Cold as ice? How to stay warm without whacking up the heating

November 30, 2021
Home improvements
How To

Use the following techniques to stay warm at home this winter:

  • Get to know your central heating system. Set your thermostat to align with your schedule and install a smart meter, which can reduce household electricity use by 2.8% and gas use by 2%.
  • Stop draughts. Draught-proof windows and doors, block cracks in the floor and skirting boards using a sealant, get a cover for your letterbox and keyholes and use a chimney balloon in unused open fireplaces.
  • Layer up. JohnEric Smith of Mississippi State University recommends concentrating on keeping your core warm. If this cools, blood will be diverted towards it from your peripheries, making them feel cold.
  • Get curtains. Close curtains at dusk to prevent heat loss though windows. Heavy, lined curtains are most effective but can be extremely expensive, so consider secondhand options.
  • Avoid cold feet. You can insulate wooden floors yourself fairly easily (simply lift the floorboards and lay mineral wool insulation between the joists). Alternatively, rugs, carpets, socks and slippers can all help.
  • Eat and drink yourself warm. Eating harder-to-digest foods (i.e., those that are higher in fat and protein) will make your body work harder and increase its temperature. Hot drinks can also help. Avoid alcohol, as the initial feeling of warmth disguises the fact that it causes you to lose heat overall while, as a depressant, it is likely to make you less active.
  • Move around. Moderate levels of physical activity will get your blood pumping and warm your body. However, if you exercise to the point of sweating, you will start losing heat faster.
  • Focus warmth. Instead of trying to heat all of your home, concentrate on heating the places you actually use, which could involve turning up the radiators in the room you work in, adding an extra blanket to your bed or using a hot water bottle.
  • Steal heat. If it’s sunny, make sure to open your curtains (especially in south-facing rooms) and consider leaving your oven door open after cooking to warm your kitchen.