Looks like a cold, cold winter… Both inside and out

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Energy prices are through the roof and you have no control. As I look through my window I can see the snow still on the ground, and Jack Frost has added his contribution over the last few days too!

I discovered this morning ice on the inside of one door, now that means it’s cold and strangely, I’m Ok with it yet I do understand for many it’s not Ok, its actually really dangerous, especially for those who have long-term health conditions, the very small and those who are in their more advanced years.

As a kid, I grew up with my dad being an energy conservation engineer for a large city council. You can imagine what that was like. Turning the heating up wasn’t an option, we had to put on an extra jumper or two!

Looking back, I’m really glad I grew up this way as it has provided me with understanding and resources that I may not have had.

5 years ago, I moved into an old cottage, part of which dates back to 1486 ish. We have log fires and are on oil for heating and hot water. The boiler was nearly 30 years old and some of the radiators were probably 70! My upbringing and grounding in energy management/conservation have been an incredible help.

So, what can you do to keep warmer at home this winter?

Research how best to run your heating system. Do you just have it set to come on at certain times or leave it on low and run it more constantly? I can’t tell you what works best for you as all homes, and all heating systems, and the people that live in those homes are different. If you have thermostatic controls on each radiator then in the rooms you use less, turn those down. Ensure that your boiler is serviced and working efficiently.

Do the basic stuff that you can control. Put two pairs of socks on, and add an extra layer. Wear clothes with fibres that will trap the heat such as wool or fleece. If you are working at a keyboard and your hands get, wear fingerless gloves. You can also add a hat. We lose an incredible amount of heat from our heads, so save it!

Wear slippers, you would be surprised how many folks don’t. If you like the odd skiing holiday, get out the thermals and if you don’t, invest in some. You can pick up cheap ones, they don’t have to be top of the range.

Ensure that you eat warm foods and have warm drinks. Take the time to drink the drink when it is warm and hold the cup in your hands. It’s all about the little things.

As for the house, find those draughts and stop them. Check doors and windows. If curtains don’t need to be opened, then don’t open them. If your curtains hang over the radiators took them behind. This stops the heat from going directly to the window, instead, it comes into the room where you want it. Put curtains up behind the front and back doors. You don’t have to go over the top, an old garden cane resting on a couple of hooks, with a curtain hanging down. You could even use a blanket. This brings me to my next tip. Put blankets in all rooms. Make them available. Put them on your beds. You can pick them up cheaply in charity shops if money is tight, or you can even make your own. I learned to crochet some years ago, which means I can be warm and happy undertaking a hobby at the same time. If you need to insulate, there are grants available depending on your circumstances.

We also need to talk about electricity. Simple rule, if you are not using it, turn it off! That means at the switch on the wall. I haven’t put my outside lights on now for three months. I don’t need to, so I’m not going to. If you leave a room, don’t leave the light on.

Most of the things I have mentioned you can do on a very small budget. Don’t think energy-saving measures have to cost a fortune, they don’t.

The other really good thing you can do is not get too immersed in the news. How does that save energy and keep me warm I hear you wonder? Well the thing is our brains love something to worry about, we are negatively hard-wired and we need to worry, so don’t feed it stuff that it needs to worry about.

Be present, be realistic so if it’s -4 put that heating on. Worrying and living in fear is not going to change anything, it will just make everything 10 times worse.

So, control things you can!