Fuel prices are rising every year, and more and more homes are falling into the category of “fuel poor”, which means that they spend 10% or more of their income in order to achieve adequate warmth and light. If you’re finding yourself struggling to stay warm while keeping your gas and electricity bills in check, then try these tips.
- Make sure your windows and doors are shut: If you open the window in the bathroom to let some steam out, then don’t forget to close it, you could be losing a ton of heat.
- Fit draft excluders: They don’t cost much, and can make the world of difference.
- Switch supplier: If you haven’t changed your energy supplier in the last few years, you could be paying too much. You could save a fortune if you compared prices and switched online.
- Wrap up: Wear slippers to keep your feet comfortable, and put on a few layers of thin clothing (rather than one thick, heavy item) to keep the rest of your body warm.
- Enjoy some hot drinks: Regular cups of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate will help to keep you warm. Holding a nice warm mug will take the edge off if you get cold hands, too. Avoid alcohol when you’re feeling cold.
- Eat well: Your body needs fuel. Eat a balanced diet, and try to have at least one hot meal a day, even if you can’t face cooking.
- Exercise: Regular gentle exercise improves circulation, which will help you stay warm. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise. A little calisthenics or some vigorous housework will have a positive effect.
- Pick one room to heat: If you’re on a really tight budget, or just have a really large house, pick one room to heat throughout the day, and spend most of your time in there. You should still allow the heating to come on in the other rooms at least once or twice a day to prevent burst pipes, though.
- Stay warm at night: Waking up cold in the middle of the night isn’t fun. Invest in an electric blanket, and wear socks and pyjamas to bed. Electric blankets aren’t expensive to run, and they’re available quite cheaply from the kind of discount stores that sell budget beds. For safety reasons, never use a hot water bottle and an electric blanket at the same time.
- Stay indoors: If it’s really cold or windy outside, stay inside unless there’s a good reason to go out. Getting warm again when you’re feeling cold is harder than staying warm in the first place.
Cold weather is unpleasant for everyone, but it’s especially difficult for people who live in isolated rural areas, and for those who struggle to pay their energy bills. If you’re finding it difficult this winter, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your local council may be able to offer you energy saving advice, or offer discounted home improvements that could reduce your energy usage in the long term.