This year in the UK (All 23 days of it, so far!) we have been rather lucky with the weather. A few storms here and there but nothing major. We live in Bedfordshire, and there have been no severe snow storms, floods or massive temperature drops so far this winter. But, the last few nights we have found the cold outside dropping that little bit lower than we have been used to. Two nights ago it was -5 degrees. Not hugely cold in the grand scheme of things, but more chilly than we have been experienced for some period of time.
Turning up the thermostat is what most people do to get their house toasty and warm when the bad weather strikes. But it’s all well and good putting your heating on, but what can you do to help keep the heat IN your home? You may notice that if you only put the radiators on for an hour or so, as soon as they click off your house starts to cool down very quickly. 35% of heat in our homes is lost through uninsulated walls, 25% through the roof, 35% through the gaps in windows and doors and 10% through the floor*.
Bye, Bye loving warmth. FU cold winter.
(Nearly) Free Things That You Can Do To Help Keep Heat
- Hang heavy curtains instead of thin ones. If you can’t afford new curtains, sew old bedsheets or towels to the backs of your curtains. If you are handy with a sewing machine, this doesn’t have to be a hard or nasty looking jobs. Doubling up the material on curtains really does work instantly.
- I like to tuck our curtains up onto the windowsills. In our house, the radiators are underneath the windows (always seemed like a dumb idea to me) and the heat rises and goes straight under the curtains, against the glass and is instantly lost. By tucking the curtains up, and creating a seal along the windowsill, the heat cant get trapped and is instead forced out into the room.
- Curtains don’t have to be for windows. Hang a curtain the length of the door (from top to floor) over the front and back door, especially if the door has glass in it. It will keep out any drafts from around the door itself, and pesky drafts from letterboxes, cat flaps and keyholes. Put the curtain on a runner for it to easily glide out of the way when not in use.
- Have a go at making your own draft excluders (or buy one if you aren’t very crafty). Old bedsheets can easily be sewn into a tube and stuffed with the rest of the duvet. See the one I made for ourselves here. Old tights stuffed with newspaper also makes great cheap and easy (and very effective) quick fix.
- “Were you born in a barn?” A sentence I think all of our grandmothers have barked at us, at some point in our lives. Close doors behind you! It costs more money to heat up a whole house. Only heat the rooms in use. Leaving doors open sucks cold air through the house, washing away warmth quickly. I find that our bathroom is often the coldest room in the house, so I always make sure the door remains shut. If we have the open fire lit, I shut the living room door to stop the precious heat running away upstairs.
- Fill gaps in walls, flooring and windows/door space. A small gap around the bottom of an external door can very quickly turn a warm room cold.
- Lots of heat can be lost through loft hatches, as the cool drafts blow in. If the loft hatch is loose it’s easy for this cold air to get through, so make sure your loft hatch has a good seal around it.
- This sounds bizarre but I leave the bath full after I have gotten out of it. The warm bath water seems to keep the room warm for quite a while after. I’m not sure if anyone else does this and there’s nothing on the internet about it either, but I swear by this rule!
- In the daytime open curtains to the windows that the sun shines through. Winter sun can be intense and can warm a room very quickly… for free! I am often amazed at how much heat is produced from the sun shining through our windows. Look for the spot on the rug that the cat sleeps on.
- Rugs, rugs, rugs. We have floorboards in our house which look amazing, but the cold air does rise up from the gaps between the boards. By laying rugs down on any flooring, it will give you extra warmth as it stops any drafts and any cold-to-touch laminate or lino from feeling chilly on your feet.
Do you have any cold weather hacks you can share with us? Let me know yours in the comment box!
*stats found via Greenage.
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