Autumn has so far been balmy, but forecasters predict colder weather is on its way. Don’t just hope for the best: prepare your house for winter now to avoid boiler emergencies and call-out prices, while protecting against those winter sniffles.
Here are seven handy tips to keep your home toasty this winter, so you can stay healthy and comfortable without paying a fortune.
1) Check your heating system
It may sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget to check your heating system before winter beds in. Call a plumber to have your boiler serviced, so it performs well and efficiently throughout the year. After all, no one likes a cold shower in December, do they?
If you’re unsure about how to bleed your radiators, ask the plumber to help with this, too. This will release any air trapped at the top of the radiator, which prevents the hot water from rising all the way up.
2) Know your temperature
After checking the heating system, it is important to know what temperature your house should be.
It’s tempting to turn the thermostat all the way up when it’s freezing cold outside, but research shows this can disrupt your natural cycle or body clock. Plus, it’s expensive. Aim to set your main room thermostat to between 64 F° / 18 C° and 70 F° / 21 C°. This way you’ll still avoid frozen pipes and tanks.
3) Confront your enemies: draughts and humidity
Even modern windows and doors can have gaps that let in draughts. And just a small draught can make a room cold. Old-fashioned draught blockers like ‘sausage dogs’ work well. Place them at the bottom of your doors and windows to stop that precious energy escaping.
If you want to take it a step further, call in professionals to install loft insulation.
Damp and mould is caused by excess moisture in your home. Leaking pipes, rising damp in the basement, or rain seeping through the roof or window frames may be the source. Showering can affect the amount of moisture in the air, too, especially in winter when people tend to take longer, hotter showers.
Wet rooms can help prevent water running into areas where it shouldn’t, effectively waterproofing your bathroom and ensuring all water is channelled via a central drain.
4) Re-use heat from the oven
Winter is a great time for home-cooking. Perhaps there’s a new recipe for beef stew or vegetable lasagne you’ve been wanting to try? When you take whatever you’ve made out of the oven, don’t shut the door; leave it open to allow the heat into your kitchen. It’ll keep you warm while you eat.
5) Move your sofa
If you place your sofa in front of the radiator, it will absorb all the heat that should be warming the rest of the room. Try and keep large pieces of furniture away from the radiator to let hot air circulate freely.
When you sit for a long period, your blood circulation slows down and you tend to feel slightly colder. Keep a throw on your sofa to stay cosy and warm whilst enjoying your favourite TV show.
6) Remember curtains and rugs
Keep your curtains open during the day to let sunlight and natural heat come in (it’s free, after all) and close them before it gets dark to create another layer of insulation.
At the same time, consider adding rugs to wooden floors or those with gaps where cold air can enter. According to the National Energy Foundation, you can lose up to 10% of heat through uninsulated floors, so think about your poor toes.
7) Stock up on wholesome food
Last, but not least, you should also enjoy the perks of winter – like delicious food. Although hearty and filling, comfort food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Roasted root vegetables, warming casseroles and creamy soups come into their own in colder weather, providing our bodies with nutrients that support our immune system, helping us sail through the season with more ease.
Sweet treats can be good, too. A hot (dark) chocolate once in a while can benefit your health, as it’s rich in minerals and vitamins, and releases feel-good endorphins. Cocoa beans are also a natural source of energy that can help keep you warm. What could be better?
Our lifestyles naturally change with the seasons, and so do our homes. Winter can make all of us feel a little sluggish, so it’s important to create a home environment that’s welcoming and relaxing.