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Top tips for staying warm this winter

22nd September 2014

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

With more than 2.9 million homes in the UK in fuel poverty, it is incredibly important that we look after ourselves during cold conditions. Many worry about the rising fuel costs and the implications this may have on their finances, but with our handy tips for staying warm this winter, you should be able to enjoy a cosy home without breaking the bank.

Wrap up warm

Layering thin items of clothing has been proven to keep you warmer than one thicker layer. This is because several thin layers are able to trap the warm air more efficiently and keep it closer to the body.

When getting dressed, remember that fabrics such as cotton, fleece, and wool are all recommended to keep the body as warm as possible. If it is particularly cold, then wearing a hat and a scarf will prevent heat escaping from areas where the majority of warmth is lost, and investing in thermals to wear to bed will provide you with extra warmth when you sleep.

Another great way to both warm up and relax your joints, is to enjoy a soak in the bath or take a wash in a walk in shower cubicle, before getting dressed or ready for bed. Check out our guide to top products for your walk in bath to help you make the most of this treat.

Eat plenty of hot food

As food is a vital source of energy, it is essential that your diet is well looked after during the colder months. Maintaining a balanced diet will help to keep illnesses at bay, as well as keeping your body fuelled and ready to combat the cold. It is important to continue eating a variety of fruit and vegetables, which are still just as nutritious if tinned or frozen.

Both eating hot food and drinking hot beverages will warm you from the inside, with soups, coffee and cups of tea making perfect hand warmers too! Another top tip is to keep well-stocked cupboards in case of severe cold weather, as it will prevent you from having to leave the house when it is icy or snowy outside.

Only heat rooms in use

If possible, it is suggested that only the main rooms in the house that get used are heated, such as the living room and bedroom. Living rooms can be heated while in use to a guide of 21°C, with bedrooms being heated just before you head to bed to a slightly cooler 18°C. Following these guidelines will help to save on energy bills.

Also, if you know that you’re going to be out for a long period of the day, use the timer on your thermostat to ensure the heating is only turned on an hour before your return. For a bit of added heat, hot water bottles or electric blankets can be used, although they should never both be used at the same time. Electric blankets are a quick and easy way to warm up, and once finished with can be easily stored in the pockets of comfortable riser recliner chairs, ideal for winter evenings at home.

Keep the house insulated

Heating a house is one thing, but keeping that heat inside is another. Large amounts of heat can be wasted by not taking the right measures, so here are a few suggestions on how to keep your house insulated as best as possible. Always shut doors behind you and close the curtains as soon as the evening becomes dark to ensure that heat cannot escape as easily.

Also, if possible, it is extremely beneficial to add thermal linings to curtains or to purchase keyhole covers to prevent any draughts. Another common mistake is covering radiators with furniture or curtains, so check your home and make sure that these are not obstructed.

Research grants available

There are a variety of schemes available that can help those over 60 or with disabilities, either financially or by providing solutions. Both winter fuel payments and cold weather payments can help with fuel bills, and these will be calculated depending on certain benefits and age.

In order to be efficient, lofts should have at least 10-11 inches of insulation, but if this is not the case for your home, then check to see if you are eligible for free or subsidised cavity wall and loft insulation. However, if you’re not entitled to a grant, you could compare and switch energy suppliers or pay by direct debit to save yourself some money.

For more guidance, read the latest ‘Keep Warm Keep Well’ leaflet, which provides advice for those over 60 and for people living with disabilities.

Image Credit: Tim, sand_and_sky, William Warby, Steven Lilley, Northern Ireland Executive (Flickr.com)

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.