We secretly quite like the winter – hot chocolate, chunky wool blankets and an excuse to have the fire lit. The weather has been especially bitter this year, though, and keeping the central heating on high and constantly can be expensive. Here’s our guide to help keep your home cosy without cranking up the heating.
The very best thing to do is to upgrade your home, replacing doors and windows and adding insulation to help conserve heat. you can also invest in smart heating, with controls that allow you to make adjustments by just a degree or so. For some people that isn’t an option, though, so the next best thing is to stop draughts coming into the house wherever you can. If your external doors don’t fit snugly into their frames, is there room to hang a heavy curtain inside to shut off cold air?
Draught excluders are a must on both external and internal doors – you can make your own easily. Measure the width of the door, and cut a strip of heavy fabric that is 8cm longer than that and about 24cm wide. Fold the fabric in half wrong sides together, so that you end up with a long strip. Sew round three sides, using two rows of stitches. Fill the tube three quarters full with soft stuffing such as kapok or old socks, then add something heavy (a mixture of coarse sand and fine pebbles works well. Don’t be tempted to use all stones or you’ll never be able to lift it!). Turn in the remaining raw edges and hand sew them into place.
Hang heavy curtains in front of windows, and close them as soon as the heating comes on in the evening. If you have radiators under windows, ideally curtains should finish above them otherwise the heat will vanish behind the curtain rather than coming into the room.
If you haven’t done so for a while, it may be worth getting radiators bled to make sure they’re running efficiently.
Many of us have our bedrooms overheated, especially in the winter. Ideally it should be no more than 18 to 20 degrees Celsius – any higher and you risk a disturbed night’s sleep. Apparently, the hotter the room the more likely you are to have disturbing dreams!
It’s not very pleasant getting into a freezing bed in winter, so add an electric blanket and a couple of big, fluffy throws so that you start off feeling comfortable. Downstairs rooms may need to be a little warmer, particularly if you’re just sitting still. Fake fur throws and cushions give a great feeling of luxury at this time of year and will help keep you warm on the sofa.
If you have a guest room, chances are you’re not making much use of it at the moment! Keep the door closed and turn the radiator down in that room while the weather is bitter, as there’s no point heating an empty room. Do keep an eye on it to make sure it’s not getting damp in there, though.
Finally, be smart about conserving the heat you already have. If you’re using the oven in the evening, once you’ve finished and turned it off then leave the door open a crack to let the heat out into the kitchen rather than wasting it. Try not to leave exterior doors open for too long when you leave the house, and stick an extra sweater on before you start to feel the cold rather than after.
All photos (c) 2021 Pixabay