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By The Green Parent

02nd November 2015

Summer is officially over and Autumn is upon us. Though the colder months bring excitement and festivities, their charms certainly don’t extend to the heating bill. With energy bills soaring, year upon year, many are struggling to heat their homes for a reasonable price and are either freezing or going without other essentials, such as wholesome food, in order to simply survive. The elderly, understandably, are particularly vulnerable at this time of year. If you’re feeling the financial pressure or are looking to save some money this year, take a look at our top tips for keeping warm and preparing for the winter months on a budget.

By The Green Parent

02nd November 2015

By The Green Parent

02nd November 2015

Preparation
Preparation is key and yet… every year we find ourselves caught out with various things and find ourselves wishing we’d prepared in advance. So, this year the plan is to be more organised. Here’s our winter checklist, for all the things you always need but always forget to buy:

• Grit/Salt for your icy driveways and steps
• Tinned fruit and veg. No food, but you’re snowed in? No problem…
• Batch cook and fill up your freezer. See above!
• Batteries, torch and candles. See above!
• De-icer for your car and, a solar powered phone charger and a warm blanket in case of breakdown.
• Check tyre pressure and tread.
• Extra pet food. Your furry friends burn more energy in the winter months and, again, you wouldn’t want to be caught short in a snow storm!
• Hat/Scarf/Gloves for all the family. It sounds silly but this has caught us out many times and the children are always outgrowing their old winter accessories.
• Thermal socks for all the family. These are particularly good with wellies if you can’t afford snow boots.
• Thermal underwear for all the family. Fantastic for snuggly bedtimes and saves you putting on the heating overnight.
• Hot water bottles. Great for bedtime, or even if you’re feeling chilly in the daytime.
Handy Hint: Heated airers are a big investment, but well worth the money. They’re cheap to run and dry your clothes quickly, heated airers really pay off in the winter months when you’re reluctant to put the heating on just to dry those clothes that have been sat on the regular airer for days (and are starting to smell damp).

Keeping your house warm

• Line your curtains. Most heat lost in the home is through the windows, so lining your curtains is really important. It is also very easy, all you need is a few cheap fleece blankets and some safety pins and voila! Winter curtains!
• Draught excluders. Don’t be conned into buying jazzy designer fabric draught excluders, many of these are useless and none are worth the money. A simple rolled up newspaper inside a fleece blanket should do the trick. You can also buy draught tape to line the inside of your external door frames, to ensure there are no gaps – this is a very inexpensive way to keep the heat in.
• Fridge Magnets. These work brilliantly on keyholes to stop the wind whistling through.
• Bring your duvet downstairs. Snuggle under it during the day time with mugs of soup and hot cocoa… mmm bliss!
• Close the doors. Heating a room is much easier than heating a whole house, especially when a great deal rises up and is lost through the loft.
• Enquire about free loft insulation and boilers. Low income families and individuals may be entitled to free help with insulation and new boiler installation.

Keeping your body (and little bodies) warm
• Layer up. Keep the heat from escaping by wearing lots of layers, even indoors; several thin layers traps heat better than one thick layer.
• Opt for wool, cotton and fleece fabrics where possible. These fabrics are better at keeping the heat from escaping than others.
• Eat plenty of saturated fats. Not only are they good for you, but they provide a steady source of energy that will help your body to keep itself warm.
• Keep your feet up. The air is cooler at ground level, so curling up on the sofa or making use of your recliner/footstool is a great way to keep your feet from the frosty air.
• Don’t be afraid of wearing a hat in bed! After all, we lose most of our body heat through our heads… just be careful with young babies as the risk of overheating poses a SIDS threat.
• Snuggle up together. Even if you’re just reading, staying close to each other is one of the best ways to stay warm. It’s also a lovely way to bond and boost your existing relationships.
• Warm bellies. Fill your belly with soups, stews and hot drinks. Delicious and frugal!

Other ways to keep the bills down
• Only heat the living room and bedrooms. If you’re struggling with the cost of heating, turn off the radiators in other rooms where heating is non-essential. This will cut the cost of your heating bill significantly.
• Place tin foil behind the radiators. This helps to bounce the heat back into the room which boosts the effects of the heat to maximise the time you have the heating on.
• Tuck curtains behind radiators. This prevents the heat from going straight out of the window.
• Stay busy. Keeping moving is a great way to keep your body temperature up, and it’s also a great way to stay in shape!
• Turn down your thermostat. You can save 3% on your bills for every degree!

If you find that you are really struggling with the cold at any time or know somebody who is, please call the Home Heat helpline on 0800336699

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