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With the current recession, this year we’re more reluctant than ever to turn up our heating. We don’t want our utility bills to go through the roof! So how do you avoid getting the shivers, without cranking up the heating? We’ve looked at eight simple, as well as cost effective, ways to stay warm in winter below:
There are several ways in which you can better insulate your home, without needing to spend a fortune. Simple things like closing your doors and using door draught guards can keep a room warmer. You can even get keyhole covers, to prevent even the smallest draught from getting in!
There are slightly more expensive things you can invest in too, such as thermal curtain linings. You may be surprised by how effective this sort of thing can be though, and is probably worth spending a little money on.
When you go outside in winter, you’ll undoubtedly put on lots of layers, such as a coat, hat, scarf and gloves. And yet, we don’t go to the same extremes inside. You don’t have to wear a bulky coat indoors, but adding layers will help insulate your body, as well as make it easier for your body to regulate temperature.
Also bear in mind that keeping your feet warm can make your whole body feel like it’s warmer. So if you have cold floors (like wood or stone) it’s sensible to put on a thick pair of socks or comfy slippers when you’re walking around the house.
When you’re cold, why not warm yourself up from the inside? Hearty hot meals are a fabulous thing in winter, from stews and casseroles to pies and soups. And if you make your own soup or other meals on the hob, the heat from the stove while you’re cooking will help to heat up the room too.
In terms of hot drinks, the same principle applies. Tea, coffee, and hot chocolate are all surefire ways to get you feeling warmer. The warm mug is additionally an excellent way of heating up your cold hands!
Keeping active means that you generate body heat. And while you may not always be keen to move around in the cold – if you’re sat still for a while, you’ll probably get stiff and won’t want to be active – it’s a good way to maintain a good temperature. If you set yourself reminders to get up and walk around every hour or so, you’ll probably feel the difference!
You can furthermore do productive things while keeping active. Why not get started on spring cleaning a few months early? Or perhaps tackle a home repair that you’ve been putting off for a while. General exercise is good for your mental and physical health too, so it won’t be a wasted effort.
Heating pads can be an effective way to heat yourself when you’re cold, and they are fairly inexpensive to buy. You can even make your own with things you’ve probably already got around the house – simply sew some dried rice or beans into a piece of cotton fabric! These can be put in the microwave, and used to heat your hands and feet.
A hot water bottle can additionally be a good thing to invest in during the winter months. These tend to stay warm longer than a heating pad, and can give you a better night’s sleep if you take one to bed with you. Hot water bottles come in a range of patterns and designs too, so are great for kids as well as adults!
Did you know that blocking off your radiators can stop the heat from circulating? You should therefore pull any furniture away from your radiators or other heating systems, letting the warm air freely move around the room. Long curtains can also be an issue here – check to see if they are blocking any radiators, and move them out of the way if so.
Cleaning your radiators can also make them more efficient. Dust getting stuck in your radiator can prevent the heat from escaping. This means that the radiator has to work harder in order to warm up a room. Getting your heating system checked regularly is also good practice, to ensure that it’s as efficient as possible.
If you have an upstairs level to your home, try spending more time at a slightly higher altitude. As we know, hot air rises, so the air should be warmer upstairs. Take advantage of this extra heat, and maybe consider moving your TV upstairs so that you can better enjoy relaxing in front of the television. And if you work from home, setting up your home office upstairs could also be a good idea.
Of course, if you have poor loft insulation, a lot of the heat could be escaping through your roof. Getting this sorted can be fairly expensive, but will undoubtedly be a good investment in the long run. And you may be eligible for financial support – the government offers grants to eligible homeowners for loft insulation.
You may be eligible for additional support in the winter. For instance, you could qualify for the Winter Fuel allowance, or get Cold Weather Payments. These might be assigned automatically, but if not, you can visit the government website for more information.
There is also an Affordable Warmth Grant available for some people, who are looking to make improvements to their heating system. The Energy Saving Trust can provide further details on this, or you can look into the Energy Company Obligation legislation.