11 Low-tech ways to keep your home warm this winter
When the temperature drops outside you want your home to be a warm, comfortable haven. You can boost the cosiness factor without having to splash out on pricey high-tech gadgets.
1. Get draping
Thick, heavy curtains help prevent heat loss through windows, says uSwitch.com. The longer and thicker the better so go for thermal-lined floor-to-ceiling curtains if possible. To save money line the curtains yourself with an inexpensive fleece material or a PVC shower curtain (or ask someone with a sewing machine to do it for you). You don't need to restrict curtains to windows either. A heavy curtain in front of the outside of a door adds another layer of warmth.
2. Use natural energy sources
Make sure you keep those heavy curtains wide open during the day, in order to take advantage of as much natural heat (i.e. sunlight) as possible. According to Age UK, closing your curtains as soon as dusk falls maximises your home's potential to retain that natural heat.
3. Reflect the heat
You can't get much more low-tech than tin foil, which can be a really effective way to prevent unnecessary heat loss from radiators, especially those attached to external walls or directly under windows. By fixing foil on the wall behind the radiator (foil specially designed for this purpose is available from home improvement shops but ordinary, good quality kitchen foil will do) heat is reflected back into the room, says MoneyMagpie.com.
4. Work with what you've got
If you have old radiators make sure they are bled and working correctly. Putting a shelf above the radiator, especially if you have high ceilings, can help stop the hot air rising above it, suggests the Green Living Centre. Just make sure you don't place things on the radiator itself.
5. Fake it
Fake double glazing, if your budget won't stretch to the real thing. Attach a special film for single-glazed windows to the window frame with double-sided tape and seal it with a hairdryer. Seal any gaps in window edges with self-adhesive foam strips or longer-lasting metal or plastic strips with brushes or wipers attached.
6. Carry out some repair work
Repair damage to frames, putty and/or glass in old windows. Proper sprung metal weatherstripping and exterior storm windows can make a big difference and will be way cheaper than replacement windows.
7. Layer floors
Cover bare floorboards with rugs, blankets, cushions — anything to to help mitigate heat loss. If there are any cracks or gaps in the boards fill them with a suitable silicone-based product. Do the same with any cracks in doorways.
8. Use your timer
Don't be fooled into thinking keeping your heating on all day every day during the cold months is the best option. Age UK recommends setting the timer to switch the heating on earlier when it's cold, instead of turning the thermostat up to heat the house quickly.
9. Add colour and texture to your walls
Paint your interior walls a warm, bright colour and hang tapestries to provide an additional layer of warmth.
10. Heat your home with pads
Heated pads can be used all over the house, such as under desks and under blankets on the couch. Pop a heated mattress pad underneath the fitted sheet on your bed and don't underestimate the ability of a good old-fashioned hot water bottle to keep you toasty.
11. Wrap up!
Pile on the layers to ward off the chill. Thermal underwear, a dressing gown, a onesie, a slanket, your warmest jammies, knitted slippers, a fleece hat and gloves — wear whatever you need for maximum cosiness.
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