The clocks have gone back, the days are darker and the weather is colder. But that doesn’t mean we have to feel chilly all winter long. I’m not suggesting whacking on the heating at full-blast (and being stunned by the bill that arrives in January) instead, I’ve got some tips for staying warm without incurring extra costs…
One of the few things that makes me sad is being cold in your own home. That’s probably why I have such sympathy for people who don’t have a home; while I’m shivering indoors I can only imagine what it must be like to be outside or to have nowhere warm to go. It motivates me to donate funds and supplies to our local homeless shelter The Bus Shelter, so that’s a good thing I guess.
BUT I still don’t want to be cold at home. AND I don’t want to pay a massive heating bill. Wasting energy is another of my gripes so I’ve come up with a quick list of ways you can stay warm and cosy at home without spending an eye-watering amount this winter.
WARM UP YOUR WINDOWS
The windows are one of the places that you’re almost guaranteed to lose heat from your home. Sure, you need to ventilate your home in order to keep it mould-free, but you also don’t want to be sitting in a draught or having all your hot air sucked out. Here’s what you can do to warm up your windows:
- Just like layering up your clothing when you go out, layer up your windows. Add real wooden blinds or roman blinds inside the window recess to create an ‘air-lock’ effect.
- Hang thick thermal curtains, preferably ones that go down to the floor – unless you have a radiator below the window, that is.
- The more layers of blinds and curtains you can add (yes, even an extra voile in-between, if you like) will help to insulate the windows when the temperature drops in the evenings.
- Ensure that windows are closed. It seems like an obvious thing to say but they may well have been left ajar during the day to let out steam from cooking etc, so pull them closed and use an extractor fan instead.
CHECK YOUR HEATING
If you’re going to turn on your heating system, you want to make sure that it’s working as efficiently as possible.
- Check that any thermostatic radiator values are on their highest setting. I’ve often gone into the spare room to discover that the radiator has been turned down by a guest when they’ve gotten too hot, so I crank it back up to full-power for a blast of warmth.
- Then you can control the heating using the main thermostat. The Energy Saving Trust recommends setting it to the lowest comfortable temperature of around 18 and 21 degrees to save money on your heating bills.
- If there’s any air or sludge in the system, it won’t be heating your home efficiently. It’s easy to find out if this is the case: the top of a radiator will stay cold to the touch if there’s any trapped air and the middle will be cool if there’s sludge in the system. Which? suggest some options for cleaning the system if needed.
While you’re at home, why not stay cosy with a few of these easy measures? You might be able to use the heating system less and save money on your bills if so.
- It’s such a ‘mum’ thing to say but wear extra layers. I’ve got a long sleeve tee, jumper and sweatshirt on at the moment. And there’s nothing to stop you wearing leggings or tights under your jeans or complete thermal base layer under your whole outfit.
- If you’re sitting on the sofa (or even working at your desk) put a blanket over your knees or around your shoulders.
- Heck, you could even have a living-room quilt for evenings on the sofa.
- Keep a microwaveable heat pad with you at all times.
- Have hot drinks and hot meals.
- Go to bed earlier, snuggle up under the duvet and take a hot water bottle.
- Wear long pyjamas, pull on some bed socks and tuck everything in.
These are just a few of the things I’m happy to do in order to stay warm and cosy without racking up a massive heating bill. Do you have any other tips for staying warm in the winter? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to save even more money on my bills if I can!
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