How to keep your house warm in winter

A woman leans against a radiator at home, beside a hot mug of tea.

Keeping your home warm when it’s very cold outside can be a struggle, particularly if you’re trying to keep your winter heating bills down to save money. Consequently, you might be wondering if there are any simple changes you can make around the house to help your money go further and keep your home warmer. Keep reading to learn more.

How to keep your house warm in the winter

Before we get started, it’s important to note that these tips and techniques aren’t a substitute for the traditional methods of heating your home. Whether you have a log burner, a gas fire or central heating, you’ll still need to use it at some point over the course of the winter to help keep your house warm. However, the following recommendations may help to delay the eventual turning on of the heating, and to make your home more energy efficient, meaning you rely on your heating less. We suggest using a thermostat to ensure you use your heating only once the temperatures drop to a certain level.

Use your curtains wisely

Many of us close our curtains or blinds once the skies get dark in winter, but did you know that there may be a more efficient way of doing things? Curtains act as a layer of insulation over your windows – a place where heat is usually lost more easily during the winter. By closing the curtains earlier, your home will be more insulated for longer, reducing heat loss and therefore reducing the amount of heat you need to generate.

However, that isn’t to say you should keep your curtains closed 24/7 in the winter months. In fact, this can have the opposite effect, preventing the sun from warming your home. Although the sun isn’t as powerful in winter as it is in summer, it’s worth opening the curtains in rooms which face the sun so that any heat can enter your home. Then, once the sun has moved away, or it’s getting dark, the curtains can be closed again.

Close off unused areas

When you turn your heating on, that warmer air has to spread through your whole house in order for you to feel warmer. If the space it heats is smaller, the temperature will rise quicker, with less energy or fuel used to do it. Therefore, it makes sense to close the doors of any rooms you don’t want heated up.

You might assume that there’s nowhere in your home you don’t want to keep warm, but take the time to think about it. If you have a conservatory or similar room, closing the door to this can limit the heat loss through all that glass. You might also close off bedrooms to keep them cool so you can get a better night’s sleep. It’s also a good idea to close off any rooms you don’t use often, such as spare bedrooms or storage cupboards. If you use a log fire in your sitting room, you might consider closing the door to warm this space up much quicker.

Another room you might not want to heat up is the kitchen. While you don’t want to be cold in there, consider that your kitchen will naturally warm up while you cook. Because of this, you might also think about opening the door to the room and the oven after you’ve finished cooking so that the heat can spread through the rest of the house – although perhaps not if you’ve been cooking something particularly pungent!

Avoid blocking your heat sources

One mistake that is commonly made when setting up a room is to put furniture in front of heaters and radiators. While it may seem like a good idea to position your armchair right in front of the radiator, this can actually block the heat from reaching the rest of the room as easily, meaning it takes longer to warm up. Consider moving your furniture further away from heat sources to allow for a better circulation of heat.

This is also something that happens with laundry. While many of us drape damp washing over the radiators or place airers near the fire, this isn’t always the best option. It may well dry off your washing a treat, but it can prevent you from feeling as warm as you’d like.

Try radiator reflector panels

If you’ve tried all that and your radiators still aren’t warming your house up quickly enough, it may be that too much heat is being lost through the walls. Your radiator is fixed to the wall to radiate heat out into the room, but it radiates heat in a full circle around itself. Therefore, some of that heat is directed at the wall – and it can seep through.

To increase the amount of heat reaching the room, why not install reflective radiator backer panels? They attach to the wall behind your radiator and reflect heat back into the room. While they’re not 100% effective, they can help to make you feel warmer, as well as saving on those pesky heating bills.

Consider warming the people, not the house

Sometimes, however, heating up your whole house simply isn’t efficient. This can be the case if you only use a few rooms regularly, or if you have a particularly large house. Many people find that high ceilings are attractive, but these too can make it more difficult to heat a home. If this is something that affects you, you may find it more beneficial to heat yourself rather than the house.

In practice, what this means is that you turn the heating down a little so that it heats the house to a lower temperature. You still need it on a bit in order to keep the pipes from freezing and ensure everything works as it should, but heating your home to a lower temperature should reduce your bills.

Since you still need to keep warm, though, you then employ a number of methods to do this. For instance, wearing an extra layer or two of knitwear and having hot drinks can help to keep your temperature up in the daytime. You could also have a blanket over your lap if you’re sitting down for a long period, and try to up your level of exercise to keep your blood moving. At night, switch to a higher tog duvet to keep you snug while you sleep.

The tips and tricks above are by no means foolproof, but they may help you to stay warm this winter without breaking the bank to do it. Remember, keeping yourself at a reasonable temperature helps to prevent all manner of health issues, so whatever you can do to stay warm matters.

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