How to heat your home for free
The UK is facing a cost of living crisis with soaring costs of energy, petrol, food prices, taxes and inflation.
The highest increase is set to be within household energy bills due to the rise of the energy price cap on 1st April 2022, resulting in an expectation that energy bills could rise up to 50%.
This increase estimate was calculated before war began in Ukraine and the supply of energy was deemed unstable, increasing prices further.
Households are already seeking ways to cut back where they can, including reducing their use of the central heating, or even turning it off altogether!
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to heat your home for free and some relatively inexpensive investments to help keep your property warm long-term.
Free ways to keep warm
Let’s first cover a range of practical hints and tips to keep your home warm for free.
#1 Let the sunshine in
Even during the winter months, the sunshine can be strong enough to warm up rooms through glass windows so make sure the curtains are opened during daylight hours to let in the natural sunlight.
In fact, this can be so effective that some people adopt a “passive solar” house design when building their homes.
#2 Use hot water bottles or microwavable heating pads
Hot water bottles can help keep your body temperature up when stationary such as working from home or relaxing in front of the TV.
Alternatives to boiling the kettle for hot water bottles are using a microwavable heat pack or chemical type hand warmers.
#3 Layer up
Putting on an extra layer or two can help keep warm. Try to use more thin layers for additional insulation purposes or if you have thermal base layers, these can also be worn under thin layers.
Also, if you are really feeling the chill, try adding a woolie hat and/or scarf as often the head and neck areas are the most exposed.
If you are cosying up to watch a movie or do some reading, a blanket, duvet or sleeping bag can all help add another layer.
#4 Warm up your feet
Feet often have contact with cool flooring surfaces therefore to keep them warm will benefit your whole body. Either add an extra pair of socks or your favourite slippers to keep warm.
#5 Keep moving
If you are feeling the cold, get up and move around. There are simple ways either by increasing your steps to do everyday tasks, putting on an exercise DVD or doing the hoovering.
#6 Warm up from the inside
Hot drinks will help to warm from the inside, no matter if your tipple of choice is tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or something else! Alternatively try hot soup for meals instead of sandwiches to warm from within.
#7 Cook at home
Using the cooker and hob will not only provide a hot meal to enjoy but will heat the kitchen areas too. If you are staying in all day, make the most of warming up the home whilst preparing bulk cooking to save energy.
Once finished cooking, another tip is to leave the oven door open so that the remaining heat flows around the property.
Obviously, only do this if it is safe to do so keeping an eye on pets and vulnerable members of the family that may scold themselves.
#8 Keep doors to unused rooms closed
In order to keep the heat in the most occupied areas of the property, shut doors to rooms that are used less often.
#9 Go up a floor
If your property consists of a number of floors, spend more time upstairs as hot air rises.
#10 Move furniture away from radiators
Relocating furniture away from radiators will help the circulation of the warm air when the heating is running.
#11 Bleed the radiators
If the radiators in the property are cool at the top, there is likely to be trapped air preventing them from warming up and therefore running the heating system effectively.
Bleeding the radiators is a fairly simple process requiring a radiator key and a towel to soak up any drips of water.
There are plenty of step-by-step DIY videos available online of the process should you require some guidance.
#12 Install shelves above radiators
A horizontal surface hung above each radiator will prevent the warm air from rising to the ceiling and instead would be redirected around the room.
#13 Create a terracotta heater
Terracotta heaters can be an effective source of heat that are powered only by a single tea light.
The heaters are easy to make following online instructions and can be a fun DIY project, that also provides hours of heat for free.
Once lit, ensure that children and pets are not left unsupervised with the candles or hot terracotta pot.
#14 Use bubble wrap to insulate windows
During a severe cold snap, bubble wrap can be used inside the windowpanes to create a temporary additional insulation layer.
As Window Central explains “you could reduce the heat lost by a staggering 54% to 64%. This also translates into lower heating bills in the long run.”
Cost-effective improvements to keep warm
In this next section we will cover some cost-effective home improvements that can help keep your home warm.
Stopping heat from escaping the property will help keep it warm and more energy efficient.
There are a range of different types of insulation available depending on the type of property from loft insulation, cavity insulation or underfloor insulation.
Heat can also escape a property through gaps around the windows for example or via letterboxes or pet flaps.
Draught proofing measures can vary in costs depending on the measure required however many installations can be undertaken by yourself once sourced the materials and following online user guides.
Replace your winter duvet with a high tog version
Keeping warm at night can be simple with an upgraded duvet in a higher tog than a previous version.
Add rugs to cold floors
Rugs help keep you warm by providing another barrier between your feet and the cold floor.
Energy saving tips
When it is simply too cold not to run the central heating, making just a few small tweaks can help save energy and of course money too.
#1 Turn down the thermostat
Even reducing the heating settings by 1 degree can help save energy and reduce bills.
#2 Reduce the programme
Running the heating system less often will help save on the household energy bills.
#3 Save the water from a kettle
When the kettle is boiled, pour any spare hot water into a flask to save it for your next hot drink.
Although some of the tips listed are not entirely free, the majority are practical and actionable for almost any household.
If you are struggling with the cost of your heating, check out the government website to ensure that you are claiming any benefits you are eligible for, such as the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
Additionally, you may want to apply for an ECO grant and it’s always worth contacting your energy provider to ask if there are any schemes available to help either reduce consumption or assist with the ever-increasing costs.
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