Money Wellness
Image of a mug and blanket in front of a window with snow coming down
category iconmanaging your money
calendar icon16 Jan 2024

Snow joke – keep warm for less now the temperature has dropped

The blanket of snow that has fallen over night has closed schools up and down the country and meant millions have been forced to work from home for the foreseeable. With people hunkering down and needing to keep warm, energy usage is going to take a battering.

Here’s our top ten tips to help you stay warm and keep your energy costs to a minimum this January:

Keep curtains closed 

When drawn during cold weather, most conventional curtains can reduce heat loss from a warm room up by up to 10%. Therefore, in winter, you should close all curtains at night and keep them closed during the day in any rooms that don’t receive direct sunlight.

Block draughty door frames

If less heat escapes, your rooms will stay warmer for longer and could save around £60 a year in heating bills. In the short term, use towels or old bedding to block draughts around door frames and keep the warmth in your rooms. In the long term, it is worth buying rubber, foam, brush, or wiper strips. Attach them to the frame of your doors with adhesive, screws, or nails. You can also buy fabric draft excluders to put in front of doors. Retailers such as Amazon and Dunelm have magnetic thermal insulated door panels for £29.99.

Make sure furniture isn’t blocking radiators

Don’t block your radiators with furniture or sofas as it stops heat being distributed throughout the room. You should leave around 6 to 12 inches between any furniture and radiators to ensure free movement of air and circulation of heat.

Tin foil the radiators

Fit reflective panels behind radiators especially those that are fixed to external walls. You can pick them up for as little as £8.99. Alternatively, tin foil works just as well. It works by reflecting heat into the room instead of it being lost through the cold wall.

Layer up or heat yourself

You should make sure to layer up clothing at all times to trap heat against your body. Start with thermal vests, t shirts, jumpers and a coat or gilet, and invest in good quality, thick socks. Alternatively, you could invest in heated clothes to keep you toasty all day long. It cost just pennies to charge the batteries overnight.

Use electric or weighted blankets
Electric blanket sales have increased 500% in Europe in the past year. They are a very cost-effective way of keeping you warm when in bed, working or watching TV and reading.

Weighted blankets – designed primarily to alleviate feelings of anxiety – are also great insulators and will keep you warm for longer.

Use a hot water bottle

Sitting or sleeping with a hot water bottle is a really cheap way to keep warm. Just be careful as rubber deteriorates over time so old hot water bottles can break and cause serious burns. Check them regularly for signs of wear and tear.

Insulate pipework & hot water tank

While not a quick fix that will help you today, insulating your pipes is easy and relatively cheap. Without insultation a lot of warmth is lost through pipes into cold spaces like your loft, meaning you need more energy to heat your house. It costs around £1.75 per meter to insulate your pipes. All you need to do is buy the right size foam tube and fit it over.

Find warm, safe places

Warm spaces are being hosted in libraries and community centres up and down the country. They’ve also been set up in theatres, art galleries, museums, children’s centres, churches, and other religious buildings. They allow people to spend time in a heated environment where there’s often a free hot drink on offer and the opportunity to chat. You can find your nearest warm space either by contacting your local council or visiting www.warmspaces.org

Get help from your local council

Your local council might be able to help you with money towards your energy bills or with the cost of making your home more energy efficient through the Household Support Fund. Each council chooses how they’ll distribute their fund – they may offer vouchers or cash. To find out what support is available to you, speak to your local council or visit www.gov.uk

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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