways to stay warm in winter? Or perhaps, you’ve got some tips on the best ways to keep snug in extreme weather?
John loves reading design blogs and bringing those ideas to the Advice Centre in his own inimitable style. When he isn’t writing copy, you’ll find him reaching out to industry experts to get the latest on all the heating news.