Managing your heating costs this winter 1

The newspapers have reported recently that 80% of families are planning on rationing their heating this year, with the majority limiting their household heating to one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening.

If you are like me, being cold makes you grumpy, add on the stress of bills and I am completely intolerable. The winter of 2010 was a turning point for me, the coldest winter on record and I lived in a flat where the landlord didn’t feel it was important to fix the boiler until February (it broke in October).

I learned a valuable lesson that I would like to share with you on how to stay warm without being completely reliant on expensive central heating.

Draft Management

Drafts cause a big problem, particularly in old houses, if you are using the central heating you might as well go and pour all the money in your purse out onto the street. The main places to check would be around window frames and door frames, particularly if you are in an older building and the letter box. It is amazing how much cold air can get in through the letter box. Consider putting a draft excluder along the bottom of the door or installing a curtain across the door to keep the draft out.

Curtain Management

A good set of lined curtains is a must. The curtains should be long enough to reach the window sill. In a bay window with a radiator under the window sill, consider lifting the curtains up to the window sill to allow the heat to escape the radiator so it is not going straight up the inside of the curtain. Curtains should be opened during the day to allow the warmth of the sun to heat the room (for free) and then closed in the evening to keep the heat in. In an excessively drafty window, check the top of the curtains to see if there is a lot of cold air getting in, if so, a blanket or towel rolled up a lot the top of the curtain pole can help eliminate this.

Door Management

Open internal doors during the day to allow the heat from the sun drenched rooms to filter through the house. During the winter, houses get stuffy due to the windows being closed and us spending more time in doors, during the day when you are not at home, let the air circulate. Close the internal doors during the evening to keep the heat in the room you are in. Consider congregating in a smaller room, a smaller room takes less time and energy to heat and will remain warmer for longer. Encourage the children to close doors behind them when going in and out of rooms; my mother was a big fan of “were you born in a barn?”

Clothes Management

Everyone has been told at least once in their life time to “wrap up warm because it’s cold outside”, well, the same applies when it’s cold inside. Layer up. Lots of thin layers will help keep the heat in more efficiently than one thick jumper. A nice pair of winter pyjamas for the kids, plastered in their favourite cartoon character is essential. If the layers aren’t working for you, then snuggle up underneath a blanket, the more people you can snuggle under one blanket, the more heat that will be created. Make sure you wear thick socks at all times, everyone knows heat escapes through your feet quicker and if your feet are cold, the rest of you is likely to feel cold. Also, consider sleeping in socks, if you suffer from cold feet during the night.

Have a warm dressing gown beside the bed to put on first thing in the morning and last thing at night after your bath.

Bed Management

People who work in the industry will advise you to have one duvet for the summer, a lighter one, and one heavier duvet in the winter. This does not have to be the case. A medium tog duvet will suffice for both. If you cannot afford an electric blanket, like me, put a regular fleece or wool blanket under your fitted sheet, this will help you maintain some extra body heat when sleeping and make the bed cosier. Place a heavy wool blanket over the top of your duvet to create some weight to the duvet and stop cold air getting in. And then there is always the old reliable, a lovely toasty hot water bottle, I wouldn’t be without mine, it lives against my feet all winter.

And if all else fails, have a hot chocolate with plenty of marshmallows. It always warms people up in the movies, so it must be true.

This article was written by Vicki Power on behalf of Custom Curtains.

Keeping your children warm, without turning up the heating 8

With the price of fuel going up and up and up, it is important to me that we make savings where we can and with this in mind I wrote a post at Ready fro Ten about helping to stem the cost of soaring fuel prices. The thing for me is I am happy to try and save money, but I would never put the boys at risk by being too cold, however, you can make changes which mean you can leave the heating off for a little longer.

Layer up
I am a big fan of lots of thin layers, which trap the warn air. We do this with thermal vests and long johns (bought from Aldi), then PJ’s and then dressing gowns. The boys were soft bedsocks to keep their feet warm when in bed.