Keeping warm this winter
Tips to help navigate the cost of living crisis
A mixture of Brexit, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and inflation have sent everyday costs soaring, especially energy bills. That’s why we’ve put together our tips on insulating your home, keeping warm in the most cost-efficient way and where to find more support if you need it.
Insulate your home
Making sure your home is well insulated will help you stay cosy and warm while lowering your energy bills.
- If you have your radiators on, make sure they’re working as efficiently as possible and the heat is being directly to where you want it to go – towards yourself and not lost to the walls or the windows! First, bleed your radiators, then put reflective foil behind them so the heat that would warm up the wall behind the radiator is reflected back into the room. Some people also like to put a shelf up above their radiator – especially if it is below a window- which helps the heat stay in the room.
- Using a draught excluder is a simple but effective way of keeping warm air in a room and stopping cold air from entering the room.
- Curtains insulate your home better than blinds, so consider having well-fitted, insulated curtains to reduce the amount of heat lost via the windows.
- Adding rugs to your home brightens up the space and also limits heat loss from the floor which will be especially effective if you have bare floorboards.
- If you’re a homeowner, you can get recommendations from the government on ways you can save energy in your home: https://www.gov.uk/improve-energy-efficiency
Keep yourself toasty
Focusing on warming yourself can be more effective than turning up the heat in your home. Keep yourself toasty from the inside out by using the following tips.
- Hot water bottles or microwaveable ‘heat bags’ can be a game changer in cold weather and come in a few shapes and sizes. Cuddle up on the sofa with one in the evening, or if you work from home, place one on your lap for instant warmth while you work.
- Whether your go-to is a strong tea, an indulgent hot chocolate or a black coffee, regular hot drinks and bowls of soups can make a big difference to how you’re feeling and keep away the cold, at least temporarily.
- Boil only the amount of water you need for your drink rather than filling up the kettle. Or, make up a large flask in the morning to avoid boiling the kettle multiple times throughout the day.
- Layer up from head to toe - think many thin layers of clothing, thick socks, slippers and even handwarmers. You might also want to invest in ultra warm clothing if you can – wear thermals under your outfit or take a look at wearable blankets. Although these aren’t everyone’s cup of tea (and probably aren’t going to win any fashion awards!), these fleecy, sleeved blankets are becoming increasingly popular as they’re a good way of keeping snug this winter.
Get energy savvy
- If you live alone or if you’re alone at home during the day, consider heating just one room instead of the whole house. Depending on your heating system, you could turn off radiators in unused rooms or lower the settings in rooms where you don’t need as much heat. Or, run a portable heater or an oil heater in one room and if you want to move room, just take your heater with you.
- Use an electric blanket – or if you’re feeling fancy – an electric blanket and a hot water bottle to pre-warm your bed and feel cosy at night. Electric blankets are a really cost-effective way to heat up your bed but be sure to use them safely as they can be a fire risk if used incorrectly.
- Try turning down the thermostat by one degree (and putting on an extra layer if you feel chilly), as this small change can add up over the year.
While these tips are designed to help you reduce the amount of heating you use, please bear in mind that not heating your home can lead to damp, mould and frozen pipes, which can often be expensive to fix. Make sure your home is also well ventilated to avoid mould and if you or someone you live with is elderly or has a health condition, talk to a GP and make sure they are comfortable. These tips may not be suitable for everyone – please don’t damage your home or your health by completely turning off the heating.
If you’re struggling to pay bills:
- See what support your energy supplier can give you: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/how-to-get-help-if-you-re-struggling-with-your-energy-bills-/
- Cost of living support available from the government: https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk
- Take a look at Citizen’s Advice list and see which grants and benefits you’re eligible for: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/get-help-paying-your-bills/grants-and-benefits-to-help-you-pay-your-energy-bills/
Talk to Ben- we’re here for you
If you want someone to talk to, talk to us. We’re here to help. You can call us on 08081 311 333 or chat with us online.
We are here for anyone who works, or has worked in UK Automotive, and their family dependants. If you’re not sure if or how Ben can support you, please get in touch. Our friendly helpline team will be able to chat through your options and support you in a way that works best for you.