When “the weather outside is frightful” as the song goes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to turn up the heating to a ridiculous level, which can make the cost of heating the home skyrocket, in order to keep warm.
The first thing to do is to make sure that your home is draught-proofed.
If that icy cold wind can finds it’s way into your home, it can quickly make a room cold, and as well as blowing cold into the house, it can suck all the heat out of it as well.
Preferably before winter hits, and ideally on a windy day, go around the house and check for draughts. You can use any light objects to help test this, like a feather duster, or even tissues, as these will move when they detect a draught.
Locate any places around windows or in walls where there is a draught, and block them up. If you have an air vent in a wall that is not supposed to be permanently blocked, the draught can be blocked by covering it with plastic wrap and taping it to the vent.
The second thing is to adjust the heating in each room, if this is possible.
With central air systems it’s a good thing to fully open the downstairs vents, and to mostly close the upstairs ones, since hot air rises.
If you have radiators (like most houses in the UK), ideally have thermostats fitted to them and adjust these so that each room is set to the desired temperature. It’s pointless keeping some rooms at the same temperature as the ones you will spend the day in, if they are not going to be used, and you also don’t want to have the bedrooms too warm either or you will find it hard to sleep.
Most homes have a lot of natural air flow, which distributes the heat and also causes much of it to be lost. If you live in an open-plan home there isn’t much you can do about this, but if not and you are going to be spending a lot of time in the living room for example, keep the door closed to stop the heat from escaping.
Many homes have the main thermostat in the hallway, so be sure the temperature is set correctly as well as making sure the vents/radiator thermostats are set correctly, to make sure your main rooms maintain a comfortable temperature, and the other rooms are warm enough but not over heated.
If you are going to be spending a lot of time at home without moving around a lot, which is common if you work from home or are elderly, keeping the main room that you will be in cozy and having the door shut will help cut down heating costs.
Consider also that if you have radiators or air vents in front of a window, a lot of your heat will disappear out of the window. Closing the curtains and if they are long tucking them behind the radiator, will save energy and keep the room much warmer.
Make sure also that you eat something warm and have warm drinks. If your body is cold inside and you don’t give it the right fuel to allow it to warm up, you are likely to stay cold.
Exercise is a good way to get the body warm, and even gentle exercise helps to get the circulation going. If you are fortunate enough to have a game system like the Nintendo Wii, the Wii Fit system provides some good ways to work out and get warm.
Finally, wrap up warm, especially those areas of your body that feel the cold the most, like arms, legs, hands and feet.
If sitting watching television, cover yourself with a blanket, or if you have one, a Slanket, which is a blanket with sleeves like the Snuggie but works much better.
Stay warm this winter, and I hope these tips help you to stay well and to cut down on those horrendous winter heating bills.