Our Winter Warming Ideas

Winter is coming and we live an old 80’s semi detached house so it’s not that warm unless we crank the heating up, although we aren’t affected by price increases (I was lucky enough to get onto fixed tariffs before each one) it’s not very “green”.  In February we are switching to a green energy company in the UK but in the mean time we’ve made some changes to try and make the house better insulated whilst trying not to spend too much. 

Firstly we were given material so made simple curtains to go around our open plan staircase to encourage heat back into our living room.  They have a hem on 3 sides and a large hem to fit a curtain pole through, the most simple you can get really. 

I purchased material locally to make new curtains as the ones on the living room window were far too thin, so we purchased the new material (I don’t mind, I think I support local trade this way) and basically used the old ones as lining.  I decided I’d like a small colour change so made some cushion covers from the leftovers.  The bottom line is that we have a warmer room, with a colour change (not essential I know) but all for under £60, instead of going out and buying everything new.

Behind radiators I have sheets of cardboard (reused of course) with a mylar blanket glued to it to reflect heat back into the rooms.  I also have cardboard behind sofas on outside walls to further try and insulate a little. 

We have a draught excluder made of the leg of an old pair of jeans stuffed with old clothes at the living room door (it opens onto a porch that isn’t insulated) and we are fitting a curtain over it also. 

I have read that it is better to keep heating on constantly and low than to keep switching it on and off, so I’m conducting a test.  We have had a poorly pet so he needed the heating left on really, so I have done for 2 weeks and taken metre readings.  To look at it, it doesn’t appear a drastic difference from normal (heat set higher and coming on for only 6 hours a day).  I’m waiting on a cost from the energy company and shall report this when I get it.  To be honest if it is the same cost it is worth doing as the house stays at a permanent comfortable temperature.  The reasoning is that it takes large amounts of energy to switch the heating on, which I did not know previously.   So I shall keep you posted on that. 

Our curtains are all closed to keep the heat in, when we are in work it doesn’t make a difference as we are not there and our pets are fish, who have their own light and rats who sleep a lot during the day.  

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