I love Winter but Iím not so keen on the resulting hike in my electricity bills from running the heater.
Photo: Stuart Miles, Freedigitalphotos.net
Besides the more obvious solution of wearing more clothes, here are some ways that we can keep those winter heating bills as low as possible:
Walk around your house and put your hand or face close to your window and door gaps. Can you feel cold air? This is costing you unnecessary money, so start by sealing any gaps that may be letting cold air in. This is most common around the bottoms of doors and with sash windows. Add some inexpensive weather stripping which you can buy in rolls and simply cut to fit.
If you have an open plan house itís much trickier to heat. Consider temporary curtaining for some doorways that can be easily attached on a cold day and removed when no longer needed. This can also apply to breakfast bars. I had a custom-made vertical drape made that closes my kitchen off from the living area.
If there is a bit of sun about, take advantage of it by opening up you curtains and blinds on that side of the house for a while and let the glass warm up. Remember though to close them up again before the evening chill arrives.
We all know that hot air rises, so if you have a ceiling fan, run it on the slowest setting to push the warmth from your heater downwards and spread it more evenly throughout the room. This is cheaper than running the heating on high. Most ceiling fans have a small switch on the side to change the direction of the rotation depending on the season (clockwise for winter).
If you only want to warm yourself, nothing beats the comfort of a soft throw rug or blanket (Iíve never understood the ĎSnuggieí idea Ė it looks like a back-to-front dressing gown to me Ė but theyíve sold millions of them). When buying a throw rug, remember that feel is as important as looks. There are some lovely looking ones that donít feel that soft to the touch. You can buy soft furry or fluffy ones that feel quite luxurious on the skin.
One of my favourite ways to stay warm is with a wheat-filled heat bag. I make them myself as itís much cheaper and I always have a couple of spares for visitors. These are little pillows (usually made from corduroy fabric) that contain cleaned wheat. Warmed in the microwave for a few minutes, they make a safe and comfortable alternative to the old hot water bottle and can be used over and over.
Last year I heated my house with tealight candles and two clay pots.
I had one in my bedroom on a safe stand and two in my living area. Whilst they basically take the chill off the house they will not make your house piping hot. They must be placed where children and animals cant reach them and would advise you don't use them with elderly or disabled people.
I also leave my bedroom door slightly open.
The candles I buy are from the reject shop. They are cheap and don't give off black smoke. I use the small ones for day time use but the longer burning ones for night.
Place a clay/saucer on a safe area. Place 1-5 tealight candles on saucer.Put a wire stand over (like a metal upturned serviette/napkin holder. Then on top of the metal stand place an upturned clay pot the hole must be covered with something like the empty metal tealight case.
Then place a larger upturned clay pot over first clay pot do not cover hole.
Light the candles.
N.B. REMEMBER TO BLOW OUT WHEN LEAVING THE HOUSE. NEVER TO LEAVE /PLACE NEAR OTHER OBJECTS, NEAR MATERIAL SUCH AS CURTAINS OR WHERE ANIMALS,CHILDREN OR DISABLED PEOPLE MIGHT TOUCH.
I CAN SEND A PICTURE FROM MY MOBILE IF REQUESTED BUT DONT KNOW HOW TO DOWNLOAD ONTO HERE.