At this time of year the most important thing to do is keep warm. But we all know that winter is when power companies raise their prices… so there must be other things we can do besides turning up the thermostat?.
Slash your bills
If you want to keep warm or slash your bills without wasting more fuel here are 15 lo-tech ways that are guaranteed to make a difference.
Some of these are good-old-fashioned common sense that we all need reminding of. The key is to combine them into a plan of action.
Keep warm this winter
Get your circulation moving. Physical activity raises your heart rate, gets your blood pumping and most importantly raises your core temperature. Going out for a walk might not be the most effective solution if it’s snowing outside… so turn up the radio and dance through your chores.
A good hot meal warms you up from the inside. Try something spicy to improve circulation and warm you up too. And afterwards leave the oven door open to share the heat.
Take lots of hot drinks too. A hot beverage raises your core body temperature. And hold the mug like they do in the adverts…
Dress warm to stay warm. That doesn’t just mean wearing more clothes it means wearing the right clothes.
The first law of dressing for cold weather is to wear layers. Your base layer should be tight and thin next to the skin in order to wick moisture away from the body. Then outer layers are intended to insulate – so go for thick natural fibres that trap the air such as woolly jumpers.
Of course that old myth about losing most of your heat through your head has been shown to be false. But you should cover your head like everything else. So wear a hat, and not only outside!
Keep the extremities warm with thick socks and gloves (go fingerless if you’re doing something that requires precision).
Use thick and heavy curtains and close them as soon as it gets dark. Don’t just layer your clothes, layer your curtains for the same insulation benefits. Even if windows aren’t draughty, more heat gets lost through the glass than through the walls.
Tackle draughts now for an immediate improvement. Curtains and rolled-up towels along the base of windows and doors will help for now. Or even bubble wrap. But this is really a DIY job for a more long-term fix – not just gaps around the frame, consider every source of draughts including wherever pipes go into walls, behind the washing machine, the letterbox and keyhole.
Add carpets or rugs to the floor. We lose up to 10% of heat through uninsulated floors. It’s easy to spot the problem if you’re walking around in bare feet – which is another no-no.
If you don’t use your fireplace it could be a way for heat to escape and a source of draughts. A long-term DIY fix is a chimney balloon.
This is a chimney balloon
Put aluminium foil behind your radiators to reflect the heat back into the room. There are DIY options but you can use plain old tinfoil. Make sure the shiny side is facing out.
Fill up a hot water bottle or microwaveable heating pad – it works out less expensive than an electric blanket. You don’t have a microwaveable heating pad? Put a packet of dried beans or rice in the microwave for a minute, wrap it in a pillowcase and slip it between the covers for a few hours.
It’s easier to keep warm if you can focus on even a small source of heat
Maybe you need hand warmers?
Make a candle heater using tealights and plant pots! It does work though it takes a little time to heat up.
Humid air feels warmer than dry air so winter is the time when a humidifier really helps. If you don’t have a humidifier, take a shower and leave the bathroom door open.
This is more of a hi-tec solution as it involves tips to program your thermostat… You can save up to £55 a year on heating bills if you spend half an hour setting up your thermostat to run exactly how you want it.
And last but not least, if you’re lucky enough to have a significant other or four-legged friend snuggle up together and keep each other warm.