Thinking through heat in the house as winter and gas prices kick in.

Current idea is to get a second hand hot water bottle, and fill it with the leftover hot water from the washing up.

Would washing up liquid and food particles degrade the rubber though? Should I "upgrade" to something more ceramic?

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1. In general: If you want to heat a room, that is pretty useless. But you can use water bottles with warm water to heat the bed.

2. The rubber won't deterioate by filling the bottle with left over water and food particles. But make sure to rinse it out from time to time with boiling water, to get rid of bacteria; and some vinegar concentrate against mould. (Don't use boilng water and vinegar at the same but alternately.

3. If you think about upgrading, ceramic or chopper is advisable as the rubber rather isolates. But be careful as both materials conduct heat pretty well and burns may occur if the water is too hot. Wrap a towel around.

@simsa04 Thanks, good practical advice there. I'm definitely thinking more about personal heating ("microheating"? :) to try to minimise wider heating systems at least.

For vinegar washes, you mean pour in just neat vinegar, then rinse with boiling water, and repeat?

re: rinsing with vinegar.

No, don't use regular vinegar. For one it has a strong flavour, second it's not strong enough,

Take a concentrated vinegar acid, you should get it in every department store. Use water to dilute it and pour the fluid it into the bottle. If the bottle is of rubber, just shake the bottle for a while, otherwise use a bottle brush. Let the fluid do its work for about 10 minutes. Then rinse again with clear water.

Vinegar concentrate, like citric acid, is a good against limestone. You can use it in the bathroom (toilet, tiles, ceramic) or in your water heater for boiling teawater to dissolve the limestone. As it is an alkaline cleaner, it reduces mildew and its spores. It is advisable to clean your working spaces in the kitchen with it from time to time.

re: personal heating

I n past times It was common to heat only one room in a flat or house, and let the bedroom stay cold, only with hot-water bottles in the beds (and cap and socks to put on).

@simsa04 That's cool, ta. I've used diluted white vinegar to clean things before - we're in a very chalky area. Does the concentrate you use smell very vinegary? Do you mask that with anything if so?

The vinegar essence I use has a very pungent smell. It#s not toxic but unpleasant, one reason you dilute it with water. But as the smell evaporates quickly, I usually just open the window or hold my nose.

BTW: If you' are in chalky area and have lots of limestone, put the mixed fluid onto the surface and let it sit for about 10 to 20 minutes. Then clean it up.

For cleaning and decaling your kettle you may use both the vinegar essence or citric acid. Fill the kettle at half with water and the essence/acid, heat it near boiling temperature, let it sit for a few minutes, then pour it out. Clean the kettle afterwards with water and a drop of detergent so that no residual odour remains for your teawater to attain a strange flavour.


In our house, we have a practice of letting shower water accumulate in the bathtub, and just letting that sit and dissipate heat until it gets cold. I have no idea how much energy this saves, but it feels like it ought to be some. Possibly some humidification benefits too.

It sounds like you want something that you can use to heat a bed or something, though? I'm not sure how I'd approach that. Maybe a stainless steel water bottle? I'd definitely want something that was very easy to clean.

@dynamic A hot water bottle feels the simplest, most portable form of heat. Although I was also wondering about residual oven heat too - maybe some sort of heat brick that I can leave in after dinner to absorb the heat, ready for later in the evening.

Leaving washing water sitting there is an interesting idea. In theory the warmth should go into the room as it cools rather than down the drain. And I've heard tips to leave a bowl of steaming water in a child's room if they're ill...

@scribe @dynamic

Both of you please stop this idea of letting large amounts of water condense into the air of an enclosed room.

It's the same folly like putting your humid, freshly washed laundry dry on a clothers horse inside the room (or like not drying the tilits of the bathroom walls after taking a shower): The air takes up all the humidity it can and then keeps it that way. As the huidity has to go somewhere and your room has residiual warmth, the humidity goes into the wallpapers of your room. You create perfect conditions for vast areas of mould and mildew which harm the walls (the walls, not just the wallpapers!), are very difficult to remove again, and in particular are hazzardous to your health. Mildews and its spores travel through the air, enter the body via breathing, and create respiratory diseases. It's especially harmful to children around.

@scribe @dynamic

re: bowl of steaming water

People do this (more effective with chamomile) when the kid is sick. Once in a while that's fine, but constantly it's may have hazardous impacts (see above).

What is helpful is to place small plates of water onto the heaters to substitute for the humidity the air lost while heating. Breathing is easier then.

re: room heating:

Once in Spain and in winter I saw an interesting heating solution to warm a space. As the city gets very hot during the year, the flat itself had a stone floor, to keep it cool in summer. But in winter all the cold came from the floor. The inhabitants didn't have a heater to warm the room but used a small electric one under the table covered by a large tablecloth down to the floor. So when they sat at the table, their feets and legs got warm even as the room stayed cold. I guess you can use stones previously heated in an oven instead of an electric heater.

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