How to stay warm this winter – without impacting your energy bills
By Megan Baynes, cost of the living reporter
The UK is experiencing a Cold weather snap of weather – with temperatures below zero across much of the country – and for many, this means turning on the central heating to try and stay warm.
The government recommends you heat your home to a temperature that is comfortable to you, and in rooms, you use the most (such as the living room and bedroom) keeping it above 18C if you can. This is particularly important if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
But amid a cost of living crisis, this may not always be practical or realistic – so here are some ways to keep warm this winter.
Heat the person – not your home
If you have a spare room that is rarely used, make sure the radiator is turned off (or turned right down) to make sure you aren’t heating an empty room.
Also, check what time your heating is coming on. There is not much point in being on during the day if you are out at work.
If bills are still a struggle, heat one room of your house and try and spend most of your time there.
Electric blankets and throws can also work out as a cheaper alternative.
One big jumper can seem cozy, but wearing lots of layers works better to trap heat. Base layers, including thermal vests, are fairly inexpensive. Keep an eye out for clothing made from wool, cotton, or a fleecy fabric.
Draught-proof your house
A lot of modern windows have trickle vents right at the top – these allow fresh air in and moisture out, even when the windows are closed. Check they are all properly closed and that you aren’t losing heat without realizing it.
But if you are drying clothes inside, it may be worth leaving the vents open in one room (with the door shut) to prevent damp and mold. Shutting doors throughout your home is a good way to keep the heat in.
Try and block any areas in your home that are particularly draughty, including around window frames, keyholes, and under doors.
Draw your curtains before it gets dark
Keep your curtains open during the day to let light and warmth in, but draw them just before it gets dark to avoid losing any extra heat gained during the day.
Warm food and drinks
The British Heart Foundation recommends trying to stick to a balanced diet of fruit and veg to keep your immune system working during winter.
Regular hot drinks and food including porridge, soups, and stews can also help keep you warm.
Frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables (if there’s no added salt or sugar) are just as healthy as fresh and can be more affordable if they’re out of season in winter.
If you are trying to keep cooking costs down, an air fryer might be a cheaper way to reduce costs, although you have the initial outlay.
Opening the oven door after you’ve finished cooking will also funnel any leftover hot air into your home.
Keeping active can boost your circulation – so move around once an hour and avoid sitting still for long periods.
“Even light exercise will help keep you warm,” the British Heart Foundation says.
“When you do sit down, put your feet up as it’s coldest nearest the ground.”