Tuesday, 27 January 2009


1. Make sure your radiators are working efficiently. Bleed the air out of them regularly, especially if you can hear noises in them or can feel cold patches on them.Try not to put furniture in front of them or hide them behind curtains. Fit thermostatic radiator valves - these are not cheap, but will earn their keep if you set them to off or very low in rooms that you are not using and keep all room doors closed. Don't cover your radiators with clothes - yes I know, I do it too, but it keeps rooms cold and probably doesn't do your clothes much good either! Instead, put clothes on an airer in a cooler room. Put foil on the wall behind each radiator (shiny side out) or buy proper foil pads to fit, less heat will then be absorbed by your walls and more reflected back into your rooms.

2. Eliminate drafts in your home. it's estimated that 20% of the heat in your home is lost due to drafts.Check windows, doors and letterboxes and fit draft excluding tape.If you have open fireplaces that are not in use, you can block up the opening with a piece of hardboard (not pretty, but cheap) or you can buy a chimney balloon to inflate up inside your chimney to keep heat in - this is not a cheap option (somewhere around £20-£25) but, it can be taken out at anytime and then put back when needed, so it should last. Make sure you have keyhole covers on the outside of all your external doors - a surprising amount of cold wind can come whistling in through that tiny opening!

3. Don't use the hot tap each time you wash your hands, the water takes ages to run warm anyway and the boiler fires up each time you do, wasting energy.

4. Make sure you know how to set your electronic heating timer. You can then have your heating on (and off) only at times to suit you. It can be set to come on before you get up and before you come in from work.

5. Dress for winter even when you are indoors. This means lots of thin layers, not one big chunky jumper, and the more of your layers that include real wool, the warmer you will be. We seem to have forgotten how to dress for winter - we need a vest (yes! really!) or t shirt, a thick, warm shirt or thin jumper, then a thicker jumper or cardigan on over that, plus warm socks, slippers and trousers. And if you are sitting still watching TV, then a warm blanket and a hot water bottle are lovely as well! Remember, if you then feel too hot, turn down your heating thermostat a degree or two - don't strip off a layer of clothes!

Keep reading - there are more tips to come!

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