Not going to put the heating on this winter. How to keep warm

(318 Posts)

I will have the heating on for one hour a day in the evening so the kids can shower but then after that the heating and hit water will be completely off.

I just need to get some ideas for keeping the house warmer once the weather turns.

fuzzywuzzy Mon 16-Sep-13 00:12:19

Wear extra layers, put draft excluders at every internal door.
Pile into one bed altogether (depends how many, how old and how big the bed is)at night.

Bake so the heat from the oven heats up the place a bit.

Have heavy lined curtains on windows.

Could you get a small heater and stay in one room keeping it warm?

Won't work if it snows.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Mon 16-Sep-13 00:22:39

Keep doors shut to rooms you don't use much.

Make sure loft, if you have one, is well insulated with anything you can find. Polystyrene, old clothes, suitcases, anything to stop the heat rising out of the roof.

Cling film on the inside of your windows. I know someone who does this and he swears it helps keep the heat in.

Keep curtains closed if you can.

Is this an experiment or do you have to do it?

WafflyVersatile Mon 16-Sep-13 00:25:11

you can get window insulation film.

you may be able to pick up cheap heavy curtains in charity shops.

fleecy onesies or dressing gowns, slankets etc.

PilgrimSoul Mon 16-Sep-13 00:43:09

I think bubblewrap is better than cling film on windows. Do you have an open fire? Hot water bottles.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Mon 16-Sep-13 00:46:16

Can you keep the oven on for a bit when you're not actually cooking?

When you've run a bath, leave the water in instead of emptying it out. Whenever we do this it's always a bit warmer upstairs with all the steam.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Mon 16-Sep-13 00:49:00

I have an oil filled heater in the living room. so only heat that room most of the time.

And I sit with a blanket over my legs.

This is actually because the upstairs gets too hot if the heating is on too long.

You do need to open the windows at some point during the day to air the house or the damp will make it colder- you will get condensation if the heating is rarely on.

Get a dehumidifier.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Mon 16-Sep-13 00:51:02

Also you get rolls of silver bubble wrap style stuff from screfwfx. it is good for insulating your loft hatch etc.

stemstitch Mon 16-Sep-13 00:53:00

Shit, I really feel for you only being able to have the heating on for an hour a day. I hope you will be OK.

My advice would also be layers. Also, some of those cheap fleecey blankets from Primark etc. are really warm and can go over duvets/bed covers.

Also hot water bottles are great.

I guess you don't have an open fire, else you could gather fallen wood and dry it out inside before burning.

poppingin1 Mon 16-Sep-13 01:13:17

I am trying to do this too this winter so watching with interest.

I started a thread about lining curtains and got some really good advice about insulation including looking for every nook and cranny in the house that can allow draughts and using something to fill them. Sounds simple enough but didn't realise just how many draught points there are in my home until I really looked beyond the obvious.

I read that wall rugs were traditionally used to keep rooms warm and that full bookshelves also help insulate rooms. I'm going to hang a blanket on the coldest wall in the coldest bedroom. I'm investing in door curtains and have found some fairly cheap thermal curtains on Ebay.

I have made sure the front door is draught proofed, including using a keyhole with a cover, and I'm combining that with the door curtain as well as using draught proofing foam strips for internal doors.

Creeping Mon 16-Sep-13 01:20:38

Well, I've turned on the heating on today in our new home (edwardian semi) which has new underfloor heating, and all I can say is it's great to have warm feet! Good luck with the bubble wrap, blankets and layers, I'm not doing it anymore!

We have lots of blankets (some cheapy fleecy ones plus some heavy duty ones I got second hand or inherited from family) - over beds when we sleep and also for snuggling under on the sofa.
We have those microwaveable wheat bags instead of hot water bottles - same principle and definitely help when getting into bed.
Proper slippers are good too - keeps feet away from cold floors and draughts coming under doors.
Bed socks and woolly hats for bedtime too - only when it is really bad though - it's quite funny.
Lots of layers.
Limit people to as few rooms as possible, make sure internal doors are shut etc. Make one room as cosy as possible, keeping people together makes the room warmer. Get ready for bath/bed in the warm room (bedtime stories etc.) and then just do a made dash for bed and under the covers pronto.
Hot breakfasts (readybrek, porridge, hot chocolate, tea etc.) help on the really cold mornings.

Wear woolly hats in bed. Im in NZ where apparently it doesn't get cold in winter!
It bloody well does! And the houses often have little or no insulation. I used to wake up with a freezing old head and nose. So in the depths of winter stuck a woolly hat on. Works a treat!

burberryqueen Mon 16-Sep-13 01:35:44

sounds miserable tbh

Monty27 Mon 16-Sep-13 02:10:42

What an indictment on our government that this thread is even real. Oh fgs, how sad and miserable.

OP, is there any other cut backs you could make to keep your home warm? sad

LisaMedicus Mon 16-Sep-13 10:02:52

Candles can make a difference. Hot drinks. Keep active during the day. Eat warm food with plenty of nutrition in.

You can get halogen heaters like this that are not too expensive to buy and will heat the room cheaply.

Watch out for the air going stale, you will need to air the rooms now and then, but then back to lock down. hth

seasalt Mon 16-Sep-13 11:19:25

I would say try to open the windows for a while every day because rooms can get a bit damp when they are not being heated and get a musty smell.

seasalt Mon 16-Sep-13 11:21:02

oops I didn't read the whole thing and now I see MrsMink has already said this!

angelinterceptor Mon 16-Sep-13 11:27:46

Our heating is always broken for some reason the boiler is rubbish and as we are renting it doesnt seem that the landlord wants to fix it properly.

we are out during the day, but in the mornings I think it helps me and the DC to get ready a bit quicker as you are so desparate to get warm and dressed.

in the evenings we wear extra layers, even sitting indoors with a hood on, to keep my neck warm! Warm socks or slippers and defininately hot water bottles.

Draft excluders and curtains are necessary too

Oh, and if its possible, go out for a walk or activity of some sort and it will warm you up and youre not just sitting in front of TV shivering.

works for me anyway

We did this pre-baby. We did have to put the heating on for a few minutes a day, to stop the house smelling damp. We also spent quite a few evenings outside sat next to our chiminea. If you're wrapped up it's quite cosy.

Silk thermals are very efficient, and Aldi/Lidl often have good thermal underwear for very reasonable prices. Morally, if wearing animal skins don't bother you, then sheepskin footwear and fur coats are really snuggly and enure that you don't get too hot and sweaty.

If you also want to look at saving money, then a small fridge costs about £10 a month to run in electricity. Now we are in the colder weather, if you plan your shopping, then a pot-in-pot cooler may be a better option, or an outdoor cool area. We found milk didn't keep well, but just about everything else did.

Fortunately we were able to do both of these as money saving experiments, not due to financial need.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Mon 16-Sep-13 12:19:21

I would put in a word of caution about wall hangings and candles. you can set fire to your house very easily. candles are a major cause of accidental fires a d vertical wall hangings and curtains burn very nicely. so keep the two well apart.

Plus this may and up costing more than heating.

You can usually get the council to do wall and loft insulation at a reduced rate.

Also be wary of blocking all drafts- you may get dry rot which will cost far more than heating.

I only have my heating on for about 2.5 hours per day in winter. Use a heater and dehumidifier. i find this quite comfy but I am used to it. other people find my house cold.
but I don't block all drafts as the condensation is bad enough already.

ShimmeringInTheSun Mon 16-Sep-13 12:38:51

www.getgeared.co.uk/Finance
www.betterlifehealthcare.com
www.win-health.com

I ride a motorbike and find heated bodywarmers absolutely fab for keeping me warm. I've put some links above....have a look and see what you think. It might not be feasible to buy one for every member of the family, but if/when on your own at any time it would keep you going till the heating goes on.
I also live in a very high ceilinged/draughty/haunted house type place, so mine doubles up in here too!

ShimmeringInTheSun Mon 16-Sep-13 12:39:26

I wish it was just an experiment. I have to do it because I just can't afford to have the heating on. I've cut down everything as much as I can. I try to spend much of the day in our surestart centre with dd as its lovely and warm in there and saves me trying to keep my house warm.

Some really good ideas. I'm going to have a look round the local charity shops to see if I can get some more blankets. I'll be on my hands and knees blocking drafts later. We have a fair few of those air bricks dotted about that let quite a draft in.
Definately going to get some microwave hot bag thingies.

Btw it's not miserable, it's just life and I just have to get on with it smile

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Mon 16-Sep-13 16:00:37

Have you got cavity walls and are they filled? If not you can probably get a grant from one of the energy companies. They practically do it for nothing nowadays. We got ours done last year and the difference was noticeable immediately, the air just felt warmer. Definitely worth checking out if you can.

Vivacia Mon 16-Sep-13 16:12:34

That was an insensitive contribution creeping.

I agree that the best thing to do is all stay in one room, get it warm and keep it warm. Keep a few blankets near the sofa and one near the toilet too. Curtains over doors are very effective (but my partner can't stand them). Before bed I'd put tomorrow's clothes and contact lenses in grabbing distance of the bed so that in the morning I could bring them under the covers and warm them up first. Depending upon how old you are the practicalities, it might be warmer to wash with a bowl in front of the fire.

twistyfeet Mon 16-Sep-13 16:21:02

same here. We heat the front room in the evening and only because one of the kids is quadriplegic. The rest of the time it is off and it is freezing. So cold that there's ice inside the windows. While DH is at work I sit wrapped in blankets, hat and fingerlessgloves (so I can MN grin)
Heating costs are just too much now.

Vivacia Mon 16-Sep-13 16:22:17

I do the fingerless gloves (and laptop warming up my lap) too.

ApplesinmyPocket Mon 16-Sep-13 16:24:52

We hardly ever have the heating on and depend on several layers of clothing topped with a heavy pure-wool sweater - mine cost £35 from an online 'fair trade' type outlet and for DH I keep an eye out in charity shops, where you can often get a good thick pure wool sweater for a tenner or less.

We honestly don't feel the cold that much any more, but we do put the heating on for Christmas or any 'occasions' or when our wimpy (adult) DDs (used to warm flats) are home. We go to bed early in winter snuggled up under duvets and read or watch DVDs or browse on a laptop.

Good luck. I wish you didn't HAVE to get used to it.

babacoon Mon 16-Sep-13 16:30:20

Intending to do this, this winter so watching with interest.

Damnautocorrect Mon 16-Sep-13 16:32:57

Electric blankets, 2 duvets. Good curtains, big jumpers and jarmies.

colleysmill Mon 16-Sep-13 16:33:42

What are your windows like? One thing we found when we first moved in here was a number of wndows were really ill fitting and had big gaps round the seals even when shut.

Dh adjusted the ones he could and those that were still showing big gaps we ended up gaffer taping up and this stopped the wind whistling through in winter. We did this for years.

usualsuspect Mon 16-Sep-13 16:38:08

YY, go to bed early and watch TV in bed.

Fairylea Mon 16-Sep-13 16:42:33

I will be doing this as well. Our electricity and gas combined is £120 a month and we just can't afford it anymore and there is nothing else to cut back on... I already buy value everything and shop at aldi !

colleysmill Mon 16-Sep-13 16:43:30

Oh but don't gaffer tape up all your windows - we left one or two strategic ones for escape routes out in case of fire

piratecat Mon 16-Sep-13 16:48:56

the Primark fleece blankets are really good op, some of them are £3.

Also, their fake Ugg type boots for about £6-7, get the ones intended for outdoors, they have better soles, and are much better than any actual warm slipper,(that cost a bomb). I've converted a few people to wearing those.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Mon 16-Sep-13 16:59:58

I wear some of the cheap Ugg type boots as slippers too - much, much warmer than proper slippers.

It is awful that people are forced to go through the winter with no heating. It really is about time something was done about the high cost of energy.

dufflefluffle Mon 16-Sep-13 17:01:08

we have a new-ish house with extra insulation, and did everything we could do to try to make sure we aren't crippled with heating bills - we still are! So far we have not turned on the heating but already need extra layers. We have a stove and light that which is our best form of defence against freezing but same as everyone else says: keep to only a few rooms, shared beds, try not to get cold in the first place (my family are great at wandering around in bare feet/t-shirts in winter and then wondering why they're so cold!), hot drinks are a must and remember that there are a lot of us shivering these days so you're in good company!

Apologies if someone has already asked, but have you checked your eligibility for help with heating costs. For example, your energy supplier may be able to give you a discount through the Warm Home Discount scheme

You can see if you are eligible for other help here

StarfishTrooper Mon 16-Sep-13 17:36:52

We will be trying to keep heating to a minimum this winter too. And electricity. It's just too expensive. We earn good salaries and have a lovely home and we are very very lucky to have these, but our outgoings on basic things are unsustainable.

I'm cutting down on electricity by doing the following things:

- I have acquired the world's biggest supply of tealights from someone who had thousands of the things and will be using these for evening lighting where possible. Lights on only in the room I'm using, and the hallway.
- Solar lighting outside only
- TV on only for an hour a day
- Batch cooking and freezing more
- All the usual stuff re energy saving and efficiency

Our heating and hot water is oil fired which costs us £100 a month. We don't even use that much. Boiler has been on for 30 minutes a day to heat hot water since April, no heating. Will try to sustain this as long as we can, perhaps with a little heating around kids bath time.

We have a woodburner downstairs and a good stock of wood to see us through winter.

Lots of ill fitting windows to insulate, and thermal curtains to make...

Good luck OP.

snozzlemaid Mon 16-Sep-13 17:48:00

Think I've read before that you should open your curtains when the sun is shining and then close them as soon as the sun moves away from the window. The sun will warm the room and then closing the curtains will help to keep the heat in.

StarfishTrooper Mon 16-Sep-13 17:56:22

That's exactly right snozzle

ps I have a feeling you might be near me going by your username smile

Be careful blocking airbricks etc if you have any gas or wood/coal/oil burning appliances, you needs some ventilation. A carbon monoxide monitor would be a very good idea if you haven't already got one.

piratecat Mon 16-Sep-13 18:17:45

yes check with your energy supplier for discounts, i keep forgetting to do this.

not easy to find on their websites, but if you google something like 'low income and npower discount' or something it could lead you to the right place

Rainbowshine Mon 16-Sep-13 18:18:45

Wear tights under your clothes, as it keeps the warm air close to your skin. You can make cheap draft excluders using old tights and carrier bags. Tights can make the "sausage case" and also the stuffing, and scrunched up carrier bags can be used for stuffing. Curtains make a huge difference too, especially over external doors. I also remember as a student having a huge supply of cuppa soups (cheap ones) which were good to hold and warming. Good luck, it appalls me how much the energy bills are these days. We're trying to hold out for as long as possible before putting the heating on, our gas bill is ridiculous. HTH.

Bunbaker Mon 16-Sep-13 18:23:38

If you can only heat one room an electric convector heater is cheap to run and is very efficient at heating. It is thermostatically controlled.

I remember the misery of being cold in an unheated house because we couldn't afford to keep warm, and the convector heater was brilliant. You have my sympathies.

aliciaflorrick Mon 16-Sep-13 18:33:37

I can't afford to run the heating. I have the water heater on during the night when the electric is cheap. Over the last couple of years I've managed to get electric blankets on all the beds and they are the type that you can keep on all night. As a child I remember being miserably cold in bed so I like us to get a good night's sleep. I really feel the cold so I wear jumper, body warmer and fleece. Last Christmas I bought us all the slippers with the bags you put in the microwave to heat up, so we all had hot feet. Made a massive difference. Bought an electric overblanket from Lidl and we all snuggle under that in the living room very warm under that.

Also cheap fleece blankets on the sofa to snuggle up in. I've already started pulling one of these over me on an evening, even though it's still warm enough to have windows open during the day.

Leave the oven door open after cooking.

I find though that with the cold I find it very hard to move, so very little housework gets done, although ironing does warm me up.

The only day last year I ran the central heating was on Christmas Day, I can't stand the thought of us being cold at Christmas.

domesticslattern Mon 16-Sep-13 18:41:06

I found that older family members had lots of blankets they no longer needed after upgrading to duvets and for some reason they had hung onto them. Worth asking aunts, parents, freecycle etc if they have spares

Onesies for bed mean no gaps between top & bottoms of pj's €12 in Primark ATM. Interline your curtains with fleece blankets - IKEA or Primark. Thick curtain over front door.

KoalaFace Mon 16-Sep-13 18:50:51

Getting those insulated travel mugs that keep your drinks warm are great for making a hot (decaf) drink to take to bed with you.

Insulated long underwear are good for under your PJs of you're cold at night.

Apart from that everything we do has already been menrioned!

Doodlequackquack Mon 16-Sep-13 18:53:45

God this thread is so depressing. It's so sad that this country is in the position of having families unable to heat their homes well enough for a basic standard of living (IMO). We have a small house, are certainly not rich, are not extravagant with heating, wear appropriate clothing, and careful with electric etc- but there are things that could give before my we were shivering in our home. That there are good people with nothing left to give, shivering away with their children - well, I would be hang my head in shame if I were in government.

Practically, I've been told that leaving the hot water on constantly is better than firing it up from cold every day. Does anyone know if this is actually true? We're currently experimenting in our house leaving it on constantly, and it only seems to fire up very briefly a few times a day and we always have hot water. We haven't lived here long enough to do a real comparison with the bills, but it hasn't made a noticable difference in the last six months. Maybe it depends on the house. Will be intersting to see what happens over the winter.

flowers OP.

Doodlequackquack Mon 16-Sep-13 18:55:02

^^ Ugh, some terrible errors in my post, sorry. blush

Gracie990 Mon 16-Sep-13 19:01:53

It appaling people can't afford to heat their homes!

The biggest heat saving will be insulating your windows and doors. We leak more heat from those than the loft.

Interline your curtains if you can.
Can you buy some cheap as chips blinds ( Argos thermal)
Can you re hang your curtains to eliminate the air space between your window and room? If not can you use drawing pins to stick the sides of the curtains to your wall?

Close all curtains before sun goes down and tuck them behind your radiators so the heat stays in your room. North facing rooms can be closed earlier if it's freezing or below.

Tin foil behind your rads will help if your on a budget.

What you sit on and sleep on is very important, the cosy fleece underblankets are very good for keeping your bed toasty. Sitting on a cosy blanket on your sofa is as important as a good blanket on top of you. If you can get hold of a sheepskin rug even better.

Extra rugs on your floors will help as lots of heat is lost to the floor.

Do you have a fire? It may be better to run that for longer and have one warm room. Might cost the same.

Alicia tell me to butt out if you like but check your tariff carefully - a lot of the tariffs that give you cheap electricity at night are actually really expensive in the day. When we realised and switched to a more normal tariff our energy bill dropped.

OP - most things have been mentioned but a few more (we are in a very similar situation. Going to have to try and have the heating on more this winter though as we have a 7MO DS and I can't bear the thought of him being cold).

- Do you have a garden? The first year we couldn't have heating on I went outside and dug myself a veggie patch. The manual work really kept me warm (even just working for an hour kept me warm for a while) and the veggies help keep costs down. There's still plenty to do in the garden over winter to keep on top of weeds etc.

- I couldn't get hold of thick curtains so I bought lots of pairs of thinner ones and sandwiched them all together. All charity shop or freecycle so cost was minimal.

- The house will be colder if it's empty all day so just bear that in mind when you're going out.

- We've found that by keeping the walls of our house that are shared with a neighbour (end terrace) clear of stuff, we can steal some of their heat!

- I found tights under jeans really uncomfortable so prefer PJ bottoms - very warming.

- If it's really cold in the mornings, put the clothes you'll be wearing that day at the bottom of your bed over night, so your body heat warms them through.

Hope things get better for you soon OP.

headlesslambrini Mon 16-Sep-13 19:08:43

not sure if anyone has already mentioned them but hot water bottles are good in beds to warm them through.

bishboschone Mon 16-Sep-13 19:16:13

Bloody hell, my boiler broke last winter and we had to wait for a part for 2 nights . I have a modern new build with new windows and doors that keep warm in. I am also not a particularly cold person but feck it was freezing !!! We had to wear so many layers in the house and at night , frankly it was uncomfortable and annoying. Are those heaters cheaper to run than having the heating on?

aliciaflorrick Mon 16-Sep-13 19:23:44

Thanks Cupcakes I've got my electricity consumption down to a fine art and halved the bill from 120 a month to 65. Everything is on a timer so comes on when we're on cheap electric. I keep an eye on the meter and am definitely using more on the cheaper tariff than the expensive one.

Oceansurf Mon 16-Sep-13 19:34:10

We have Economy 7 because of storage heaters (which are useless and expensive incidentally!)

Does anyone know if switching to a more normal tariff would ramp up the charges significantly though for the heaters? (given that they heat up over night, so would use night rates)

Watching this thread with interest. We literally can't cut anything. Our outgoings are already more than ingoing, all non essentials were cut months ago

notapizzaeater Mon 16-Sep-13 19:35:05

Lidl last year had heated throws quite cheap to run and lovely to snuggle under watching tv.

Snog Mon 16-Sep-13 19:38:32

I have spent most of my life without central heating.
Putting on weight certainly helps to keep out the cold!
And if it's so cold that your head hurts at night wear a hat in bed.

PigletJohn Mon 16-Sep-13 19:39:18

energy from electricity costs about three times as much as energy from gas.

Economy 7 type tariffs are only about one and a half times as much during the night, but even more expensive during the day. Look at the Pence per kWh on your bill.

Oh also forgot to mention that if we have a really long cold snap you will need to put a bit of heating on - my friend went away for two weeks one winter and left her heating off, when she came back the water pipes had frozen causing them to crack - whole lot had to be replaced.

Ocean We had storage heaters when we moved in - replaced them with gas central heating as soon as we had scraped the money together. Even with the cost of getting gas to the house we worked out we are now "in credit" so to speak, due to the drop in electricity bills. I think to answer your question you'd probably have to do some maths, which is not something I'm capable of! Perhaps somebody less sleep deprived can figure that one out.

I've been inspired to get on and make the draft excluder I've been meaning to sort for the front door. Thank you everybody!

Snog Mon 16-Sep-13 19:41:25

Don't try to keep your whole house warm - just choose one room to keep warm and keep the doors closed.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Mon 16-Sep-13 19:46:29

I was a child in the eighties and we only had a gas fire in the living room. Lots of my friends were in the same position, i don't remember it being terrible- chilly at times. We have all become very reliant on central heating now haven't we?
Lots of great advice, the only one I remember is having a Calor gas upstairs for an hour to take the chill off before bath time.

overthemill Mon 16-Sep-13 19:48:12

we tried to do this a couple of years ago when i was out of work and my best tips are: make sure everyone wears layers; keep internal doors closed and use squishy draught excluders by doors (I made them); hot water bottles in bed about half an hour before you go up; get everyone to get dressed in one room when it is really cold with blower fan on briefly. At the moment my boiler is broken (again, grr) and my dh is really complaining of the cold. Told him put on another layer, wear his slippers and put a blanket on. It's chilly but not exactly arctic yet, is it?

Bunbaker Mon 16-Sep-13 19:52:21

I'm amazed at how much some people pay for gas/electricity.

Our monthly bill has just gone up to £73 for gas and down to £23 for electricity. We live in a 4 bedroom detached house and are not stingy with the heating and put it on whenever we feel cold. We have a gas cooker and I bake a lot so that also accounts for a lot of gas usage.

overthemill Mon 16-Sep-13 19:54:03

ooh and check freecycle for curtains/blankets etc

Cindy34 Mon 16-Sep-13 19:58:17

Loving the ideas.

Our bathroom gets really cold, no heating in it. Window is double glazed. Any ideas for how to make it warmer. Bath is below window so not sire having a blind or curtains at window is practical.

Bunbaker Mon 16-Sep-13 20:00:20

You used to be able to get special light bulbs that emitted heat to warm a bathroom. Are they still around?

PigletJohn Mon 16-Sep-13 20:04:24

if you're economising on fuel, take the meter readings at least monthly, preferably weekly. Make a note of the usage and weather conditions on your calendar, and input the readings online to the supplier.

many people are misled by the amount of the direct debit going up and down, which is not the same as actual usage changes.

EnlightenedOwl Mon 16-Sep-13 20:04:33

Back in the day people only had one heated room usually kitchen/diner or parlour room other rooms were not heated so just heating one room isnt unheard of.
I confess have put my heating on today came in shaking with cold and just couldn't get warm so just put it on low but also worried about heating bills this winter.

ProphetOfDoom Mon 16-Sep-13 20:16:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

expatinscotland Mon 16-Sep-13 20:17:03

Lined curtains, definitely!

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Mon 16-Sep-13 20:28:15

Oh yes forgot to mention - socks. If your feet are warm the rest of you will follow. Several pairs of socks and some of those cheap Ugg boots will keep you nice and warm. Also a hat, apparently you lose a lot of heat out of your head.

And definitely electric blankets if you can. They're excellent.

Might use some of these tips myself. We're lucky in that we had a wood burner fitted a couple of years ago and get free wood from a mates farm, as long as we collect it and chop it ourselves dh . Made a huge difference.

teatimesthree Mon 16-Sep-13 20:29:11

Some good tips here. Having central heating, and having it on a lot, is a very modern thing. We didn't have any when I was a child, and I have lived in places abroad (where it is much colder) with only a coal stove. It was fine.

Do you have somewhere you can hang washing outside?

I also recommend Primark fleecy PJs (which dry very quickly too) and hot water bottles.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Mon 16-Sep-13 20:30:11

Not that I'm saying Uggs are cheap, obviously, I meant the fake ones. blush

Gracie990 Mon 16-Sep-13 20:32:41

Oh yes to primark fleece pj's and onesies. Love them.

So many really good ideas.

My windows must have loads of gaps because the wind makes a real noise blowing through it. They're upvc so you'd expect them to be really good but they must be badly fitted. Could I go round the edges with some clear silicone sealer? Not on the opening parts but where the frame meets the wall.

Are electric blankets cheap to run? I'm going to try and get hold of some. I might get one for the couch too. The couches are leather and really cold to sit on even now and it's only September!

I'm definately making draft excluders this weekend. Teenage dd will love doing that.

I bought a long string of solar powder fairy lights. I've put the solar panel just outside the kitchen window, the window still shuts over the wire. They work well enough to give me a little light in the kitchen at night to save me putting the big light on. They wouldn't be good enough for cooking but are fine when I'm just nipping in to make a brew etc.

I meant to say I do have a gas fire in the living room which I will put on at night if it gets very cold so we will all have to sit in there.

Do you know this thread has really given me a boost. It doesn't change anything but it makes me feel less alone. Also, I was half expecting somebody to call me a crap Mum because I can't heat the house for my dc but you're all so supportive and full if really good idea. Thank you.

pmgkt Mon 16-Sep-13 20:51:46

Assuming you have a fan oven, once you have finished cooking, switch it off at the mains and open the door so rather than paying to heat the oven up, the paying for the fan to cool it down, you can let all that heat out into the room.

I don't have a fan oven sad I have one of those really old gas cooker with a high level grill. I'll still leave the oven door open though after using. It's a shame to waste all that heat.

mameulah Mon 16-Sep-13 21:03:49

I absolutely do not think you are a crap Mum. I am very, very impressed. I hope it isn't too cold this year.

Oceansurf Mon 16-Sep-13 21:09:40

Cupcakes Unfortunately, live in a third floor flat or else would definitely rip them out and put in gas!

Our bills are £150 a month shock it's shocking. Seriously. 2 bedroom flat. My mum also pays far less in a 4 bed detached with central heating. So depressing! Cannot wait for this housing market to recover so we can sell up and move out into a house.

We've been doing daily meter reads, because we can't quite believe how much we seem to use. Currently looking at 6 night units and 7 day units each 24 hrs. That's before we use any heating. The night units are simply for the hot water which comes on at night just for 2 hours. So just for 2 people and a baby in a flat, normal electricity (ie. kettle, toaster, tv, internet, no tumble dryer, nothing extreme) Scottish Power were working it out at £20 a week. That's £80 a month!!! In the summer!!

I don't even know how to read my meters! I'm going to have to learn.

Mameulah thank you smile

PigletJohn Mon 16-Sep-13 21:22:58

what do you pay per kwh?

yegodsandlittlefishes Mon 16-Sep-13 21:23:21

Soft fleece blankets are good. Wool is warmer if you're not allergic to it.

What about small electric blankets for the children's beds? They could be set to warm the bed up before they get into it, for just an hour or so.

Thermals, skins, silk or merino wool PJs.

The soft toys that you can heat in the microwave.

Cuddling

Run up and down the stairs.

Borrow neighborhood (cuddly) cats.

close doors.

Hot drink before bed.

Go out at weekends for a walk to warm up. Go to the pub or cheap Saturday Cinema or leisure centre (you can get the showers there too and do without the heating altogether!)

PigletJohn Mon 16-Sep-13 21:25:16
yegodsandlittlefishes Mon 16-Sep-13 21:30:01

We used to live in a village where there was no piped in gas, just LPG fuel or expensive gas canisters, or wood burners or coal fires. NOBODY had their heat on for more than an hour a day there (not even us nesh southerners) it would be like throwing money on the fire. Many houses there don't have any other heat than the fireplace. There's lots of places like this in rural parts of the country, and some wonderful people live there, and are great parents!

Sweetsweep Mon 16-Sep-13 21:32:44

Are you sure you are claiming all you are entitled to?

yegodsandlittlefishes Mon 16-Sep-13 21:38:29

For the leather couch, tuck a blanket in to sit on. An electric blanket would probably damage it, and could be a fire risk as they're not designed to go on couches.
They're not too costly if they are on a low setting for just an hour a night. Mine can go up far too high, and be left on all night, so I got ones for the children which automatically cut off after a so long and only have 2 heat settings. I am guessing they probably work out at around 5p - 15p per hour, but I don't know for sure (and they must vary).

duchesse Mon 16-Sep-13 21:40:51

Ocean, that is a shocking amount to be paying! Are you on normal metered electricity or on a pay as you go system?

Is there any chance someone could be pirating your electricity?

yegodsandlittlefishes Mon 16-Sep-13 21:43:08

The other thing which is nice though, is if you can find a way to warm up towels to use as you get out of the shower. I never found a way. Friends have tried putting bricks (sewn into an old tea towel) into a low oven...That can be used as a bed warmer, but also a towel warmer thinking about it.

ziptoes Mon 16-Sep-13 21:52:36

One word of warning about all the draft proofing - you have to be really careful about condensation. At the start of the thread people were talking about putting wall rugs on cold outside walls - be really careful you don't end up with a build up of black mould. It's really allergenic and can cause nasty coughs even in folk who aren't usually allergic to stuff. It's a battle in a cold, old house to stop drafts and keep warm, and to ventilate enough to stop condensation.

basic tips:
don't produce so much moisture - lids on boiling pans. keep showers short and use a squeedgie afterwards. don't dry clothes on radiators (they can dry a fair amount outside even on cold days.

try to keep furniture/wall coverings off cold outside walls

if you find black mould, a dilute bleach solution should get it off the wall, but ideally you avoid getting it in the first place.

this site came up at the top of a google search but there are others out there:
www.falkirk.gov.uk/services/corporate_neighbourhood/housing/environmental_and_energy_issues/household_energy_advice/avoiding_condensation_dampness.aspx

good luck!

peachypips Mon 16-Sep-13 21:54:24

Rather than all the unhelpful 'oh you poor thing' posts, I love the way loads of people have given great ideas- it almost feels a bit 'stiff upper lip' and 'let's get on with it and try and make it fun'.
I love your attitude OP and that of those who have made practical suggestions. Stick it to the energy suppliers! Hurrah!

ziptoes Mon 16-Sep-13 21:57:53

man, that was a badly written post!

squeedgie is for the shower/cubicle walls - don't squeedgie yourself (though it may mean less towels to dry?)! grin

radiators are pretty useless outside, but if dry put clothes outside they don't fill your house with moisture. Also cunning physics fact - drying clothes inside actually takes heat out of your air. So get them as dry as you can outside on sunny days.

by outside walls, I mean the inside of external walls. putting rugs on the outside of your house will just get you soggy rugs and odd looks from your neighbours.

must proof read posts better!

PutThatDownNow Mon 16-Sep-13 21:58:58

We have some fleece duvet covers, look weird but so lovely to snuggle in and keep us all warm. Before that I used to put fleece blankets inside the bed (under the duvet) because then DCs got more benefit from them than if the blanket had been on top. Have some fleece PJs too which are great. Beware of Velcro effect though!

Debs75 Mon 16-Sep-13 22:00:41

This is so depressing that we are a) so reliant on central heating that we are pouring money into the hands of the big 6 gas companies. b) we are having to cut back on a necessity like basic heat.

I too grow up in the 80's in a wooden house with no insulation, single glazed windows, 3 coal fires. We were freezing all winter, my bedroom window froze most mornings. My dozy dad had knocked the two reception rooms together which meant we had a giant space to heat. My mum put up a thick curtain to make it smaller again and only heated one end, the end with the tv. Unfortunately that was the end you didn't need so we would snuggle to watch tv then freeze as you went to the loo or to make a cuppa.

We have just moved to a larger house which is lovely but full of holes with badly fitted double glazing. I need to stuff all the holes by the windows and then reseal all the gaps.
Thick curtain are great and thermal linings are cheap and easy to attach to curtains.
My dc's are spoilt with warmth as DS is disabled and for a long time would not tolerate clothes at home so we had to have the heating on or he would freeze. He is better now and will wear pj's at home so we can go longer without the heating. I just need to make sure everyone has some fleecy onesies

NationMcKinley Mon 16-Sep-13 22:04:25

What a fab thread! I've got loads of ideas, I particularly like peachy's battle cry of stick it to the energy suppliers grin DH and I used to live (pre DCs) in a tiny cottage miles from anywhere. We had no gas and moved in on the 23rd December one year from warm, town flats shock. It was bloody baltic! If we took a glass of water to bed, by morning it would have a thick layer of ice. We survived and in a way it was quite fun in a "get us, blitz spirit" kind of way. BUT like I said, we didn't have children and we were not elderly or vulnerable. It makes me furious that some people are have to choose to eat or heat angrysad. Love that this thread has become a testament to survival and support smile

NationMcKinley Mon 16-Sep-13 22:05:43

PutThatDownNow where did you get your fleece duvet covers from?

We rarely have the heating on we have a elec blanket for the bed cheap to run even just for a couple of hours so u can jump in and its very cosy my dds used to have them but I always turn them off before they jumped in socks in bed have something hot for brakie porrdige etc when I was was a child we used to have beans on toast before school cheap quick filling and warm plus get a insulted travel cup you can pop a soup or tea in close the lid the drink stays hot for longer plus we have a double duvet on the sofa to snuggle under if you have a hairdryer once dressed give yourself a quick blast under your jumper\ tshirt we so used to been chilly we sit have the luttle windows open and neither self or dp can do heat well

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Mon 16-Sep-13 22:06:05

peachypips absolutely! grin

Am actually loving this thread. There are some really clever people about! Hopefully Clementine you'll be lovely and warm all winter.

I'm in a similar position OP. Live rurally in house that needs lots of renovation that I can't afford at the moment. Downstairs just has open fires, one with a back boiler which runs three radiators not very effectively I pile fallen down branches into my car all year round, to use in winter, and buy in some coal as a top-up for when it's extra cold.

Despite these economies with the heating, my electricity bill is £90 per month, winter and summer. I'm really trying hard to keep the immersion switched off apart from half an hour before one of us has a bath (there's no shower!) I think I'm going to have to somehow clear my backlog bill with NPower bunch of bastards and shop around for a better tariff ... maybe one with a two or three year tie-in - I need to look into it.

So you're not on your own - I wish you luck with your endeavour.

Last year I had an electric heater to blast out some heat for the DCs when they got dressed if we were all out for the day and there didn't seem much point in lighting a fire. I worry about how much electric that uses though. My friend has given me a calor gas heater but I'm a bit paranoid about using that because of the fumes.

I second what people say about electric blankets - dcs had these last year, and I've treated myself to one as well. And hot water bottles are our friends! And yay to warm fluffy slippers.

Fluffy fleece socks for all here my dp has them as his feet are like ice hes has stripy pink and white ones you get two in a pack from primark fir a couple of pounds

AGnu Mon 16-Sep-13 22:37:37

Has anyone mentioned microwave heat bags? You can make them yourself just using old tights & value rice. I find the rice smell really comforting but you could put some dried lavender in too if you can get hold of some. The feeling of the tights material doesn't bother me but you could put them inside a bed sock if you wanted them to be soft. I was just telling my DH I love them so much that I want to go buy several pairs of tights & the biggest bag of rice I can find & make myself a giant rice-bag nest to sleep in! grin

StarfishTrooper Mon 16-Sep-13 22:47:31

Such an informative thread, thank you for starting it OP and glad to hear you're feeling a little more upbeat. It is a huge adjustment to get used to not living in a constantly warm, centrally heated home but from the looks of this thread, more and more of us are needing to do it.

We live in a rural coastal village with no mains gas. It's oil predominantly for those of us who have central heating, and it's SO expensive. Electricity is a blinking joke too. I really want to get off grid actually but that requires an outlay we don't have at the moment.

When it gets really cold we should come back to this thread to cheer each other along (from under thick bed blankets with hotties. Water bottles that is, as opposed to attractive bed partners. Actually scrap that, I'll take both grin)

didireallysaythat Mon 16-Sep-13 22:55:41

Lined curtains are great but check the curtain tab top - you maybe able just to get another set if curtains on hook the on (like you do with some lined curtains). You maybe able to hook up a thick but not to anyone's taste set of curtains from charity shops (no need to match) and you won't be able to see them once drawn if you get the lengths right. Curtains to the floor are good over front doors, door draft excluders made from tights, tin foil behind radiators to reflect heat back into rooms. I'm always amazed how much warmer I feel wearing two pairs of socks. And doubley amazed that I don't remember this until march every year. Pound shop shoe insoles equally good.

Good luck

AGnu - that is a brilliant idea for making your own wheat bags. Thanks.

TheYamiOfYawn Mon 16-Sep-13 23:32:35

Flannel sheets are good, if you can get them cheaply.

goodasitgets Mon 16-Sep-13 23:40:33

I have some brushed flannel pillowcases which are amazingly soft and somehow warmer. Flannel is kind of out of fashion now so if you beg/borrow/charity shop and find some duvet covers or even sheets of it it's great. I got mine from Dunelm Mill and they weren't expensive. eBay often has them too
Tuck everything in. Pj bottoms tucked into socks, and tops tucked into pj bottoms. It really helps
Keep your chest/neck warm, for some reason makes a huge difference
Gilet/body warmer type things are great for in the house as you can move about in them but they're warm

Ehhn Mon 16-Sep-13 23:54:36

This thread makes me so angry at the rank profiteering of the energy companies. I don't understand why the government can't cap profits at 10% - a healthy return for investors. This year all the main energy companies increased profits by 150-300%. Oh wait... Part of it is EU competition laws. Quite frankly, the whole lot should be nationalised again. With the union legislation in place, we wouldn't be in hoc to the strikes of the 70s and we could bloody well regulate the prices. Either that or the government lives by what it says - that any company can set up and challenge the big 6 and so drive down prices and improve service. So why doesn't the government set up its own company to compete against the private ones and a) prove how "easy" it is to do so and b) if it succeeds- actually drive down prices

I'm very impressed by th resourcefulness of everyone here, but it saddens me that these were issues my mum dealt with growing up in the 40s and 50s.

Army surplus is good as they have heavy duty blankets. second hand tin baths are a good idea as you can wash your kids up to age 12 or so (depending how big they are!) by boiling pans of water on the hob and putting it in the tin bath. Can get them cheaply on eBay but they are hard to come by these days.also newspaper stuffing/insulation works a treat.

Hi there, not sure how relevant this is but our energy bills have gone down a lot recently [I check three times as I didn;t believe it...] and I think the way I now cook helps massively.

- I basically microwave everything I would usually boil - I don;t mean like ready meals, I mean as in rice, pasta, veg, steaming fish, poaching meats etc. So if I make pasta for example - pasta, veg goes in pot [pirex or a good plastic tub] with lid on. Rice gets 8 minutes on full... then I leave another 10 mins or so to continue steaming etc. I still use gas if I fry but I barely use pans anymore.

- Batch cooking - this is a personal obsession I think, Tricky with out good storage, fridge, freezer, containers but I have built up a collection. e.g. Sunday I cooked 24 sausages in one shelf [some with batter on mmmmmmm using up pancake mix and about to go off milk....] 2 meals of sausages with veg and two meals of sausage pasta/rice/casserole etd. Also loads of potato for Sunday lunch AND for packed lunches, a massive crumble - some for lunch, some for emergency puds (you know, like when work is crap, its cold... any excuse really] also popped in some bread rolls etc. Hubby thinks I might be bonkers but I just can;t bare an empty oven shelf...

- Using food for inside central heating is efficient too.... and delicious.

In terms of the house heating, things we do are similar to above. We have tried to collect loads of blankets, cushions and have one big sofa [my best ebay pruchase]. We have hot water bottle each, indoor comfy clothes, thick curtains in lounge etc. We give up eating at our kitche table by the back door and just live in the lounge. In many ways lovely... just hard when you need the loo or to actual do some housework....

If you have;t do call your supplier....

Also, we went swimming twice a week - luxuary really but part of my physio and I need to lose weight but am disabled BUT it as great for a free hot shower smile

Bunbaker Tue 17-Sep-13 06:54:04

It is becoming clear to me that far too many on here are just paying far too much for gas and electricity in the first place. I'm not sure how it works in rental properties regarding choosing energy supplier or even whether you can switch suppliers, but this is worth a read.

Also it might be worth investigating "free" solar panels - tips here

SquidgyMummy Tue 17-Sep-13 06:59:30

We live in rural france so no central heating and no town gas. (only central heating option is oil which costs over a grand to fill the tank - no thanks!),

we have a log burner so try and get scrap wood where we can.
Big thing here is we have shutters on the doors & windows, which we shut as soon as the sun goes down. Definitely agree with poster up thread who said grab all the sunlight you can.

Other small tips, use a lower wattage kettle, or best a (gas)stove top whistling kettle. Boil only what you need and if any over; put rest in a flask for next cup of tea.

Switch all appliances off fully, not standby and do not leave any chargers plugged in.

mummytime Tue 17-Sep-13 07:15:31

I would also investigate if there is any help you can get Campaign against fuel poverty might be a place to start. The Home heat helpline is free to call and might be able to give advice too.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Tue 17-Sep-13 07:33:14

been there, done that OP and really feel for you its sucks. I found that heating a couple of rooms (downstairs ones) and buying hallogen heaters for mine and DD's bedrooms, putting hotwater bottles in the beds and wearing thick toasty socks in bed helped at night. Also went to bed early with my laptop and often shared my bed with then toddler DD when it was really really cold.

DD wore leggings or tights under her other clothes to keep the heat in and we wore thick fluffy bathrobes from asda round the house (wearing a coat indoors not an option as it was often wet through from being outside and well that to me seemed too sad).

One good thing about having such a cold house was that DD went to bed at a decent hour as it was too cold to stay up and play grin

zebrafinch Tue 17-Sep-13 08:01:18

twistyfeet Your post has made me cry.
My child has quadriplegia and has to be kept warm and cosy. I expect you have already tried everything to keep the heating on but it is just so expensive. Please ask the social worker if you have one if they can help you in any way to keep the heating on , if you get no joy go to your local citizens advice to see what they can come up with.
I really really hope that you can get extra financial help to keep the heat on.
It's terrible that any child has to suffer a cold house let alone one who cannot move and is at is risk of chest infections.

Tights under your trousers.

Sorry if this is obvious, but I mentioned it to a couple of fellow horse-riders last winter who were complaining of cold legs, and they thought I was a genius confused.

chibi Tue 17-Sep-13 08:10:32

i think there is a culture here of putting up with things- as in people are expected to put up with things. no heating? too bad for you- it's your problem, deal with it

it is outrageous that people are going to bed in inadequately insulated houses whilst wearing all their clothes and strategically opening and closing curtains because not freezing to death is the province of the fabulously well to do.

this is utterly unacceptable and the rank profiteering by energy companies in the face of such desperation is disgusting

angry

(we do all the above mentioned things but a dehumidifier changed our lives. if you can get one you will be blown away by what a difference cold dry air vs cold wet air makes to personal happiness and well being)

msrisotto Tue 17-Sep-13 08:37:58

My electric blanket boasts that it costs 1p a night to run all night. I only ever run it for an hour though as (at the moment) that is more than enough.

I get really angry about the different prices charged between those who have pay as you go meters, and the rest of us. My gas and electricity is £100 a month, and we have the heating on low level (19 degrees) constantly as we found this was cheaper than firing it up for 5 hours a day (YMMV so run an experiment for a couple of weeks). We have a combi boiler so have hot water on demand - immersion heaters are extremely expensive to run.

But if you are already a struggling family, finding the £1.5K - £2K to switch to a better, more efficient heating system is an impossibility, so they get stuck feeding £40+ into the meters every month.

Here's a thought. Can we Mumsnetters do something constructive? I have had a quick look on e-bay and they have fan heaters for around a tenner, with free delivery. Could we all club together and buy some for Mumsnet to distribute to those parents who are struggling to heat their homes? I'm happy to stick £20 in to the kitty.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 08:51:22

Ocean-my mum moved into a flat with storage heaters, bloody useless things and so expensive! She bought electric convector heaters from Argos they were about 20 quid, thermostatically controlled and she just uses them now. Much cheaper and not wasting heat like with the storage heaters. If you do this change tariffs as daytime electric is pricey on economy 7.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 08:57:45

World- that's a lovely thought but I imagine it's the cost of running heaters that stop people buying them rather than the initial cost x

Sorry - I thought that electric fan heaters were cheap and efficient? Apologies if I'm wrong.

I just wish we could do something. I remember what it is like to live without central heating and, whilst it may have been fun for us to try and manage without it for a while when we knew we could switch it back on anytime, I can't imagine what it must be like to have to choose between heating and eating.

Why is there no legislation to say that pay as you go meters have to have the same rates as those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to pay by direct debit?

PeterParkerSays Tue 17-Sep-13 09:26:56

I saw a link on Pinterest for lining curtains. If you're not good with sewing, use velcro strips / patches to stick the lining to the back of the curtain fabric. I guess you could also sew ribbon to the lining and just tie it onto the curtain poles in between the curtain hooks. It would help to add extra curtain layers / blankets behind the curtains.

Gracie990 Tue 17-Sep-13 09:35:11

Chiba I think lots of very rich people have cold houses. A very big house is expensive to heat and if you live in a mansion your not going to heat it all.

Our first winter in this house ( big house) was shockingly cold. We move from an average sized 3 bed which was toasty warm.

Insulation is the way to go, it's not cheap to do it well, but it pays off every year.

Interlining curtains and thermal blinds made our rooms several degrees warmer.

Nessalina Tue 17-Sep-13 09:45:53

This is a really interesting thread OP and I wish you all the best getting through winter toasty warm! It's definitely made me realise that we're far too complacent with our heating to be honest. Best thing I did last year was shop around for energy and we saved £30pm moving to a new company, but I know that's not possible for everyone.
We also made a big difference by investing in some cheap off-cut carpet to carpet lounge & bedroom. They were laminate before which is cold on the feet, and the rooms feel sooo much cosier carpeted now. It's an expense initially, but large rugs or blankets from charity shops would do the same job I'm sure, and a room that's warm from the floor up seems much easier to keep cosy! Totally going to go on an anti-draught rampage in my house this weekend grin

Preciousbane Tue 17-Sep-13 09:50:28

I bought a russian style hat lined with fake fur with ear flaps and wore it in the house along with a body warmer when it was minus 17 a couple of years ago. The thought of another winter like the one two years ago makes me shudder.

expatinscotland Tue 17-Sep-13 09:50:42

'so they get stuck feeding £40+ into the meters every month.'

More like £80+. We are on metres after getting hammered with huge bills.

ArtisanLentilWeaver Tue 17-Sep-13 10:00:07

A friend rents a cafe which has huge single pane windows and her heating bills were very high. She bought lots of thermal curtain liner from Dunelm, cut it to size, stapled it on to the window frame and rolls it up using strips of rags. It looks brilliant and has saved her a fortune plus no sewing.

Jenijena Tue 17-Sep-13 10:11:36

My grandad put strips of folded up newspaper in the frames of opening windows (does that make sense?) which apparently helped drafts. All I remember is the strips of newspaper blowing all over the garden in the summer when the windows were opened.

Sorry you have to do this op.

damn government

waikikamookau Tue 17-Sep-13 10:13:36

I cant afford all these fleece blankets and extra layers, lined curtains being mentioned sad
and tbh I cant bear the cold either.

Saltire Tue 17-Sep-13 10:24:06

I second the slanket/fleece blanket thing.
I suffer dreadfully with cold, due to illnesses and in teh house I wear thermals, then my clothes, and often a hat and bodywarmer. We are lucky to be in a position where we can run our heating but even then it is only for 2 hours morning and 1.5 hours evening.

Hot water bottles are good and quite cheap. I got 4 last year in either Home Bargains or B&M for about £2.00 each. I thought they wouldn't last long but they are small ones and thicker than the average bottle and are still going strong with no signs of wear.

Saltire Tue 17-Sep-13 10:25:33

Oh and I also do the strips of newspaper in the cracks- we live in amarried quarter with inadequate windows which have a 2 cm gap and crappy door and no insulation

fuzzywuzzy Tue 17-Sep-13 10:27:55

waiki, could you check ebay/freecycle? Or sew your own?

waikikamookau Tue 17-Sep-13 10:30:36

my point is op and others are not heating house for financial reasons yet the answers are to buy this and that, I spose ultimately the costs may well be cheaper.
freecycle might be the answer though thanks

aliciaflorrick Tue 17-Sep-13 10:38:17

Do convector heaters cost less to run? I do have one but am frightened to use it in case it costs a fortune.

And another thing, I work from home sitting at a computer desk all day typing, I usually wrap blankets around my legs, but I discovered sitting with a hot water bottle on my lap last year really kept me quite comfortable. Not easy, I know if you're moving around, but for people like me who have to sit for up to 10 hours in an unheated house without moving, it was a godsend.

Not got time to read whole thread but if not already mentioned, insulate the loft hatch door as well, heat gets up out of there.

On a positive, as long as your house isn't too old, it might not be so bad. I don't use my central heating much - usually 1 hr in the morning, then woodburner in the afternoon/evening, which heats up the house so much more than a radiator. I find I need the heating on first thing to take the chill off & more importantly, to dry out the condensation/damp from overnight. Black mould is not your friend! Good luck & I hope it's bearable for you.
Layers, blankets on the sofa & early to bed.

fuzzywuzzy Tue 17-Sep-13 10:43:13

Waiki, I line my own curtains using left over material, or I have once sandwiched two thinish curtains together to make lined curtains.

I live in an area where there are lots of material shops and sometimes the owners will sell last bits of material quite cheaply.

I have hot water bottles from the pound shop, haven't needed to buy new ones in years.

We have walls and loft insulated thro our utility company for free.

I have old blankets which I use to snuggle under on the sofa andfleece PJ's which I bought quite cheaply in Primarni a few years back.

Also wear socks and thermal vests in the house (I saw thermal vests in the pound shop last year).

Waiki - fleece blankets are v v cheap in Ikea if you or someone you know can get to one. About 3 quid each, which is def cheaper than having the heating on..

DaddyPigsMistress Tue 17-Sep-13 11:10:13

We put £25-30 a week on our meter and can still only afgord to heat one room, its so depressing. We have those big storage heaters that just eat all our money.
I know you can get rid of the meter but southern electric charge £52 to do this and we just dont have that kind of money spare.

We stick the kids in primark fleece onesies with hot water bottles at night. Agree with the thick socks thing, i feel much warmer all over if my feet are cosy

Habbibu Tue 17-Sep-13 11:13:15

There are a few people blogging about living in cold houses -see this one for example. If you can get an exercise bike from freecycle, that's actually really effective in getting warm - bike for a bit, then stick layers on quickly and you stay warm for ages. Much as it's horrible that OP has to do this, I think this thread is great for just general tips to use less energy.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 11:37:38

Alicia-if it is thermostatically controlled and you get the room warm then turn it down so it's ticking over. Ones that just blast out the heat eat money. You can work out how much they use by doing clever maths that I can't do so don't ask me but in involves kw x wattage or something

Sweetsweep Tue 17-Sep-13 11:56:27

That is what this thread needs next. The clever maths part to help everyone work out how much the heaters or electic blankets or whatever cost.

Gracie990 Tue 17-Sep-13 12:30:20

Waiki, spending £50 on blankets and thermal lining will pay off for years.

eBay your old stuff maybe. I would try freecycle or family & friends, people have stuff tucked away gathering dust.

Sometimes you need to spend a bit to save a lot.

Has anyone said spicy food? That heats you up:-)

Viognier Tue 17-Sep-13 13:10:35

Although I wouldn't want to do this now, when we were children these were the circumstances we were brought up in.

I remember the beautiful ice patterns inside my bedroom windows and I remember the coal fire in the living room and my dad warming visitor's coats in front of it before they left.

We had hot water bottles ( I still do - much prefer them to an electric blanket ) and knitted jumpers. Nowadays we'd have fleeces instead.

It's fine - the OP is young. It's the old people I worry about.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 13:23:16

Yes back in the 70's early 80's the front room was heated, gas fire usually and you went to bed with thick pajamas and a hot water bottle. Fine for youngsters, the older ones will suffer horribly though.

ShimmeringInTheSun Tue 17-Sep-13 13:27:47

Can I just mention the Warm Home Discount Scheme of £130 discount of your Winter Electricity bill.

You can either check with your supplier or go to www.direct.gov.uk/warmhome to see if you are eligible (depending on income).

If you are eligible the money is deducted from your Winter bill and then you just pay the balance.

I know that if the cost of energy was less in the first place then people wouldn't need to use these schemes, but it is worth checking it out.

LovesBeingOnHoliday Tue 17-Sep-13 13:29:05

Curtains covering any external doors - can be picked up very cheap at charity shops

Vivacia Tue 17-Sep-13 13:29:19

I was also a child of a cold 80s household. I remember going 'round to an American friend's house and being absolutely amazed that they a) had central heating b) on full and c) in every room. My friend was walking around in shorts and a vest. It was great going 'round to her house.

ninilegsintheair Tue 17-Sep-13 13:49:51

I don't think anybody has mentioned the Cheap Energy club on Moneysavingexpert - it monitors how much you're paying and lets you know if there's a cheaper tariff for you. I use it and it's saved me money - Here

People may have had only heated one room in the 70's/80's but that was 30-40 years ago. What happened to progress? And I don't see it as 'sticking it to the big energy companies', what do they care? Their shareholders won't give a toss, massive profits and undoubtedly warm homes for them.

confusedofengland Tue 17-Sep-13 13:57:17

Haven't read the whole thread so these have probably already been mentioned, but worth another mention just in case:

1) Place some foil-covered cardboard behind radiators to reflect heat
2) When you have finished using your oven, keep the door open to let all the heat escape into your house
3) I find that if my feet are warmer, I feel a lot warmer. Slipper socks are ideal for this.
4) Have something on your lap if possible -cat, dog, child, laptop - all helps!
5) Eat loads of casseroles, soups, crumble type puddings etc

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 14:00:04

Oh I agree the energy companies couldn't give a toss, if they did we wouldn't need this thread!

TwoStepsBeyond Tue 17-Sep-13 14:06:16

I've noticed today that the cold grey light makes me feel like its colder than it is in the house, so can I just add the suggestion to use warm lighting too.

I add a fluffy rug to my hard flooring in the living room and have painted one wall in a warm colour so it 'feels' warmer and cosier.

Now snuggled under a blanket with a cuppa, tv and an orange shade on my lamp add a warm glow so I don't feel too cold, when I would normally have put the heating on today.

Thank you all, I hope to save a bit on the bills this winter just by being more mindful, even if I don't make it all the way.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 14:21:52

I agree with putting a light on, definitely lifts my moodsmile

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 16:31:26

this is a brilliant thread. thank you to everyone who has contributed.

I was in the local charity shops today and quite a lot of fake UGG type boots in great condition for £2/3

also lots of flannel sheets but I didn't check the prices as I wasn't getting any of those.

anyone who has an open fire but wont be using it- block it up. either board it over or stuff an old pillow up the chimney (not far up!)

I started a thread a week or so ago saying that I intend to set up a mini kitchen in my bedroom with a kettle, teabags, milk and snacks etc and i'm just going to go to bed when the dcs do at 7pm and watch tv there meaning I don't have to heat any rooms downstairs. my bathroom is next to my kitchen and the hotpress is opposite the bathroom door. the heat from the oven warms the kitchen and it spreads to the bathroom, as does the heat from the hotpress where I also have a dehumidifier to dry washing and it produces heat too. I am also lucky that I am in a terrace and get the benefit of my neighbours' heat. so the bathroom should be warm enough for us to get bathed and changed in after dinner. will also start doing porridge for supper before bed to keep small bellies warm for settling at night. i'm going to try the DIY wheat (rice?) bags. they sound great and so easy.

I have a question about curtains that are on poles rather than curtain rails (does that make sense?) there is obviously a gap between the pole and the wall where heat can escape and also poles tend to mean the curtains sit out from the wall at the sides rather than against it meaning gaps pretty much all round. what do people do about this?

also I was thinking of purchasing the silver bubble wrap stuff off ebay along with Velcro strips and cutting the bubble wrap to the size of all my windows and velcro-ing them to the wall surrounding the windows. (to get round that gap problem I mentioned above. would this work? it would essentially be a bubbl wrap panel put over the window every evening and taken down in the morning. would this cause a problem wrt condensation? would be great to know as I planned this last year but couldn't afford it and don't want to waste precious money if it wont work.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 16:37:08

Is running a de humidifier cheaper than ruining a tumble drier?

expatinscotland Tue 17-Sep-13 16:47:31

We found running a dehumidifier very expensive.

expatinscotland Tue 17-Sep-13 16:52:44

We have poles and it's not really an issue. I have velvet lined curtains I got from a charity shop for a fiver on the front and balcony door. They're not a fashionable colour but they work a treat!

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 16:53:14

I can imagine if it's anything like an air conditioner.

expatinscotland Tue 17-Sep-13 16:54:47

And that was years ago! Our old landlord had one and suggested running it in one of the bedrooms. Shiver me timbers but that was expensive.

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 17:03:26

I don't know if the dehumidifier is cheaper than the TD, I bought it two years ago because the house I lived in had awful condensation and mould problems, then just before I moved here my TD broke and I haven't been able to replace it so am using the DH on days I cant get the washing outside to dry. I haven't done the sums though to see which is cheaper. all I know is I cant afford a new drier.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 17:39:17

I wonder if actually putting the heating on instead would be better/cheaper on days you can't get washing dry?

Preciousbane Tue 17-Sep-13 17:41:56

I had a hot water bottle thing that you heated up in the microwave, I hate filling water ones as I'm clumsy.

I am going to get a front door curtain because of this thread.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 17:48:25

Oh I like the idea of a front door curtain! Will keep my eye out for thick charity shop curtains.

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 17:49:45

it might be valium- how would I tell though until the oil runs out? is there a way to work out how much it's costing on a daily basis to have the heating on?

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 17:56:17

Oh gosh I didn't realise you have oil,I know that's really expensive isn't it?

elfycat Tue 17-Sep-13 18:02:09

I have only read a bit of the thread but two we use (amongst the other suggestions I've read here)

We use the lakeland heated airer - uses 100w an hour, dries clothing and the heat goes into the house so is not wasted.

In the evenings we burn 2-3 candles in the living room (in glass, on heatproof coasters, up out of reach and we both have blowing them our on the checklist with double checking doors are locked before bed). We find it really takes the nip off.

I'm crochetting us each a blanket for tucking under in the evenings but any snuggy bought blanket would do - unless you LIKE crochet.

We're going to try to turn the thermostat down another degree. We've gone from 22 degrees 24/7 10 years ago to 18 degree when we're in and 16 at night. Down to 17 and 15 this year. Can we make it to November before we start? (probably not as we have DCs now)

specialsubject Tue 17-Sep-13 18:07:02

oil is actually only slightly more expensive in terms of heat per unit than mains gas.

the real problem is that many old oil boilers are very inefficient. The perceived problem is that you can see the level in the oil tank gradually going down whereas you can't see the gasholder moving!

oil prices have just dropped a TINY amount as it looks like things are settling in Syria. I'm keeping a close eye with my crystal ball to time my next top up correctly.

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 18:09:44

yes it is shocking. from start of april to end of august I used oil only to heat the water and it was £50 per month. well I say £50 per month. what I mean is I have standing order set up for £50pcm to the boilerjuice and the last order at the start of april was £205 and that lasted 5 months so about £40 per month during the summer. I ordered 500L at the start of September costing £301 (so used up all over my boilerjuice credit (£50 X 6 payments april- sept) which I hope will last to at least after xmas if I go very lightly with the heating. I am trying to last til start November without having it on.

just checked on the meter and the DH uses 0.08KW- I do have a booklet somewhere that showed me how to work out the hourly cost but I cant put my hand on it just now. will try google.

specialsubject Tue 17-Sep-13 18:10:15

oh, and anyone on storage heaters - beat up your electricity company to get as much cheap rate time as possible. If you have old heaters there are special tariffs for you, but you have to DEMAND, not ask nicely.

also make sure they are being set and used correctly.

it is going to warm up over the weekend!

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 18:11:26

Wrt storage heaters ask for economy ten not seven. You very an extra boost in the afternoon. Still expensive to run though.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 18:11:37

Get not very

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 18:11:55

I am in NI and only parts have mains gas. it's not reached us yet in my part of the country. I would love it though.

specialsubject Tue 17-Sep-13 18:12:47

and one more - get off Boilerjuice and standing orders, expensive way of doing it! Save your standing order into an account of your own over the summer, don't give it to them.

you can save a few pence a litre by shopping around, and on 500 litres that adds up.

working out costs: a 'unit of electricity' is a kilowatt hour, i.e. an item that uses one kilowatt being left on for one hour. So your dehumidifier uses 0.08 of a unit per hour. Call it a tenth, and with a unit price of (say) 20p that is 2p an hour. Which surprises me.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 18:13:38

Do candles really make that much of a difference? I have tons of them in my emergency boxgrin

didireallysaythat Tue 17-Sep-13 18:13:49

Our library was loaning out electricity monitors - the sort you clip onto your feed in. You can then go around turning everything off to see what really cost the most to run. For us our TV is the worse thing. Thankfully we have 2 kids who don't go to sleep easily so I haven't watched the TV in years. Saving us a fortune....

PigletJohn Tue 17-Sep-13 18:14:33

For my "best buy" tumble drier, "Which" estimates an electricity cost of £100 p.a. assuming three full-capacity loads per week, so about 66p per load.

Smaller, or synthetic, loads would use less.

I am very much opposed to hanging wet clothes on radiators, because this is the main cause of condensation, damp and mould in UK homes.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 18:19:19

Piglet-I use my drier and I don't really notice the difference in my bill between summer months and winter. I think I worked it out when we first got it and I worked out at about 30p a load but that was 12 years ago so ties in with what you said.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 18:22:25

I don't hang washing in the house either , really bad for the house.

Bunbaker Tue 17-Sep-13 18:29:06

"I get really angry about the different prices charged between those who have pay as you go meters, and the rest of us. My gas and electricity is £100 a month, and we have the heating on low level (19 degrees) constantly as we found this was cheaper than firing it up for 5 hours a day (YMMV so run an experiment for a couple of weeks). We have a combi boiler so have hot water on demand - immersion heaters are extremely expensive to run."

But if you are already a struggling family, finding the £1.5K - £2K to switch to a better, more efficient heating system is an impossibility, so they get stuck feeding £40+ into the meters every month."

I agree. It is always the least well off who pay the most. Our 4 bed detached house costs a lot less to keep warm than some of the 2 bed flats described on here, and we aren't stingy with the heating. I have lived in a cold house with no central heating during one of the coldest winters I can recall and there is no way I want to do that again. (Our gas/elec is less than £100 per month)

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 18:29:10

blush

I don't know how I got that quite so wrong but the DH actually uses 0.2KW not 0.08KW.

my unit price is 17.59p so that works out at costing 3.52p an hour and takes 12ish hours to dry 1X8kg load of washing. making it 42.24p to dry one washload.

when I did have the TD it would take about 2-2.5 hours to dry an 8kg load in it (separating into 2/3 smaller loads rather than all at once as it wouldn't dry) i'm not sure how much a TD costs to run per hour.

elfycat Tue 17-Sep-13 18:29:15

re candles. I have a whole cupboard of the buggers as I keep getting them as gifts. I obviously look the 'gift a candle' type I love them Scented ones, tealights, pretty christmas ones etc.

You soon notice the difference when you walk out of the room for a wee or to go to bed. We use them as lighting if we're watching a film so switch the energy efficient lights off too.

I'll send a star shaped M&S glass tealight holder, 6 tea lights, a glade airwick candle and a box of matches to the first fire sensible PLEASE applicant who want to see if this works smile I'm trying to declutter.

Gracie990 Tue 17-Sep-13 18:29:59

^^ to the lady with poles :-)

You can hang your curtains well above and to the side of the window to help seal the gap more. You can pin your curtain sides to the wall and tuck behind your radiator. Poles are not as good as swish type hangers but look better

I don't know how expensive the window Velcro thingy is but you can get really cheap, ikea, Argos type blackout blinds which might be as good and less faff.

Btw I did see the condensation catchers in aldi this week for anyone with that issue.

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 18:31:20

ah I see PJ and valium have posted TD costs. hmm- so it could be cheaper to TD and it could be dearer grin

honeybunny14 Tue 17-Sep-13 18:34:14

I really feel for u and ur family must b terrible having to cut back on keeping your house warm last year my heating was on loads it tried to cut back bt it was very hard with dcs

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 18:34:53

thanks gracie I will check out those blinds in ikea/argos!

I am in a rented house and the batons for the curtain poles are right above the window (I mean very close to the edge where the window starts.) and I cant move them for risk of losing my deposit! grin

captainmummy Tue 17-Sep-13 18:48:53

I've lifted the floors downstairs to insulate under them - you lose 15% of heat downwards. Realise it's not practical for everyone!
Insulate loft hatch.
Def wear warm slippers/socks- if your feet are warm , you feel warm.
Make soup.
Clingfilm/insulating film over windows for seconary glazing.

I have a log-burner - best thing in my house!

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 18:49:43

Right, I'm must going to dig out some candlesgrin

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 18:51:23

Definitely agree about warm feet. I wear fake ugg boots as slippers and they work well and were 12 quid iirc and they've lasted 2 years.

MissMilliment Tue 17-Sep-13 19:02:37

I have curtains on poles, and in winter I hang an extra, not-too-heavy curtain right up against the window glass, using net curtain fixings (that long elastic cable stuff and little hooks screwed into the window frame). You can take it down easily for the day and it adds an extra layer right next to the glass at night time. I use a tablecloth and the bottom of it bunches up on the windowsill and blocks loads of cold air. You can't see it in the room as its behind the normal curtains.

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 19:09:48

thanks missmiliment that is a great idea.

MissMilliment Tue 17-Sep-13 19:16:45

You're welcome smile. It also works brilliantly as extra blackout in the summer if, like me, you have a child who pings awake at the first sniff of daylight.

DumSpiroSpero Tue 17-Sep-13 19:25:30

Don't know where you are OP but we have a couple of huge fluffy blankets which we got a few years ago from Brick Lane market - £15 each for double bed size. They are really cosy and have stayed lovely and soft through several washes.

tobiasfunke Tue 17-Sep-13 19:29:07

Stopping all the draughts is the main thing.
You want something like this for the windows and inside the door frames if there is a draught there
www.diy.com/nav/build/insulation/draught-excluders/seals/Extra-Thick-Weatherstrip-Seal-10mm-x-7m-Brown-11607769
I would get silicon sealant to stop the draughts between the frames and windows themselves.
Keep all the doors shut.

We live in a freezing cold draughty old farmhouse in Scotland and our heating bill is horrendous despite having stoves.
This winter we're only heating our kitchen/living room and Ds's bedroom.

I would recommend fleece onesies with the feet for evening wear. A lot of hot water bottles and I wear a hat a lot. If it is really cold in the kids bedrooms get them sleeping bags for under their duvets - they keep the heat in better

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 19:57:07

I am in the middle of knitting some bears for my dcs and was going to do some for friends dcs and give them as xmas gifts but after reading this thread I think I will make them 'wheat teddies' (with the rice in tights suggested upthread) and give them now so they have them for winter. will have to think of something else for xmas though grin

Vivacia Tue 17-Sep-13 20:06:46

captmummy how did you insulate under your floorboards? Our house just has the void below the timbers and air bricks in the external walls.

confusedofengland Tue 17-Sep-13 20:29:58

Ooh, just thought of another thing. In bed, have fleece blankets underneath your sheets. Lovely & soft & toasty warm smile

captainmummy Tue 17-Sep-13 21:03:00

Vivicia - I had to lift the floorboards and remove skirting boards. I was having work done anyway and it was the ideal time - was v disruptive. I used Celotex 2"thick and just wedged it between the floor joists, then relaid the floorboards. I had wood floor put down and then the skirting boards on top so there are no gaps between floor and skirting.

Regarding curtain poles - I hang a length of material across the top of the poles between poles and wall, sort of like a swag (v 80s but effective) and down beside the curtain sides. I actually did this to stop the light coming in from behind the curtain in the summer in my bedroom, with a thin voile bunched up, but a thick material would also stop draughts from roundthe sides and top.

duchesse Tue 17-Sep-13 21:03:13

Can I just chip in and recommend a dehumidifier rather than a tumble drier? Quite apart from the fact that they dry clothes even in mid-winter in a day, the lower humidity makes it feel warmer. They are also a lot cheaper to run than either the tumble drier or the heating.

captainmummy Tue 17-Sep-13 21:04:10

I also put a blanket under the mattress - in fact my dp uses cardboard under his, to stop cold from coming up!

mummytime Tue 17-Sep-13 21:09:08

Stop Gap is good to stop draughts between floorboards (carpets are good insulation too.

D0oinMeCleanin Tue 17-Sep-13 21:21:12

I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet but WarmFront, some councils and some energy companies (E-on were doing it last year) give free cavity wall and loft insulation to people on certain benefits.

We got ours done because DH receives a disability element to WTC. They get more money per year if they use all of their money, so they're usually quite desperate to sign people up. E-on and WarmFront were round here constantly last year begging me to let them look at our extension so they could insulate it.

WarmFront also do grants for home owners to install new energy efficient central heating systems and boilers. Again you have to be claiming certain benefits but it's worth looking into.

E-on gave us a bucket load of energy saving light bulbs last year, so it's worth contacting your supplier to see if they do anything similar.

When we were young my mum had one of those old style portable gas fires and gas bottles. I'm not sure if they still sell them anyway or if it would work out cheaper than the central heating system?

PigletJohn Tue 17-Sep-13 21:33:27

18p per kWh seems quite expensive.

I pay just under 12p for electricity and 4p for gas. On an EDF online scheme. Have a look on Martin's website if you are paying much more. If you don't know your price or your usage you are probably not doing well. The brochures or instruction books for tumbledriers may say their kW rating at full and half power. Multiply it by running hours to find kWh and then by price to find cost.

Prepayment meters are awful so try to get off them.

earlgray Tue 17-Sep-13 21:47:30

We did this last winter (Jan-Mar) because our ancient boiler failed and we couldn't afford to replace it. There were only 2 of us then (about to be 3) and as others have said we kept ourselves shut in one room in the evening and covered ourselves in blankets and a duvet. All the internal doors are were kept shut and curtains shut before dark. I also wouldn't be without an electric blanket. I don't know how much it costs to run but we only used it for 15 minutes to warm the bed before leaping in! It made a huge difference and they are not too expensive to buy.
Personally I'd worry about leaving the bath full to heat the air - it fills the air with moisture which makes it much cooler long term and may cause mould/mildew without heating to keep it at bay.
For your sake I hope we have a mild winter this year, I wouldn't want to do it again. Good luck x

duchesse Tue 17-Sep-13 21:54:27

Ask the internets and ye shall find...

Somebody here has actually worked out the relative cost of tumble drier versus dehumidifier. Respect!

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 22:01:49

it is quiet expensive but I am in NI and there are only two electric companies (there was only NIE until a few years ago!) powerNI and Airtricity. I did do a switch to Airtricity last year but they said they weren't able to complete the switchover so I left it and then they kept sending letters saying it again and again that they couldn't complete it. then found out they had switched a lot of people over based on a phonecall that was just supposed to be enquiries- none of them had actually agreed to switch but then found themselves being switched over. they aren't getting great reviews so I stayed with powerNI. I'm not allowed to change to direct debit as I rent this house.

LegoCaltrops Tue 17-Sep-13 22:19:42

Buy cheap lengths of fleece from a fabric shop, instead of blankets. easy to wash & dries quickly over an airer. Great as a blanket, throw etc. Cut hole in the middle to make a cheap poncho to wear around the house for less than 50p worth of fabric. I made one for toddler DD from her old fleece cot blanket (also homemade obviously). Or make one of those snuggly blanket things with arm holes to keep warm while sitting on the sofa.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 22:51:56

If you read the whole of that thread out gets interesting as initially DHs seem to ruin cheaper then someone does proper maths art the snag of the thread and works out they are twice as expensive to fun as driersgrin

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 22:52:49

Omg the typos in my last postblush grin

HoopHopes Tue 17-Sep-13 22:53:04

I grew up in a house with a lack of heating and try to limit heating now. I find helpful. as others already mentioned:
- layers of clothing
- hot water bottle at night
- exclude as many draughts as possible
- use libraries, sure start, free baby groups etc in the day so not in the house much
- hot meal, hot drink, exercise all help
- blanket on sofa
- batch baking and cooking meals in bulk and freezing so less oven time used etc. only boiling water needed and using any spare for flask or hot water bottle
- early nights as bed with hot water bottle and warm bedding and warm pj's and socks sometime the only place to be.
For my dc I have bought one of the thermostatic controlled heaters for his room as I am worried about dc being cold. But it is set as a certain temperature and it is meant to be fairly economic and he does not have it on yet as warm clothes and bedding fine just yet. It is my one luxury heating wise!

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 23:05:36

again in English valium grin

I got your gist. I think it's more complicated to work out than I initially thought. there must be huge variation in what different brands cost to run and also how they run.

I think people can only use their own specific TD and DH to work out which is cheaper for them. I wouldn't advise anyone to buy a DH just to dry washing if they already have a TD or the other way round. if I had neither I would probably go for a TD just for the space and time saving factor even if it was a bit more expensive. also, you can dry clothes indoors without a DH and then finish them off in a TD and they feel lovely grin

YoungBritishPissArtist Tue 17-Sep-13 23:05:41

Yy to batch cooking. I love having my slow cooker on in winter, warms my whole kitchen smile

I live in a big ol' drafty Victorian house with ancient sash windows.

I always thought you should open windows every day all year round, even for just a few minutes. Can you do that and still stick cling film/bubble wrap over?

Bunbaker Wed 18-Sep-13 06:39:08

This thread is so depressing. It is shocking to think that people have to live like this.

Anyone read the I love winter thread yet?

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 07:23:36

I love winter, much more than summer, just don't like the heating bills!

captainmummy Wed 18-Sep-13 08:34:20

'live like this'? - what did we do before central heating? The poster who doesnt want the dc to get cold - it (probably) won't kill them! Unless there is a medical reason why they should be kept warm, what's the problem? Lots of us grew up with ice on the inside of the windows in winter. (Elderly = different)
I think it is and should be up to us to draught-proof our homes as much as possible, heat them as efficiently as possible, insulate them. Otherwise we are using huge amounts of fossil-fuels to leak through holes to the outside. How is that the 'government's' fault? We live in a cool climate, in old houses.
Heat is expensive (ok oil/gas/electric companies should not be making such a profit but they are in the business of making money) and we should use it well, not flagrantly-cos-it's-cheap.
A neighbour of mine heated her house to 25C all year round - it was baking. She would walk about in shorts and cami in winter, normal people like me would turn up for coffee in jumpers and roast! (My house thermostat is 15C)

burberryqueen Wed 18-Sep-13 08:36:10

what did we do before central heating
-had open fires, wood burners, stoves etc

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 08:39:50

Living without CH is fine as long as you have an alternative source of heat like a gas fire or open fire/wood burner etc. NO heat is not acceptable and I say that as someone who has the CH on at 16 in the day only if it's freezing and off completely at night so am pretty hardy.

LisaMedicus Wed 18-Sep-13 08:42:33

If you have dehumidifiers anyway like we do then they are better than tumble driers. A lot of the draught stuffing suggestions can lead to condensation and mould and you need to be aware of that.

It's really difficult to get the balance right.

StarfishTrooper Wed 18-Sep-13 09:25:22

what did we do before central heating - we built houses differently, we used stoves and open fire, we dressed in natural materials, or we were just blooming cold.

My mum doesn't have central heating. We don't use ours very much. We both have one woodburner downstairs. But we both live in very old houses made of cobb, straw and stone walls that are about two feet thick. These houses were built out of natural materials that breathe and keep the houses cosy in winter and cool in summer. We are very very lucky. We also live in a part of the country where it very rarely dips below freezing, e.g. last winter we had one frost, no ice, no snow.

It's just not so easy in a Victorian single skin house or a modern new build to survive without central heating. Loads of great tips on this thread.

PigletJohn Wed 18-Sep-13 10:02:00

what did we do before central heating

If we were rich enough, we had low-paid miners hewing coal, low-paid coalmen delivering it, low-paid maids and housekeepers making up our fires, low-paid chimneysweeps keeping our chimneys going.

The vast majority of the population were cold, and had chilblains and coughs all winter, and old people and babies pegged out in cold weather. If they were lucky that had a bath once a week in front of the kitchen range. Your great-grandma had to darn socks because if she was one or the ordinary people, she couldn't afford to buy new ones, and she had to put coats on the bed because she couldn't afford extra blankets.

duchesse Wed 18-Sep-13 10:31:19

As PigletJohn says, people got nasty chilblains, pneumonia, constant lung infections from living in smokey environments etc. (not to mention appalling burns from long skirts catching fire on open cooking ranges) Many died young, often very young, often from diseases linked to living in cold damp conditions as well as overcrowding and malnutrition. It's the ones that survived that were the hardy ones- lots of people did not survive.

I lived in an unheated house between the age of 6 and the age of 14. I had bronchitis every single year. We had to get dressed in bed. There was ice inside the windows every winter. This was in SW France. I do not think it acceptable in this day and age for anyone to have to live without heating, especially in the older housing stock and especially at our latitudes. We are only just a bit lower than the Arctic Circle. It routinely gets down to below - 10C in Scotland.

FWIW, Canada recommends that the houses of older people should be heated to 21C in the winter- this seems to be a crunch temperature for lowering rates of lung infection.

And ridding your house of as much damp as possible is crucial to reducing disease. Hence my comments about dehumidifiers.

Sahmof3 Wed 18-Sep-13 10:34:19

I also can't afford to have the heat on unless it's really arctic, so this is what we do in the winter:
- use electric mattress covers (they're better than electric blankets as no cold spots) and we go to bed early and read/watch TV in bed
- electric throw for the sofa (sit snuggled up with this over us - it is fab!)
- fleece pyjamas from Primark are very cosy, as are their fluffy socks.Wear fleece dressing gowns over clothes around the house. Primark uggs instead of slippers keep our feet toasty
- wear woolly tights under clothes, or thermals. Uniqlo sold fluffy leggings last year which really kept me warm under trousers!
- heattech clothes from Uniqlo, plus found their fleeces brilliant.
- fleece blankets on top of sheet in bed, plus another to sleep under (but under the duvet)
- take advantage of heated places like libraries and museums, or Cineworld £1 movies for juniors. Spend that bit longer in the supermarket or shopping centres. Stay and watch all the kids indoor after school activities rather than going home in between.
- car and train journeys become a pleasure in winter as at least I'm actually warm!

Sahmof3 Wed 18-Sep-13 10:39:15

I feel the cold more than most and in winter I find it really hard to move ...I literally freeze! Housework becomes incredibly difficult. So, I am in the process of decluttering now and packing away anything not needed during the winter. This way there will be less to clean and, hopefully, I'll be able to keep on top of things.

LovingKent Wed 18-Sep-13 10:42:03

I've only had time to read part of this thread but some great tips here - thank you smile

A lot of the tips I would suggest have already been mentioned but my top tips are:-

If you can't find / afford thermals / they don't fit under your clothes comfortably long socks work quite well
Thermals are sometimes in the January sales - I got mine for half price as few years ago as they are bright purple. The colour is revolting but as no one can seem them under your clothes I don't care grin.

Someone back up the thread mentioned Economy 7. Got the MSE email this morning which has a whole section about it. Here is the link - hope its working now MSE Economy 7 guide

There is also a forum for discussing Economy 7 MSE Economy 7 forum

LovingKent Wed 18-Sep-13 10:44:43

Forgot to add that a tip from a builder was not to seal off your loft hatch too well as your water tank could freeze. Since houses have been better insulated he has been called out more to deal with this as there is no heat going between the loft and the house making the temperature in the loft much lower.

duchesse Wed 18-Sep-13 10:48:01

Forgot to add the cinema- many of our parents' and grandparents' generation spent long evenings at the cinema, where it was warm. Films were longer and there were shorts at a newsreel as well. Also they went to the pub and working mens' clubs a lot more. Part of this was to benefit from the heat.

yegodsandlittlefishes Wed 18-Sep-13 10:50:50

PigletJohn you're right there. But did you know that miners got free coal themselves? My grandad was a miner, didn't own the little terraced house he lived in. But they had a great grange in the kitchen and a coal delivery which was free, still is for miners.(Though there is an argument against that for environmental and health reasons).

Viognier Wed 18-Sep-13 11:24:49

Duchesse - you are way off mark with your -10c temperatures for Scotland. The coldest months (Jan and Feb) daytime are +5 or +6.

duchesse Wed 18-Sep-13 11:41:12

Average temperatures are not much use to you if you're the one sitting in your house at 3am when it's -20C (scroll down to temperature for averages and minima and maxima)

duchesse Wed 18-Sep-13 11:43:17

"The graphs show the average frequency of air and ground frost at Braemar and Edinburgh RBG. These show that the frost-free season is often as little as 3 months."

Viognier Wed 18-Sep-13 11:54:03

Duchesse - don't know how else to put this but you are speaking rubbish. I come from one of the coldest regions in Scotland so do actually know what I'm talking about. I also ski in the the French Alps where I refuse to ski when the temperature reaches -15 degrees.

It does not "get routinely below -15c degrees in Scotland"

ParsingFancy Wed 18-Sep-13 11:59:50

Re water tanks in the loft.

The trick is actually to make sure they are inside the house's insulated and heated area.

So wrap and drape loft insulation over them, and don't put insulation under them. They will now receive warmth from the warm room below, and keep that warmth because of the covering insulation.

Then you can draughtproof and seal your loft hatch - which you want to do anyway as not only do you lose heat through it, but the warm, moist house air whistling into the loft will be depositing condensation all over your cold rafters, and soggy rafters will eventually rot.

Viognier Wed 18-Sep-13 12:01:42

or even - 10c !

yegodsandlittlefishes Wed 18-Sep-13 12:24:27

I think we can agree that it routinely gets to -10 degrees for some nights each winter in Scotland. Not routinely at that temperature all the time, every day (although the wind chill factor can make it feel that way sometimes) but that Scotland has (al least recently) had predictably cold winters. Perhaps 'regularly' would have been a more precise word to use instead of 'routinely'. (As in: I regularly have a bath once a year whether I need it or not.) Winters were not as cold in Scotland 20 so years ago as now, for a time there was no snow to ski on year to year.

I also grew up in the 70s and 80s in a reasonably large 3 bed house with only one gas fire in the front room. There was the ice thing going on on the insides of our bedroom windows in winter, it wasn't pleasant but we just jumped out of bed and hopped about a bit to keep warm, got dressed quickly etc.
Winter was electric blankets, warm clothes, I can't remember a time without slippers when I lived at home. We were just used to it and it was a part of winter.
However I do think that now we are so used to central heating etc we feel the cold more, so we've decided to train our bodies this year to get used to lower temperatures. We haven't had the heating on yet but dp has put the woodburning stove on (installed last December, has almost paid for itself already) just for a few hours each evening after we've had tea. So instead of keep stacking it with wood, he lights it, and we only 'refill' it once so that its not burning much by the time we go to bed but the metal stove is still hot and radiating heat. We are determined this year to only use the central heating as an addition to the stove, unlike last year when the heating just came on then we put the stove on if it wasn't quite cosy enough in the front room.

Also we have a stovetop kettle which we keep on it,, provides hot water (not quite boiling just needs 20 seconds on the gas ring to finish off) a few times a night plus the water for one hot water bottle.

Then sometimes we put a pan of beans on it and toast bread in front of it - meal cooked for free! Or baked potatoes inside it.

One thing dp is really strict about, and me too since I realised he is right, is keeping the house dry. It feels so much warmer as you are only having to heat air, rather than damp air. The poster who said the warm air from the heated clothes dryer thingy goes into the house - well so does all the water out of the clothes.

We never ever ever dry clothes in the house - even if the rain stops for an hour or so I will bung some washing out on the days I'm at home, it makes a big difference, and then tumble dry only if I absolutely can't get it dry outside. The cost of the tumble dryer far outweighs the cost of heating damp air imo. Also, even when its bitterly cold we open all the doors for at least 10 mins every day to air the house. Old houses with open fires used to feel warmer cos they were so well ventilated. So yes to draught excluders when you are sitting still in the house and trying to keep heat in, a big fat NO to blocking up airbricks and making your house damp by lack of ventilation.

I am not going to suggest leaving the oven door open after cooking, cos when we were skint, use of the oven was limited as its expensive to run.

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 13:02:36

I agree with airing the house,I always open windows every day whatever the weather and always when cooking.

I know this is obvious but it's not been said - go out as much as possible during the day.

Free galleries, libraries, museums - all the municipal places that are well heated.

It's 16 degrees in my house so I'm currently sat outside in the car where it's roasting as its really sunny grin
Obviously that's not an option in the depths of winter but right now my car is 10 degrees warmer than my house. I've even got the dog with me - and my wifi still works to post this from outside.

Vivacia Wed 18-Sep-13 14:39:03

laurie that's been suggested repeatedly.

Leavetheguntakethecannoli Wed 18-Sep-13 14:59:00

Have a look on YouTube at diy solar heaters, I made a small one to test the idea, i tested outside with air temp of 2 deg c in January the air temp coming out of the top of the heater was reading 36 deg c , so it really does work. You can source a lot of the materials for free but have to be quite handy to build. Only works in the sun. One drawback of free heat.

Bunbaker Wed 18-Sep-13 15:44:31

"Only works in the sun"

We get very little sun in winter in my part of the world.

YoureBeingADick Wed 18-Sep-13 15:53:37

So you have to have the heater out in the sun to get heat from it? confused

duchesse Wed 18-Sep-13 15:54:28

Gosh, I am very surprised given that as recently as 2010 and 2011 it got down to -15C at night here in East Devon (not even Dartmoor where such weather is commonplace) for a fortnight at a time in two consecutive winters. I guess there must have been some kind of inversion from the top to the bottom of the British Isles going on where it was actually warmer in the north than the south.

expatinscotland Wed 18-Sep-13 20:14:09

All these suggestions, of how to just put up with it. And yy, before central heat, many people, particularly the young/children and elderly died as a direct result of open fires and their output, damp and respiratory problems, etc. Not much but a few posts about why people in 2013 in one of the richest countries on Earth are not able to eat AND afford a modicum of heat.

PosyNarker Wed 18-Sep-13 20:18:11

This thread inspires and depresses me in equal measure. I'm sad that people had to think like this, but I'm inspired by some of the idea because I feel like we should save energy and we have had some incredibly large bills).

Not one for when you're really skint, but I noticed a few posters mentions tumble dryers. We replaced ours when it conked out with an A rated condenser dryer. It was about £100 more expensive, but that hundred quid paid for itself within 6 months and I'd expect a lifespan of 7-10 years (our working hours make it difficult to hang out the washing through the week unless willing to get up at 5 and /or hang it out through the dew fall, which rather defeats the point IMO).

Tight flooring / skirting can make a huge difference. Our bills dropped massively when we fixed that. We weren't skint, so we fixed it when we got to it (replacing flooring & joinery which there were other really good reasons for doing), but had I realised how much it was costing us I would have been down siliconing the previous skirting to save in the interim.

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 21:08:31

Why are condenser driers better out of interest?

VixStarr Wed 18-Sep-13 21:32:28

somebody mentioned up thread about tumble driers and dehumidifiers - could anyone recommend models/websites?

Keep the bath or shower water in the bath until it is completely cold - it warms up the bathroom a treat.

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 21:55:40

Does it not cause condensation?

PigletJohn Wed 18-Sep-13 21:57:32

For tumbledriers, the cheapest best buy vented is the AEG T65170AV if you can get it for £271

I got a vented Bosch, in the summer from John Lewis, it has now gone up to £309 and is the next cheapest vented. I like Bosch and I prefer vented, they are simpler so less to go wrong, and all the steam goes outside. I also like Siemens, and Miele if you can afford it.

Condensor drier best buys start at £280 for the Beko DSC64S. You can get a nice Miele for £1,000. Condensor driers do blow out a certain amount of steam, the cheaper ones tend to be worse.

Some people think they can't have a vented drier because of the steam snout, but you can get a core drill from a tool hire shop that will cut neat round holes in walls to fit the duct. It is so easy that when I hired one shortly after moving house, I did extra holes for a cooker hood, an extractor in the utility room, and the place where a shower was going to go, and even a spare hole in the room next to the bathroom in case one day I wanted it to be a laundry room. They are rather heavy.

PigletJohn Wed 18-Sep-13 21:58:57

p.s.
I hired it for half a day and was quite busy

I don't find it too bad valium - most of the condensation is there by the time the bath is finished so leaving it in doesn't tend to add that much tbh.

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 22:05:11

We have a meile condenser, it was about 600. Our last one lasted 13 years.

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 22:09:38

Big initial outlay but cheap to run and last years.

YoureBeingADick Wed 18-Sep-13 22:21:19

was your last one a miele val? my last two driers lasted two years each! first one was hotpoint I think and cant remember what happened it. the next one was indesit and the element went- had it replaced at a cost of £65 and it went again within 6 months. replaced it again myself using a new element for that model from ebay supplier and it went after a week so I have given up on the thing. it's sitting taking up space in my utility- the element was a bastard to replace but I don't want to dump the machine incase it is fixable nor do I have the money to get a repairman in to fix it at £65 a pop.

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 22:24:08

Yes it was. Or washing machine is a Meile too and is still going after 13 years with no sign of giving up yet. Dh is a bit obsessive about good quality white goods weirdo

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 22:24:23

Our

YoureBeingADick Wed 18-Sep-13 22:35:58

you see I would be a bit like your DH except I was with EXP at the time and he saw no reason at all why we couldn't just buy the two cheapest appliances in the argos catalogue 'because they all do the same job' (as if he would know? he never went near the things!) hmm you would not believe the fight I had on my hands to get him to agree to what we ended up getting. I was making all my friends and family tell him their recommendations at every opportunity until he caved.

captainmummy Thu 19-Sep-13 08:26:44

Talking of leaving the water in the bath - make sure you insulate under the bath (you can use that fibreglass stuff) andthe water will stay hotter for longer, not leaching the heat out through the sides

earlgray Thu 19-Sep-13 08:33:27

In fairness to my washing machine, it was the cheapest in the shop in 2003 and its still going strong! Its had a few little problems but I pay 10 quid a mth for insurance for it. Pays for itself I think as they will replace it when its beyond repair and everything that's failed on it so far has taken about 10 mins tops to fix. Next time I would choose a washer-dryer in one for space saving, we don't have a dryer now but with baby on the way think it might be needed.

valiumredhead Thu 19-Sep-13 08:50:17

Earlgrey-make sure you have insurance if you get a washer drier as my experience of them is awful!

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Thu 19-Sep-13 09:51:23

Thermal long johns and long sleeve tops under clothing helps.

earlgray Thu 19-Sep-13 10:17:57

Thanks valium, I think I would anyway but I guess there's more to go wrong in them isn't there. My mum has one and hasn't complained so far but I don't think she uses the dryer much. The washing machine is the only thing i'd ever get insurance for, can't face hand washing anything!

PavlovtheCat Thu 19-Sep-13 10:20:48

tea-lights and lanterns in the front room while reading, watching tv etc is actually fab. I am not a huge fan of bright lights and find that we only need a few tea-lights to keep the place lit well enough to read. And in the winter it's just so cosy. The kids often ask for me to put them on for their bedtime story and they are enjoying it getting dark early so we can do it more regularly.

Most of the things I would have said has been said, but I will add them anyway, to add some weight for their success!

We close the doors to all the rooms we don't use.
Use a draft excluder (a bit fat roll of stuffing with 'love' written on. you can make your own pretty ones using old material really easily). Our front door leads to a communal hallway which has no heating and we lose a lot of heat this way.
Open curtains in the day, close before it gets dark.
Use tealights to light the front room (not in the bedroom in case you fall asleep, fire hazard).
Don't watch TV very often, read books, play games, kids play with toys, we do art and drawing, DH and I play cards, backgammon.

Damnautocorrect Thu 19-Sep-13 10:28:17

what did we do before central heating

Some of us still don't have it now. Doesn't get over 14 in my house in winter, it's hard.

PavlovtheCat Thu 19-Sep-13 10:30:19

before central heating, my mother had a dangerous old parafin heater that proper blasted out the heat, and a rubbish electric heater, we had slippers, dressing gowns and socks, hot water bottles at bed time.

valiumredhead Thu 19-Sep-13 10:39:48

Earlgray-we had one that we ended up sending back.

They are often in holiday cottages and the main problem is how few clothes they actually dry and they take hours. You do a wash then have to split the load to dry it as it won't dry a full load. Tiresome! I always end up using clothes airers.

earlgray Thu 19-Sep-13 10:55:26

I've never owned a dryer before, a friend suggested we invest before dc starts to stand/walk as hers used the airer to pull herself up with. Scary! Thanks for the tip.

tobiasfunke Thu 19-Sep-13 13:05:08

When it's cold and damp here I do at least 3 loads of washing then put some in the tumble drier and the rest on our big pulley. The warm air from our condenser tumble drier means the clothes on the pulley dry really quickly. But then our washer/drier is in the utility room.

I've just bought some clear silocone sealer. So I'm on a mission today! smile I'm amazed by how many gaps there are in my house now I've started looking!

Just had the electric company round to fit a pay as you go metre sad because I got in arrears. Does anyone know if you can still swap suppliers when you're on a metre?

YoureBeingADick Thu 19-Sep-13 14:25:19

clementine you can here in NI so I am sure you can in England (is that where you are?)

off topic question but this thread is saying it has 270 messages, and I have my settings so there are 25 messages per page but *clementine's post of 14.12.27 today is showing as the first message on page 12. that can't be right can it? confused sometimes I have a complete brain halt and cant do math but surely post 270 should be on page 11?

fluffiphlox Thu 19-Sep-13 17:14:52

You all sound slightly obsessed to me! Good luck to you all in your efforts.

mummytime Thu 19-Sep-13 17:22:56

The post thing - it depends on the length of the posts I think.

As for the meter This page might help.

valiumredhead Thu 19-Sep-13 17:25:23

Fluff-really helpful posthmm

expatinscotland Thu 19-Sep-13 17:27:23

'Does anyone know if you can still swap suppliers when you're on a metre?'

Yes.

YoureBeingADick Thu 19-Sep-13 17:30:54

thanks mummytime. I am all disoriented grin

fluffi = never been skint.

fluffiphlox Thu 19-Sep-13 17:41:48

No never been skint - yet. You never know what's around the corner, I suppose.
Perhaps this is more helpful: be careful of having an hermetically sealed unheated house. You might do damage to the fabric which will cost your re in the long run. And living with bubble wrap on the windows, isn't that just a bit odd? Seriously, I do wish you well if it's a cold winter.

fluffiphlox Thu 19-Sep-13 17:42:29

MORE

valiumredhead Thu 19-Sep-13 17:48:49

Yes, very clear that you've never been in a position where you simply can't afford to heat your house.

I hope you are never in that position, but if you are I hope no one sneers at you in the way you are doing so now.

frankie4 Thu 19-Sep-13 18:17:51

Back to the topic...

If you have tiled flooring in the kitchen it turns as cold as ice in the winter and the cold can even go through the soles of shoes. So put down some door mats and rugs where you stand at the sink and worktop, and under the table.

valiumredhead Thu 19-Sep-13 18:25:36

Frankie good idea! We have tiles and I have regretted it ever since they were laid!

PigletJohn Thu 19-Sep-13 19:07:48

we're all close to financial problems. All it takes is a bad illness or injury; redundancy or unemployment; a turndown in business; a separation or divorce.

Ups and downs can happen to anybody.

Bunbaker Thu 19-Sep-13 20:04:50

"tea-lights and lanterns in the front room while reading, watching tv etc is actually fab."

No it isn't - not at all. Candle light hurts my eyes and isn't strong enough for me to see by.

"I am not a huge fan of bright lights and find that we only need a few tea-lights to keep the place lit well enough to read."

I love bright lights. I am very short sighted and don't see well in dim light. Candles are only for power cuts only in my house.

ProphetOfDoom Thu 19-Sep-13 20:07:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProphetOfDoom Thu 19-Sep-13 20:08:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fluffiphlox Thu 19-Sep-13 20:35:03

I'm certainly not sneering. I was brought up in a house with only two coal fires and the only toilet was at the bottom of the garden. This was in the 60s. We didn't have bubble wrap to put on the windows. Just frost on the inside
Really, I don't think I should have to resort to pythonesque 'you were lucky' type stuff to justify my credentials.
Nobody needs bubble wrap on the windows I have had a state education and worked for 30 plus years and never claimed anything from anyone. No children and good health. I've been lucky. I'm not denying it. We just used to put extra layers on and keep one room warm. Totally the norm then.
Current joint gas and electric £120 per month. About average I would think for 2013.

PavlovtheCat Thu 19-Sep-13 20:37:23

bun I was talking about my own view though. There is always going to be someone who doesn't like a particular suggestion, and that's all it was, my view, my suggestion, and I love candlelight so that particular way of saving on bills is a great one for me. And I wasn't offering this suggestion to you, but to the OP. who might, or might not love bright lights or candlelight.

SDhopeful Thu 19-Sep-13 20:39:48

Great ideas on here! We should all be doing most of this anyway, not whining that 'the government' should subsidise energy use - the planet cannot sustain everyone having central heating 24/7. Like others, I grew up in a house where only one room was heated with a gas fire - we just wore more and warmer clothes.
We wear layers in winter, cuddle up on sofa under blankets, keep doors shut, curtains closed, etc. Our energy bills are minimal - we always get British Gas checking we are not fiddling the meter - just use energy sensibly, as if is a dwindling resource (which, in fact, it is).

PavlovtheCat Thu 19-Sep-13 21:14:12

This thread has made me look at how we use our resources. We have too many lights on in rooms that are not being used this evening, so I have gone around and turned them off and given dh a bollocking grin

PigletJohn Thu 19-Sep-13 21:41:20

the window film is not bubble wrap, it is a thin clear plastic sheet rather like cling-film, and almost invisible. On a £ per comfort rating, it is excellent, though good loft insulation saves more because roofs are a lot bigger than windows.

OOI, a 3kW electric heater (or tumble drier, or washing-machine during its water-heating cycle, or an immersion heater, or a kettle) uses 3,000watts, though not usually running for long, that would cost about 36-45p an hour depending on your tariff.

A typical energy-saving light bulb uses about 15Watts, though you may have more than one in a room. You could have 200 lamps burning to match a fan heater. The cost of running energy-saving lighting is fairly insignificant. Obviously if you have halogen spots or downlighters you may be using ten times as much to light a room as they are far less efficient. If I turned all the lights on in my house (which I don't), that's 17 lamps which would cost me about 3p an hour, so I'm not much concerned about them. Energy usage on heating and cooling is far greater, so good insulation is really important for energy saving.

Showtime Thu 19-Sep-13 23:59:27

Previous posters have mentioned most of my winter warmers, eg lined curtains, door curtains plus "sausage", as much insulation as possible etc. I've worn hats indoors for many years, and recently been impressed with (fashionable!) fingerless-mittens and wrist-warmers, easy to knit/sew. Buying winter boots slightly large means there's room to add either thick socks or sheepskin-type insoles, both easy to wash and keep fresh, and a supply of hot drinks is really helpful on cold days.

I hesitate to add final suggestion, but on cold nights in a cold bathroom, there's nothing to beat the apparent warmth of a fluffy cover on a loo seat.....

yegodsandlittlefishes Fri 20-Sep-13 09:04:37

Ah, there's a thread stopper, showtime! You do have a point though, and they can be washed easily enough.

Debs75 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:12:43

Earlgrey You can get fixing kits for your washer dryer so that they stand on top of each other. This saves space, obviously and you have your laundry all in one place. However it won't work if your washer is under the counter next to the sink. It might help though

I just watched a film on Facbook, which showed how to make a heater for a small room, using a bread tin, four tea lights, one small terracotta flower pot, and one larger one. You put the lit candles in the bread bin, place the smaller flower pot over the top, and block the hole so that the heat can't escape, and then place the larger flower pot over the top, leaving the hole open. It creates a convection effect so that the heat from the candles heats the room.

And then in the summer, you can use the same terracotta pots to make a "pot in pot" cooler - win/win!

SDhopeful Fri 20-Sep-13 09:40:45

DH bought some fleecy mattress covers from M&S to go under the cheet - toasty! Also use flanelette sheets rather than cotton.

earlgray Fri 20-Sep-13 09:42:50

Thanks Debs, unfortunately we don't have enough height to stack them due to the windows. Plus the plumbing is under the kitchen counter so would required a major reshuffle.

PigletJohn Fri 20-Sep-13 10:23:28

When stacking, the (light) drier goes on top of the (heavy) washer so plumbing usually unchanged.

If drier and washer are same brand, the manufacturer probably offers a stacking kit. I know Bosch do.

There are universal kits but I don't remember seeing them in UK.

earlgray Fri 20-Sep-13 12:59:23

If we wanted to stack them, we'd need to move the washer as its in the middle of the kitchen and would look v silly!

BobbyGentry Fri 20-Sep-13 13:13:17

On your top, wear 3 underlayers (under your normal clothes) of cotton, soft thin wool, cotton to trap the heat. You'll look a bit bulkier but it'll keep you warm.
On your legs, tights, socks and leggings.
Keep a hot water bottle or microwavable heat bag.
Electric blankets would be great.
Hats, scarf and gloves if you can see your breath!
Flannelette blankets are awesome too!
Hoping for a mild winter for you x

valiumredhead Fri 20-Sep-13 13:16:00

Window insulating kit in Aldi atm for 4.99.

wrigglebum Sat 21-Sep-13 08:47:00

Found these instructions for making a microwaveable bed warmer. You could probably find some old sheets in a charity shop (or Fabricland sell some very cheap sheet fabric) to use for the fabric. Rice from Lidl/Aldi or Asian grocer.

I'm planning to make a couple- we took off our electric blanket as we found it made the memory foam topper uncomfortable.

hullmum31 Sat 21-Sep-13 16:07:23

my childhood was made miserable by not having CH. I always envied friends with lovely warm houses. Always vowed to have a warm house when I had my own DC but am still paying off arrears from last year's extra long and harsh winter, so need to cut back this year. Breaks my heart to think DC will have to come home to a chilly house but thanks to OP and those making useful comments

SDhopeful Sat 21-Sep-13 18:38:04

A bit melodramatic to whine that your childhood was made miserable by not having central heating! Considering that for most of history, in most of the world, people have managed to have happy childhoods in far less privileged circumstances, self-pity is not a great example to set your DC.

Vivacia Sat 21-Sep-13 18:43:34

SDhopeful you could write all of that but the first sentence to about half of the posts on here.

oakmouse Sat 21-Sep-13 20:17:22

I also grew up with patches of living in a cold climate without central heating and remember we always got dressed in bed putting the clothes in for a while to warm them up. I loved my hot water bottle wrapped round my nightie, it felt like wearing a hug. Fingerless gloves in the classroom stopped your hands from being stiff with cold. Woolly jumpers on at all times,we didn't have the lovely welly socks we have now though so I wore more than one pair. Running around outside kept us warm too and stodgy food helped!

I minded the heat of my middle eastern childhood much more actually as it was harder to defend against than cold. My mother felt the cold more and of course had the bother and worry of keeping us warm. I do feel a great deal of sympathy for OP as I would never want to glamourise going without heating but thought it was worth saying that my childhood memories of England are far more of the cosy pleasures of keeping warm than the actual cold which was more of a backdrop to those pleasures, IYSWIM.

Our heating can be temperamental so we snuggle under layers of blanket to watch telly. The CDs love to pretend they are going camping indoors draping blankets around, wrapping up and singing campfire songs on my lap under our "tent". They also like snuggling up in bed and telling stories and jokes. After the bath I roll them up in loads of towels and dress them bit by bit, we joke they are caterpillars turning into butterflies. I found Primark thermals brilliant for under everything, also old tights with feet cut off and socks. Clean socks in bed are really cosy!

Along with others, crossing fingers for a mild winter for you!

Merguez Sat 21-Sep-13 20:37:04

flannel sheets and a hot water bottle.

Merguez Sat 21-Sep-13 20:39:17

Thermals from Uniqlo are awesome and not expensive.

Havent read the whole thread, but has anyone mentioned an evening disco? I used to do this with dd when she was younger. Put good dance music on and then dance like crazy for about 5 or 6 songs. Great fun and you'll be boiling by the end of it.grin

YoureBeingADick Sat 21-Sep-13 21:08:18

Borisjohnson that is a great idea! And a very borisesque one at that- can just imagine him suggesting an evening disco to ward off the cold grin

ProphetOfDoom Sat 21-Sep-13 21:22:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

coveredinweetabix Sun 22-Sep-13 23:34:26

OP like many of the other posters, I grew up with no CH. We had no heating at all upstairs and only two rooms downstairs had a form of heating which was ineffective night storage heaters which were on over night and coal fires in the evening. The worse bits I remember were going to sleep under such a weight of blankets that I couldn't roll over (something that duvets, fleeces etc should mean you shouldn't have to suffer from) and getting up in the morning. Will you have any heating on in the morning? If so, can yours & the DCs clothes be left next to that so they can get into warm clothes and get dressed in the warmest bit of the house?
Other tips are:
- have a range of hot drinks in the house eg hot chocolate, hot squash etc as both holding the mug and getting the drink inside you warms you up
- put throws on your sofa. It may not look stylish, but it will be warmed than sitting on leather
- put a hot water bottle in your DC bed 30 mins before they get into bed to warm the bed. I always had two hot water bottles, one to cuddle & one for my feet. If having one at your feet, look out for chilblains.
- if you or your DC often have friends over have a spare jumper/fleece and slippers that they can wear or let them know to bring them.
- can your teenage DD stay at school to do her homework?

Good luck.

awaywiththepixies Mon 23-Sep-13 00:15:32

Whatever you do - don't leave your immersion heater on all the time as it is horrendously expensive. Think my electric bill went from £30 a month to £100 per month when I tried this a few years ago.

A friend who works for British gas told us its better to have your heating on constantly than just put it on for a period. I have my thermostat set to 16 degrees (cool but not cold) 24/7. My gas and electric are with edf and I pay £82 per month. I received a bill about a week ago saying I was nearly £300 in credit. So, it's obviously correct. Why do you think your bills are so high?

awaywiththepixies Mon 23-Sep-13 00:23:20

Check out your eligibility for a warm home discount through your supplier, as you have a child under 5.

PigletJohn Mon 23-Sep-13 04:00:05

It is not true that leaving your heating on 24 hours is cheaper than using the timer.

Heat loss (therefore energy cost) is directly proportional to temperature difference x time.

It is true that setting your thermostat to a lower temoerature will reduce energy cost.

sarahtigh Mon 23-Sep-13 19:29:11

I would get your heating at frost stat so if a suden freeze you do not get frozen pipes which will cost hundreds if not a thousand to put rigght also try and set a bit of money aside so you could put heating on if temperature gets to 0

Iris445 Wed 20-Nov-13 19:01:58

OP just wondering how you are getting on...what worked/ is working to keep you warm?

loveliesbleeding1 Wed 20-Nov-13 22:51:13

Yes, would love to know what's working too.

belleangelhoney Tue 07-Oct-14 12:52:17

I have single electric blankets under sofa throws, they only need to be on low, I am as warm as toast watching tv, and my cats love them too, very cheap to run, I have to turn off the central heating as I get too warm, so cheap all round, and I am warm in bed too with extra tog duvet and throws, my energy supplier has reduced my monthly bill considerably as I was always in credit.

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