Hello Winter! Hello freezing cold! Hello frosted toes and frozen ears...
In London and the rest of the UK, people switch their central heating on in October and use it daily until March or April. From a study run by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in 2018, heating homes accounts for over 70% of household energy consumption. Yes, I am talking about your money. So, now that winter is here to stay (for a few more weeks at least) I thought I'd share with you some pro (and cheap) tips to comfortably and warmly live in your home.
1. Bleed your radiators
Nope, I am not talking about chopping your radiators off. Every now and then, you need to check if your radiators are heating to their maximum capacity. If not, you simply need to release the air which is trapped inside, which is stopping the hot water from rising. Simply use a radiator bleed key (about £1) to open the little valve at the top of the radiator. At first you’ll hear air hiss and, as soon as a drop of water comes out, you close it up again. Done! Now your radiators are working properly which means more heat for you. YAY!
2. Move your sofa out of the way
I know, it's amazing to feel warm and cosy in front of the radiator, but your sofa is actually absorbing all the heat that could spread around the rest of your home. So, move it. Do it now.
3. Block out the draughts
You can get a draught excluder for a few quid at any DIY shop or even make your own sausage dog to keep the warmth in. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that DIY draught-proofing your doors, windows and cracks in the floor could save £25 per year. So you can save money, by doing this yourself for very little cost.
4. Turn on the fan
Yes, you read that right. Hot air, in fact, is lighter than cold air, therefore, it rises to the ceiling. If you use your fan (at the lowest setting), to recirculate air in your room, the warm air will then come back down.
5. Get your grandma curtains
Our grandmas know things. They might not be super-advanced with the latest technology, but they surely knew strategies to keep warm in winter (and hundreds of other things). One basic thing they did was to hang thick curtains on their windows. Maybe they weren't minimal or stylish, but they sure stopped the warmth from going outside. So forget about fashion, and pick a thick curtain too. Like granny's style.
6. Open the curtains and the blinds
As much as you don't want the warmth to get out, you do want the warmth to come in, right? So, why not use the most incredible and natural source of warmth when available? I'm talking about the sun of course! One easy way to stay warm during the cold winter is to open your blinds and/or curtains to let the sunshine in. Then close them up to keep the warmth inside once the sun has gone down.
7. Place tin foil behind your radiators
Yes, I was sceptical too, but then I tried this trick by BT.com, and it actually worked! BT recommends putting alumininum foil on the wall behind radiators located under windows. Stick the shiny side toward the radiator, so that the heat will bounce back into the room rather than out of the window.
8. Get Double-glazed Windows
When I first moved to London, I was shocked to see how many homes didn't have double glazed windows. In Italy, where I come from, it's normal, but in London, windows are a rather thin pane of glass separating the inner world from the cold outside. Thanks to our Homecheckers and their 360 degree videos, you can always check what type of windows are in your preferred home before booking. But, let's say you are living in a place with single-glazed windows and your landlord doesn't want to buy new ones - don't despair. There is a special film you can put across your windows that has a similar effect. Of course, it's not the same as a double, hermetic glass, but exceptional situations call for exceptional resources, right? Otherwise, you can also buy some self-adhesive foam strips which can help seal any gaps in the edges of windows.
9. Shut your chimney
Whether it's just a decorative one or an actual one, always remember to shut it (when not in use). An open fireplace takes all the heat in your home and sends it to the sky. There are cheap options to solve this problem like a chimney balloon or woollen chimney insulators.
10. Seal unused rooms
If you are lucky enough to have extra rooms that you don't often use, close them. Keeping doors closed will prevent cold air from moving in from the rest of the house and contain the heat you've generated in a smaller area.
11. Make cupcakes!
Or anything else in the oven. Once dinner comes out of the oven, we all close the door again, right? But why waste that heat? Leave the oven door open and let the heat transfer slowly into your kitchen and to the rest of your home. It’ll add an extra source of heat to your heaters and fireplace. Plus, you get to eat cupcakes (pizza, lasagne or whatever else you fancy cooking!).
Do you have any extra "granny" tips I forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below and share this post with your friends and family!