For those who can't afford to use central heating this year - How are you going to cope?

(509 Posts)
mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 20:06:51

We have 2 dd's - 3yo and 20mo and already owe money to our suppliers. We are going to have to be careful with not using the heating too much but our house is feeling cold already!

We have bought thermal vests, fleece pjs, fleece tops and extra duvets.

What else can we do?

TBH Im dreading it. By the 3rd week of every month we are skint at the moment.

mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 20:07:35

Should add - We will obviously have to use it when it gets freezing. Im thinking of buying an oil filled heater for the girls room. Would that be cheaper??

SwearyMcSwearason Tue 18-Oct-11 20:12:54

Hot water bottles? I have spent all day today wearing my dressing gown blush

I don't have central heating, just storage heaters that are a bit broken so are either on full or not on at all. I am loath to put them on now and get addicted to the heat!

I find that dd doesn't feel the cold as much as I do, probably because she doesn't sit still for a moment.

witchywitchof2biggerones Tue 18-Oct-11 20:13:25

Make sure all doors and windows are closed, close curtains as soon as it gets dark (I close the upstairs curtains late in the afternoon to retain as much heat as possible). Have you had one of the insultating companies out to see if you can get your house better insulated?

We only have oil to rely on for heat and last year it was horrific for heating costs (think we had £1,000 worth of oil in 6 weeks), we have only just finished paying this off before the next winter starts (in the next day or 2).

If we do put the heating on now, it goes on for an hour or 2 then we turn it off and add layers, tbh the heat stays quite a while in the room.

MurderBloodstabsandgore Tue 18-Oct-11 20:13:47

don't open curtains if you don't have to.

after you cook, open the oven door.

that secondary glazing film works miracles in DS's room.

I have a large blanket that we all snuggle under to watch telly. DS lives under it all morning and doesn't want to get dressed smile

I found the heaters just raised my bills further, so I stopped using them.

TooImmature2BDumbledore Tue 18-Oct-11 20:13:54

Not sure about the oil heater cheapness thing. Halogen heaters are supposed to be cheap.

Try looking up the Warm Deal for cavity wall insulation if your house is suitable. Failing that, try extra thick curtains, putting a curtain over the front door and possibly DIY double glazing. Google it, but it's basically clingfilm, double sided sellotape and you use a hair-dryer to set it. Keep all internal doors shut as far as possible...mmm...can't think of any more. My dad would say if you're feeling cold to go run round the house 10 times!

DawnOfTheDeementedDead Tue 18-Oct-11 20:14:53

Have you seen if you can apply for the warm hone discount scheme?

mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 20:16:03

We had our cavity walls done last year because our house was so damp! The damp is no better but the house is warmer!

Hadnt thought of hot water bottles!

Tianc Tue 18-Oct-11 20:17:09

Deal with drafts where possible. You do need some ventilation, but many houses are like collanders.

What sort of property are you in?

TooImmature2BDumbledore Tue 18-Oct-11 20:17:16

Do you have a working fireplace?

MonsterCherry Tue 18-Oct-11 20:18:37

buy cheap lengths of fleece material and use it to line all your curtains.

mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 20:18:49

We are end of terrace. We have an electric fire that doesnt work!

I would love to put a log burner in but guess that would be v.expensive to do.

Its scary because everyone is saying that they are putting their heating on now! Luckily our house isnt that cold yet and we can just layer up but if it gets colder it wont be easy!!

notjustme Tue 18-Oct-11 20:19:42

I am pretty sure that oil heaters work out astronomical - at least, I have two to heat the shed in the winter for the animals and the first year I used them I had them on a lot, and our bill was nearly £700 just for that quarter blush. Not used them like that since!!

mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 20:20:26

OMG! Maybe I will re think that one!!

fergoose Tue 18-Oct-11 20:21:15

I agree oil radiators eat electric - halogen cheapy heaters are very economical, and very quick to heat up.

Tianc Tue 18-Oct-11 20:21:48

Oh, just saw that you've already done your cavity walls, and also have damp. If you can manage it, keep door to kitchen closed when cooking, and vent damp air out of a window/fan. Ditto bathroom.

Dry laundry outside where possible of course.

This should help keep down the amount of moisture indoors, but I know it's not always practical to do these things.

TooImmature2BDumbledore Tue 18-Oct-11 20:23:50

Do you have loft insulation? You could buy rolls of that yellow itchy insulation stuff and have a bash at it, if not. (I am not going to do this myself as refuse to set foot in the loft, which is haunted by massive spiders and mice, if the giant cobwebs and piles of mouse poo are anything to go by. Also, is rented house and is landlord's responsibility!)

Draft excluders?

Pawsnclaws Tue 18-Oct-11 20:24:50

Warm drinks as often as you need them, and try to keep moving. I know it's tempting to huddle under blankets but a 10 minute dance to some music will really warm you especially cold fingers and toes.

Speaking of which I'd recommend fingerless gloves and definitely slippers.

Chummybud1 Tue 18-Oct-11 20:25:27

We have electric storage heaters which are rubbish. 2 years ago we were advised to buy halogen heaters. We did, this ended with us getting a huge electricity bill, which our supplier blamed slolely on the halogen heaters. Last year we bought a cal or gas heater, it's great, it has a display showing how much gad is in bottle, so we can easily monitor and stretch it out when we need to. We can easily move it from room to room, and the heat off it is amazing. At night we put it on in the living room for a wee while, heat the place then keep the doors shut. We keep all curtains closed from mid afternoon, we all wear housecoats and slippers.

ShowOfHands Tue 18-Oct-11 20:25:37

We don't have central heating, just a fire in the front room.

Electric blankets can be quite economical. Blankets/throws on every sofa or chair for snuggling. Hot water bottles. Bed sharing. Er, porridge?

mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 20:25:41

Im thinking we put more insulation in the loft. Last year we dried clothes in the house so this year it will all be in the garage!

Thanks all, some great tips. Just wish I could live somewhere warmer and then worry about air con!!!

frutilla Tue 18-Oct-11 20:25:55

We don't have central heating where I live. It's warmer than UK but has snowed in the last 5 years. Sometimes the kitchen is the only warm place, we huddle round a portable heater in the bedroom or living room. You get used to it....

Pawsnclaws Tue 18-Oct-11 20:27:55

Also a good idea to get out and about as much as you can. This is why libraries are full of pensioners all winter smile.

Tianc Tue 18-Oct-11 20:28:17

Big users of electricity are anything to do with heating and cooling, so if you can cut back on anything else there, you might be surprised how much you could save.

So fridge should not be next to cooker. Airflow round fridge should be kept clear per manufacturer's instructions.

If you have a separate freezer but don't use it much, consider switching it off.

Washing machine's biggest use is in heating water, so try to do efficient loads.

Tumbler drier eats power.

Sorry if this is all stuff you're either on top of or can't do anything about, by the way.

smokinaces Tue 18-Oct-11 20:30:37

We have hot water bottles. And big fluffy warm blankets on the back of each sofa - even the boys at 3 and 5 know if they feel chilly to curl up in one of those before the heating goes on.

Lots of layers (we have been known to walk around in our dressing gowns over our clothes indoors) and socks/slippers. Rugs in every room (especially if you have wooden floors) Internal doors shut as much as possible, turn rads off in rooms very rarely used so the other rooms heat better. Nets as well as curtains to keep the heat in, and try and get long ones that tuck behind radiators so the heat is retained in the room and not straight out the window.

We have thick winter duvets at night, with big blankets over the top and fleecy PJs.

I try not to use my heating much. My thermostat rarely goes under 20, and it usually goes on for an hour in the morning and maybe 2 in the evening at most. Other people (such as my Mum!) when they visit say my house feels cold to them, but to me and my 2 kids it is normal and we are happy with a cooler house.

amistillscary Tue 18-Oct-11 20:31:16

Get/knit wrist warmers and scarves to wear indoors. They make a huge difference to how warm you feel to cover up any areas of exposed skin.

Wrist warmers can be made from the sleeves of old sweaters.

Use Fleece Blankets safety pinned to the back of curtains to increase their insulating properties. You could also make door curtains from cheap fleece blankets for you external doors. I'm making some for indoors as my house is very open plan-we're going to have to hang curtains in the open doorways this winter.

Don't have the heating on through the night. Turn it off half an hour before you go to bed, as the radiators will stay warm. If cold in bed, use an old duvet as a 'mattress topper', as well as putting extra layers on the bed. Wear socks in bed also.

Fourthdimensionallizard Tue 18-Oct-11 20:31:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

smokinaces Tue 18-Oct-11 20:32:41

And we found the heating here isnt a huge gas guzzler - but the hot water is! I dont have a combi boiler, so the water needs heating up in advance. We dont have it on timer, I put it on for 30 minutes before we have a shower, and that does the boys bath that night as well. I only shower every other day, and the boys bathe the same, every other night. That has saved us a fortune in gas.

sarahtigh Tue 18-Oct-11 20:36:19

line your curtians even if it cotton rather than fleece as it will still trap a layer of air betwen the 2 fabrics, lining should be about 10cm shorter than curtain , to not attach bottom edge just other 3 edges so still hang nice and if washed the fabric does not go out of shape

make sure yuo wear tight fitting long slleved legs when fitting loft insulation as otherwise may get hundreds of tiny cuts from fibre particles

remeber you will be warmer wearing vest shirt and jumper than just a big thicker jumper layers keep you warmer, hot water bottles 20 minutes before bed really warm a bed put in feet position

it might seem silly when cold but when sun is shining open a window for some fresh air and to stop damp especially in bathroom

when finished cooking dinner if children not around leave oven door open for heat to escape into kitchen could put clothes horse in friont of oven so any escaping heat dries clothes

I have dressing gowns ready for when we get in, they go OVER what we are wearing. basically the dressing gowns are indoor coats.
Radfleks(foil radiator thingys) for when i do switch it on (planning to hold out til nov) hopefully itll go a bit further.
In the morning we start with exercise- whilst breakfast is cooking we do 5 dances (my toddler and me, not my dh and mewink)
I try to spend between 1 and 4 out of the house at least and one whole day elsewhere (on rainy days this involves visiting numerous friends family, stealing their heatblush)
I try not to open curtains if i can because i swear double glazing or not there is some marginal warmth kept in by keeping them shut.
When sat on sofa a cushion on your lap will add warmth. keep throws in the living room for wrapping when sitting.
I have draft excluders everywhere. I shut all doors always to keep the heat in. I turn off the radiators upstairs if its really cold so that we can keep it on for double the time(half the radiators you see) but then we all stay in the one room and then wrap up warm in our blankets in bed in a cold room.
Try to keep everyone in one room, jut makes it warmer.
Oh and i sew the bed throw to the duvet so that it cant slip off in the night. (unstitch it then during the summer)
If I cook with the oven, after I have finished I leave the oven door open so that the remaining heat spreads through the house a bit.
If desperate kids LOVE a race up and down the stairs.
Needless to say this is not the first year that we have been too poor to turn on the heatingsad

ivykaty44 Tue 18-Oct-11 20:37:27

duvet sarnies here - a duvet at the bottom and another duvet over the top, as this stops all your body heat going into the mattress.

We shut the door of the lounge and just heat that rooms and leave the rest of the house cold, then take hot water bottles to bed and lots of early nights. We do sometimes watch films in bed but mostly we read in bed as its warm. dd sometimes comes and gets in the double bed aand people heat is lovley grin

Think of how much healthier it is not to have CH grin and how much better your skin will be.

Slippers, dressing gowns, blankets in the lounge for snuggling under

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Tue 18-Oct-11 20:38:17

Not much use in the day with los about but, candles. Me and dp bulk brought tea lights and would line 20-30 up on a glass surface protector and have it in the lounge, it really did warm the place up.

Wrt to bedrooms for dcs, fleece blankets shut in the window so its right against the glass, curtains shut and another blanket over that, vest, normal pjs then fleece on top sleeping on a duvet with a fleece and duvet on top. Thick socks over normal socks. Hot water bottles and if your feeling flush, tumble dry clothes briefly in the morning before dressing. And if you can all sleep in one room, or atleast put dcs in together.

Hope it isn't too bad for you, I've been there sad

Tianc Tue 18-Oct-11 20:39:31

Use 30º C washes where you can, on washing machine.

Water mains is usually around 12–15º C, so heating to 30º requires a rise of maybe 15º but heating to 40º requires a rise of 25º (66% more power).

Grockle Tue 18-Oct-11 20:39:42

We rely on blankets, hot water bottles, those heated bag things you pop in the microwave and I have an electric blanket for very cold nights. No heating needed overnight for us.

I think we'll adjust our hot water timer too - it seems to be on too often and we have an electric shower so don't need hot water so often.

TooImmature2BDumbledore Tue 18-Oct-11 20:40:34

Agree with getting out and using public sources of heat. Two years ago when living in freezing damp house I used to actually love going to work because it was warm!

Grockle Tue 18-Oct-11 20:43:46

Yes to going out. And leave the oven open when you've turned it off to let the heat warm up the kitchen. We close doors to rooms as much as possible and only use front room/ kitchen plus bedrooms.

whatsallthehullaballoo Tue 18-Oct-11 20:50:39

I think this is one of the saddest threads I have read from an OP and other posters. We are not well off at the moment. But we afford our heating and electric. Reading some of the answers on here has made me realise how lucky we are.

I hope you all manage to feel as warm as possible this winter and the tips people have offered help xx

mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 20:56:19

Thanks all! More great tips!

Tell me about radiator foils? I have seen these before but never thought about them until now. Going to get a thick curtain for the front door. We have double glazing but its not the best!

Daily walks is going to be a good one. Im thinking of opening all windows before we go then I can get some air in to help with the damp.

Im feeling much better about the cold already smile

mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 20:57:33

Foil I will be off to B and Q this weekend!

Love the fleece curtain lining! Hadn't thought of it!

Pawsnclaws Tue 18-Oct-11 20:58:23

I feel the same what's. I remember being very cold as a child in winter, but ...... I was lucky that my mum and dad really made it into a bit of a game, so it never felt miserable smile.

mamasmissionimpossible Tue 18-Oct-11 20:59:25

We don't have double glazing here and it seems our CH is just disappearing out of the windows <sob>

I'm am taking notes from the advice here, thanks. Wish I had more to add. <racks brains>

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 18-Oct-11 20:59:42

If you can't make ends meet on a consistent basis because you owe money have you talked to CAB about debt advice?

Check first that your supplier isnt offering them for free- thats how i got mine! they sent me two radfleks and a toilet widget thing ( although the poor man may have just given me them to get me off the phonesmile)

Tianc Tue 18-Oct-11 21:02:42

It's not conclusive that the foil is very effective, but it can be pretty cheap so maybe worth the gamble?

Pawsnclaws Tue 18-Oct-11 21:04:40

I know I said about hot drinks, but also it's very important to have hot food, even if it's just toast or porridge. Make up a big batch of vegetable soup. Keep hot drinks or boiled water in a flask so you don't have to keep boiling the kettle.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 18-Oct-11 21:05:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MurderBloodstabsandgore Tue 18-Oct-11 21:06:59

secondary glazing film can do 4 windows IIRC and really stopped condensation in our back bedroom smile

mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 21:07:39

We arent in debt, debt. IYSWIM. With Christmas coming up I have been trying to buy presents early and its left us short. But, we manage. We have been selling a lot of our excess crap stuff on Ebay and making money that way! Its amazing what people will buy! We have also started making massive chillis and bolagnaises and freezing it. The money we have saved is brilliant. Thats defo worth doing. Stews are another thing I will be making and freezing!

If needs be I guess we can all just sleep in the same bed.

Are feather duvets a lot warmer then the others?

rookery Tue 18-Oct-11 21:08:16

We all have a cheap fleecy ikea blanket each and wrap ourselves in that under our duvets - you warm up really quickly that way. And Smokinaces, I at this very moment have my dressing gown on over my clothes. We live in a (lovely) draughty old house and last year's bills were horrible. This year: planning on draught excluders (like the 'sausage dog' my nan had at every door). The kitchen warms up quite nicely with cooking so we stay in here as much as possible. My mum grew up without heating in the 1940s/50s and said she used to get dressed under the bedclothes. I might ask her for some more tips. Good luck with staying warm. smile

Daisy1986 Tue 18-Oct-11 21:08:49

I decorated my flat with this insulating lining paper and its amazing it works so well. Obviously no good now if youve already decorated but definetly worth thinking about getting next time.

If your bedroom is big enough could you move your DCs into your roomin their beds? Then you could either have the heating on in only one room or might not need it with all of you there.

mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 21:09:05

Ooh, thanks Murder. Thats look like it could really help in our house. Our damp problems are awful in the winter.

rookery Tue 18-Oct-11 21:09:36

Stewiegriffinsmom, I am going down Ikea. Brilliant idea re hanging fleeces at windows.

QuintessentialShadyHallows Tue 18-Oct-11 21:11:15

You need to invest in merino wool long johns and undershirts! They wont feel the cold if they are wearing a wool base layer. Merino does not itch. It costs a little, but it will be worth it!

MurderBloodstabsandgore Tue 18-Oct-11 21:13:00

I read the word 'merino' and know it will be you quint smile

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 18-Oct-11 21:13:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 18-Oct-11 21:13:41

My mum says that ordinary cooking, aluminium foil works as a radiator reflector.

Also tuck curtains in behind radiators.

gethelp Tue 18-Oct-11 21:14:04

Try to use your oven as efficiently as possible. Draught excluders everywhere! They are easy to make. I put cardboard covered in tinfoil behind the rads, and never have them blocked by furniture. Don't have your bed against an outside wall. The curtains are really important, you lose masses of heat through the windows. Do you have a Wilkinsons near you? they have loads of cheap insulating stuff. I wear a body warmer/gilet during the day, my granny said it is important to keep your kidneys warm!

QuintessentialShadyHallows Tue 18-Oct-11 21:14:40

grin I am not on commission! Honest!

LynetteScavo England Tue 18-Oct-11 21:15:13

This may sound silly, but wear a hat in the house when you are on your own, it really helps.

Always wear socks to bed.

CH is probably the cheapest heating option. Apparently if you keep it set permanently low (say 17'C) it is cheaper than it firing up twice a day.

LynetteScavo England Tue 18-Oct-11 21:17:08

QuintessentialShadyHallows, could you link to where the OP could buy some?

I'm wondering where she would actually find the spare cash to do so, as most merino is £££. hmm

I have a big thick blanket thing (faux fur), would like to put it on leather sofa but it slides down the whole time as sofa is not against a wall, any bright ideas how to make it stay?

And where's the best place to get a really big cheap fleece blanket? Want to avoid Ikea if at all possible.

mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 21:17:34

We dont have a thermostat either so usually put it on when we feel cold (hence the bill last year!)

I will try the normal foil behind the radiator. And, I am going to fleece line my curtains.

Thanks again everyone smile

gethelp Tue 18-Oct-11 21:18:11

You need a dehumidifier, (not an electric one). I'll see if I can find one and post a link.

mama2moo Tue 18-Oct-11 21:18:30

Re fleece for curtains - Im going to have a look on Ebay and see if I can get it cheaper by the metre. Luckily I have been trying to teach myself to sew on my mums machine so should be able to do something!

MurderBloodstabsandgore Tue 18-Oct-11 21:23:34

Dunelm Mill for massive lovely microfibre blanket smile

SuePurblybiltFromBitsofCorpses Tue 18-Oct-11 21:25:13

I hang spare curtains on the window side of my thinner curtains, if that makes sense. They hook to the bottom of the curtain tape. Make sure your poles are up to it smile.
I had a fireplace sorted out (there was one but it was useless and half bricked up) and burn wood. 80% of it heats the air above my house but one room is warm. I have storage heaters but they have to be on high to do anything and I cannot afford that. So I don't.
Hot water bottles. I am starting to stock up and will get into the habit of filling them with the dregs of the kettle when I boil it in the evening.
Blankets, more blankets and eiderdowns.
Door curtains and draught excluders. Close doors
Soup grin
If possible, use your time cunningly. So if it's freezing and you're at home, batch cook. It'll warm the place up and save electricity - 3 things in the oven is better than one.

QueenStromba Tue 18-Oct-11 21:25:53

Does your boiler have different heat settings? We have no thermostat and so just leave the heating on constantly on 1 out of 5. That combined with turning the heating off during milder periods means that our heating bill is only about £200 for the whole winter.

LynetteScavo England Tue 18-Oct-11 21:27:01

Just to say I second remembering to open all the windows on dry days- without the heating on it is easy for the house to get damp.

And primark and hawkshead have good cheap fleece blankets.

Ponders Tue 18-Oct-11 21:31:41

If your damp is really bad it might be worth investing in a dehumidifier?

I think your house would feel warmer if the air was drier (plus it's more healthy all round). I bought a small one recently for our understairs cupboard, as well as sucking moisture in it puts a bit of warm air out & the cupboard feels & smells hugely more pleasant.

Mine's 60w & only suitable for small spaces but you could look at something like this which has a lot of really good reviews

MurderBloodstabsandgore Tue 18-Oct-11 21:35:56

Lynette I'm under a seriously soft blanket as I type grin

I sewed 2 cheap fleece blankets together to make a fleece sleeping bag.

Lots of sex in bed blush always works fabulously smile

Yes to tealights - cheap ikea ones work great at heating up living room.

Hot water bottles a go go. On the sofa / bed / anywhere else you're sitting.

If you're having a bath shut the shower curtain whilst you're in
There. V hot and steamy!

Fixture Tue 18-Oct-11 21:41:46

Wear a hat or headscarf - quite a lot of body heat is lost through the head. And thermal socks. Have baths/showers in the morning so you're not going to bed with wet hair.

ivykaty44 Tue 18-Oct-11 21:42:41
TartyMcFarty Tue 18-Oct-11 21:44:50

This is a sad thread sad What are the bloody Government doing about it?

smokinaces Tue 18-Oct-11 21:44:58

I am another currently snuggled under a blanket. A laptop on your lap works great at keeping you warm too grin

My curtains are lined, but going to put some fleece behind them as well I think, and curtains & fleece on the doors. Every little helps, and I seem to have a never ending supply of fleece blankets from when the kids were young!

And wear a vest under everything. I have thin vest tops (like skinny people wear in the summer) and wear them under everything in the winter.

ballstoit Tue 18-Oct-11 21:50:18

We all sleep together, me and 3 DC. The DC have their bath just before bed and then have stories in bed so it heats up before they go to sleep. Bed has several thin fleece blankets on it on top of the quilt, and a quilt under the sheet. I generally go to bed about 9, and have the bedroom door shut and really thick curtains so the heat can't escape.

I keep all the dressing gowns and slippers on the end of the bed to put on before we get up. Porridge or weetabix with warm milk for breakfast.

Me and DC3 go to a (free) playgroup at local Sure Start most days, the older 2 are at school so they're warm while they're there.

We all wear coats, hats, scarves and gloves for walking up and down to school from October onwards so we're not too cold before we get in. DC play in one room when we get home.

I only open the curtains if the sun's shining, to get the heat from that...we have ridiculously large windows which are a joy in summer but a bugger in winter.

radiohelen Tue 18-Oct-11 21:51:16

Dare I say it..... SLANKET!! You know you want one grin

My mum is another one obsessed with keeping kidneys warm. We are all wearing vests (for me it's a camisole) to keep the warm in!

SwearyMcSwearason Tue 18-Oct-11 21:53:28

Ooh yes agree about the laptop on lap. Mine is currently keeping me nice and toasty.

I go to bed very early (8.30 tonight) and snuggle under the duvet with sleeping dd. Pretty boring and eliminates any chance of a social life but it is warm grin

Also, going outside into the cold makes it feel warm by comparison when you come in and the activity gets your blood pumping a bit.

treedelivery Tue 18-Oct-11 21:53:49

We made a very unpopular choice last year. We turned the hot water off.

It was unpopular with everyone except those who actually live here grin . People I have told have been HORRIFIED! As id we will all get cholera or something.

But - we don't have a combi boiler, just an old boiler that is the worst for efficiency. We can't afford a new one as it would be about £3000 [we have huge ceilings]

The washing machine heats it's own water, and we wash at 30 degress or less. Except my work uniforms which need at least 60 degress due to body fluids.

The dishwasher has been fine, even with unheated water.

The shower heats it's own.

So - we are left with cool water to wash our hands in. I don't care, and the ds's are only here after school and weekends. It isn't that big a deal, and they just don't care. I boil a kettle to do any really messy pans or mop floors. Neither of these is an issue as I'm a slattern.

I reckon we save £20-£40 a month, but I could say for sure. Our monthly direct debit is still £17) though! Which gets gobbled up Jan to March bascally.

tip two Yes yes yes to layers of curtains. DD2 has a very exposed windown, so she has a pair of curtains, a fleece layer and then another pair. All hanging on top of each other. Makes a massive difference.

smokinaces Tue 18-Oct-11 21:54:46

radiohelen my kids bought me a slanket last christmas grin The Christmas before it was a huge fluffy blanket.

Think they have cottoned onto the fact I like to use layers and blankets to keep warm over heating - and they are only 3 and 5!!

smokinaces Tue 18-Oct-11 21:57:09

treedelivery I have done almost the same thing. We have hot water put on for 30 minutes 3 times a week. That is enough for a shower for me every other morning and a bath for the kids 3 evenings a week. We wash our hands in cold water, the floors are washed in cold water (with flash). The washing machine heats its own water (mostly to 30, sometimes 40) and so does the dishwasher (used once to twice a week) It has made a huge difference to our gas bills.

willowstar Tue 18-Oct-11 22:04:39

this is us this year...I lost my job in August and am expecting my second baby in January so have been unemployed since...and we are really suffering! I am normally a high user of heating as I despise being cold but this year we haven't been able to afford heating oil yet and we live in the country in an old unrenovated wreck. to my great surprise I am coping a lot better than I thought I would. we have an open coal fire which we light maybe three times a week if we are all going to be home in the evening and staying up late. if not my daughter (2yrs) goes to bed around 8 and me and husband have been going to bed early and actually talking and cuddling instead of sitting in front of the tv so it has been good from that point of view. she is in our room on her own mattress so we have an electric heater in there for the evenings.

this thread is a bit sad but it has made me feel a bit better. I was feeling very sorry for myself last week that we can't afford heating...all my friends are OK financially and this is a bit of a shock for me so good to know I am not alone so to speak.

SurprisEs Tue 18-Oct-11 22:07:15

DD is 2 and from te moment I got pregnant with her finances got really tough. We got used to no turning the heating on unless absolutely necessary (snowing or cold enough to snow kind of thing) and even then it would only be fr a short while.

As soon as we get home we wash our feet in warm water and then dry and put the fluffiest socks and slippers on, keeps theyemperature up.

We stay fully clothed,jumpers included until we go to bed. 13.5 tog duvets. If we sit on the sofa the duvets come with us and we all cuddle together to keep warm. Tea, lots and lots.

Nothing is ever left on standby or plugged at the wall (apart from the fridge) and it has made a difference.

Washing machine goes on after 10pm. Neighbours never complained and some do the same as it's cheaper. It does mean I have to stay up longer but I'm ok with that.

treedelivery Tue 18-Oct-11 22:09:16

That's good to hear smokinaces. It makes me sound on the bread line and we are not. We have decided we need, what to other people, are totally frivalous treats. Things like a saturday trip to a cafe with the girls or a take away pizza. So we make savings and this is one of them.

Most people I have told are really almost angry I would do this, yet when I grew up we had a gas fire in one room and hot water if anyone turned the immersion heater on. Washing was done by hand at the sink, very dirty clothes were boiled on the hob. Clothes were dried outside, I remember bringing in sheets from the line I had to crack they were frozen so solid. My bedroom windows had ice on the inside . Baths were once a week at the most, but in winter certainly a lot less. It was a normal house in a city in the 80's, not something from Dickens.

So to me, not having warm water to wash my hands is really no big deal. It certainly isn't worth the money it costs to get it and I don't see it as a right or essential. If that makes sense.

My other tip is to be wary spending too much money trying to save money. Most people probably have extra bedding, towels and so one that can be used. Before you go on shopping sprees.

Dressing gown over clothess lovely & toasty. I slept lke that today, after nights. Cheapo fleece ones seem warmer than towelling ones.

What I don't know is how we'll dry the washing. I guess we'll do less laundry.

SixthSenseofEntitlement Tue 18-Oct-11 22:10:51

What do people recommend about long curtains? If I shut them they go over the radiator, but if I don't the heat goes out the window. They belong to the landlord, but should I get a cheap shorter pair, or do something else?

treedelivery Tue 18-Oct-11 22:13:35

Simlar happened to us willowstar you have my sympathy. I know how you are feeling.

You are not alone in this, lots of people are makiing all sorts of money saving steps.

How do you alll dry laundry without the radiators? I'm stumped. have two loads waiting to be dried by magic. It rained today.

smokinaces Tue 18-Oct-11 22:14:48

tuck them behind the rads sixth Or fold them up onto the window sills.

tree I'm not on the breadline either, but like you grew up like that. We had a gas fire in the front room, which we sat round to dry our hair on a Sunday night. We had frost inside the windows. We would put our tracksuits over our PJs in bed - and get changed under the covers in the mornings so we didnt even get out of bed! I havent got sick from cold water hand washing, and neither have my kids and its been 2.5 years.

I prefer fresh air to stuffy central heating to be honest, maybe thats why I do it like this every year!

treedelivery Tue 18-Oct-11 22:15:20

Roll them up to rad height and tie them in a hairband, then tuck them behind the rad a bit to hold them tight against the window. Then the heat can escape to you but drafts [sp?] are trapped smile

CristinaaarghdellAaarghPizza Tue 18-Oct-11 22:15:40

Re the log burner - it costs about £200 to fit the lining stuff for the chimney and then you've got to buy the actual burner.

I live in an old draughty house on the coast with a stupid lack of internal doors. I've put really thick curtains on some of the doorways and stuck foil to flattened cardboard boxes and slid those behind the radiators. I turn off the radiators in the rooms unless we're in them and we wear hats and sit under blankets.

Something that I don't think anyone has mentioned is checking the draughts around your windows. If you don't have double glazing and you can feel cold air coming in around the edges where they open, stick masking tape over the gaps. It really does cut down on the heat loss. That sticky draught excluder tape is good but some of my windows won't shut if it's fitted. Masking tape is also really easy to take off when you want to open the windows again. Use a good brand and it won't tear or rip off the paint at the end of winter smile

Pawsnclaws Tue 18-Oct-11 22:17:18

treedelivery at least your clothes won't be all sweaty! Just wash your base layers to cut down on machine loads and therefore drying.

smokinaces Tue 18-Oct-11 22:17:28

tree that was my one thing I did get - a tumble dryer. It gets used in the winter once or twice a week on a cool cycle for 45 minutes to get the worst of the wetness out and then they go int he airing cupboard to get the 30 minutes of warmth from the hot pipes (I time my washing days in with my shower days!) I am lucky that my 2 boys and I dont generate a huge amount of washing (1 full load in tonight for the first time since Friday evening) so there is never loads hanging round. We also wear lots of layers as opposed to bulky clothes, so they dry quicker hanging on hangers etc.

SurprisEs Tue 18-Oct-11 22:19:16

My laundry gets hung on the curtain pole with coat hangers. It stops warm air going out and cold coming in and they somehow dry quicker. I have a dehumidifier as sometimes it gets damp and if it's too cold I won't open the windows. It worked last winter. It does mean I can only wash one load whenthe other is dry, but it taught us to be careful with clothing and try to stay clean!

PattySimcox Tue 18-Oct-11 22:20:07

This thread is making me sad and angry - sad that people have to make tough choices and angry - you can bet the Camerons et al aren't worrying about this kind of thing - we're in this together my arse

treedelivery Tue 18-Oct-11 22:21:27

Our washer can tumble dry - but I don't dare use it.

Must do the taping up windows thing Cristina. We have loads of windows.

I hope winter isn't as cold as last year. Even I had to admit it was a challenge!

Dillydaydreaming Tue 18-Oct-11 22:24:49

I am saddened but not surprised by this thread. Last winter I was in a flat with storage heaters we could not afford to use. Whole place was freezing apart from a room heater moved where needed.
This year I have been housed in a home with gas central heating and it's so wonderful. I won't use the heating excessively but just the realisation I can heat the whole house through if needed is fab after the past few freezing winters.

MadameWooOOoovary Tue 18-Oct-11 22:24:50

Has anyone mentioned double draught excluders? They slip under the door and move with it. And draught excluder tape on doorframes.

smokinaces Tue 18-Oct-11 22:25:25

The thing I learnt with my tumbler is to keep it on cool. The cool air and movement still dries the clothes to a degree, but uses a lot less electricity.

And make the most of every single blowy day outside, even if its dark and cloudy!

I admit, part of me hates having to budget my money every week and count it out, putting £10 aside for Gas, £20 for petrol, £10 for gas etc. And then realising that I need to buy the car tax so trying to get away with half of that for a week..... But the other part of me does like trying all the frugal ideas and gets a sense of satisfaction in keeping the heating off as long as I can!

SurprisEs Tue 18-Oct-11 22:26:23

I actually can't remember being in a better situation with Labour in command either to be honest (not standing up for Cameron, just saying life has been tough for a long time or me).

blackeyedsusan England Tue 18-Oct-11 22:27:23

insulating your loft will warm you up 3 times. once lugging the bloody stuff home (and up 3 flights of stairrs) then laying the damn stuff and finally, hopefully when it is keeping the heat in the house. (can't you tell what I was doing on saturday?)

Ponders Tue 18-Oct-11 22:28:18

Cristina, there are different styles & thicknesses of door/window insulation - some of it's only about 2mm thick - worth checking a few as it does do a better job than tape & means you can still open them on the odd mild day (stops loose things rattling too smile)

brighthair Tue 18-Oct-11 22:31:47

Tuck all your clothes in grin
I pull my socks over my pj bottoms and tuck vest into them. I look daft but it makes a difference

serin Tue 18-Oct-11 22:33:32

We are used to camping, the important thing is not too let yourself get cold in the first place, so put on lots of layers, even leggings under jeans if need be.
Lots of hot drinks and soup.

And vodka.

LynetteScavo England Tue 18-Oct-11 22:34:30

How much do most of you spend on energy per month? <nosey>

treedelivery Tue 18-Oct-11 22:35:51

blackeyesusan - we have no loft access, and only a small loft as we ahre half in the roof [complicated house!]. Not sure if t would be worth fitting a hatch etc etc.

Plus it sounds a mare to do!! grin

CristinaaarghdellAaarghPizza Tue 18-Oct-11 22:37:16

I didn't know that Ponders. The one I have is only about 4mm but it's too thick for most of my windows. I will have a look for some thinner stuff.

Last winter's fuel bills were around £700 (for gas and leccy) so I'm aiming to cut them by about 1/3 this year.

CristinaaarghdellAaarghPizza Tue 18-Oct-11 22:37:49

serin - I was going to mention the warming properties of red wine grin

SurprisEs Tue 18-Oct-11 22:39:15

~£70 electric only as we have no gas. I know this thread is about central heating but we do have heater that we don't switch on and we have had central heating in other properties an barely used it.

Sometimes it's £50.

treedelivery Tue 18-Oct-11 22:40:47

£1500-£1700 ish last year.

We can't afford that, we were both under average earners and now dh is at un. So it's going to be colder around here this year!

treedelivery Tue 18-Oct-11 22:43:27

Ooo another tip. If you have a knitter, any young children will be cosy as toast in knitted longies. They are fairly fitted funky knitted trousers. Amazing for crawling babies. I have a pattern I can email anyone who wants it, or they are a few pounds online.

Ponders Tue 18-Oct-11 22:44:14

There's one which is a flat V shape; you stick it on with the open part of the V facing the draught (iyswim) - that's about as thin as it gets. There's also a flat rubber strip with thin raised ribs.

Have a look in a big DIY store.

LynetteScavo England Tue 18-Oct-11 22:53:43

I'm paying about £180 pm.

Lots of insulation, double glazing, not excessinve with CH. I don't get it. confused

QuintessentialShadyHallows Tue 18-Oct-11 22:55:07

womens merino mix baselayer in Nomad clearance sale

merino for children

more merino for kids and babies

Icebreaker - slightly more expensive

Merino isnt cheap. But it has self cleaning and antibacterial properties so you wont need to wash it so often. It is also wicking sweat away from the body, so you dont get that cold wet feeling. Also, it does not stink. It is drying quicker than cotton and man made fibers. You will therefore really only need one set per person!

My husband put Merino to the test on summer holiday a few years ago. He wore the same merino t shirt for a month (!!!) in the heat before it started smelling. (All in the name of science, natch!)

LetTheSlaughterBeGincognito Tue 18-Oct-11 22:55:53

Someone asked about getting blankets to stay on leather sofas - you need to sew (or otherwise attach) weights to the bit that hangs over the back of the chair.

brighthair Tue 18-Oct-11 22:58:39

Only me
Gas about £25 a month
Electric about £20

Usually for both it's £110 for 3 months

QuintessentialShadyHallows Tue 18-Oct-11 23:04:17

My 6 year old son has just grown out of one such merino long sleeved base layer shirt. (like a thin wool long sleeved t shirt) It is chocolate brown, possibly size 4 or 5 and does not itch (it is in the room where they are sleeping so I cant check it.) I can happily post to a mn'er who wants it, if any of you want to pm me. It would go to the charity shop anyway, so can happily post.

AmberLeaf Tue 18-Oct-11 23:27:06

Not much to add to all the good suggestions already here, has anyone suggested door curtains?

A thick [thermal] door curtain over the front and back doors keep a lot of draughts at bay.

I have seen some reasonably cheap on Ebay.

Or if you're handy with a needle you could make one?

DawnOfTheDeementedDead Wed 19-Oct-11 07:39:55

We have draughty windows, and i've found the best way to combat that is to get some masking tape and put it over all the seals.

When in was a kid we didn't have DG, and my dad used to buy a few rolls of thick polythene, double it over and then tack it to the inside of the windows. It still let the light in, but kept the cold and draughts out.

marthastew Wed 19-Oct-11 08:35:30

M&S have good value thermals. I wear their ladies longjohns under jeans for most of the winter.

Here's how to make draught excluders...I'm going to do ones for our front and back doors this weekend.

www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/05/how-to-make-draught-excluder

greenzebra Wed 19-Oct-11 09:16:32

Hot water bottles in the bed so they are toastie when they get in.
All in one romper suits the pj ones to sleep in.
I would say if you are going to put the heating on at some point during the winter do it for a little bit in the morning before the sun comes up this is the coldness time and it will help everyone get up.
Draught excluders, they really do work.
In the evenings all stay in the same room with the doors closed, if you cook in the kitchen and the door opens into the living space then keep it open while cooking to warm both rooms.
Candles can warm a room, if you dont have a fire, and you can pick up tea lights pretty cheap. (this is how we heated our living room last winter) We only used them for a couple of hours in the evening. But we dont have toddlers.
We I grew up in the 80's my dad would never put the heating on unless it was below freezing, so I used to put my school uniform next to the bed and in the mornings I would put it on while still under the covers!
I also bought these really warm thermal fleece lined socks for my husband off the market for £2, he loves them (he really feels the cold)
I would also have a curtain over the back door and the front one. And maybe one of those covers for the letter box.

greenzebra Wed 19-Oct-11 09:55:43

Oh and if you do have a tumbler dryer then use the dryer balls you can pick them up in poundland for a £1 smile they really do work on cutting down the time in the dryer plus saving money. Also Ikea sell those ceiling dryers for clothes I think they are £14 Im getting one this weekend to put in the bathroom and in the kitchen to dry the clothes.
I second wearing a fleece body warmer round the house, my dad does this (hes 67) he says we dont know how good weve got it, he used to have to break the water in the morning to wash as it was frozen! and he had icicles on the inside of the windows! Mum drys clothes in the tumble (using dryer balls) but also has the clothes dryer right next to it drying the other clothes using the excess heat. She also spends the whole of september batch baking using apples and blackberrys they have picked in the park ready for the winter, nothing nicer than a hot pie when your chilly.

check this out

frugalliving.about.com/u/ua/energyandutilities/Keep_Warm_Tips.htm

greenzebra Wed 19-Oct-11 09:59:45

really like the heated rice in a sock idea.

PinotScreechio Wed 19-Oct-11 10:10:11

great tips on here.

TeddyBare Wed 19-Oct-11 10:26:01

I've only read the first page so I'm not sure if this has already been said, but there are quite a few companies who will "give" you solar panels in exchange for a promise that you will have them on your roof for 20 years. That will save you quite a lot. If you own the house and might want to sell at some point, it's worth bearing in mind that it might put off potential purchasers and I'm not sure if it will have an affect on availability of mortgages for potential new buyers. I think they're ideal for buy-to-rent houses as they're usually a long term plan. Here is a like to one such company: http://www.isis-solar.com/#na

TeddyBare Wed 19-Oct-11 10:26:17
Tianc Wed 19-Oct-11 10:29:31

Oh god yes, longjohns and leg warmers and two pairs of socks.

And if you are going to have radiators on in the morning, clothes hung over them from the night before (or brought into bed in the morning).

biglips Wed 19-Oct-11 10:53:19

Weve already draught proofed the front door and vestibule door. It made a hell of a difference (why didnt we do it before!!). Also, weve got no double glazing but secondary glazing on the side windows of the bay windows at the front of the house. we gonna buy the window film to cover all windows with no sec glazing. our living room is like a fridge atm cos the underlay is worn down so desp needs a new one. Gonna underline all the curtains too. We live opposite the docks and its gets v windy at times. Thick blankets here and fluffy dressing gowns. Dp is my hot water bottle ;-) will be putting my winter thick fleece quilt cover. . Needs to put curtains or blinds up in the kitchen as it just bare window.

MsWeatherwax Wed 19-Oct-11 11:19:49

Last time I could not afford heating was when I lived in a big house with storage heaters, which are evil. I got by with lots of hot drinks (fill a massive thermos so you are not always boiling the kettle) and I would sit at computer or in front of telly in a sleeping bag. Extra duvets with the top one tucked in, and hot water bottles at the bottom and top of the bed.

Lemonylemon Wed 19-Oct-11 11:25:12

I have radiator dryers which hang in front of the radiators without interfering with their heat output, but you can put quite a bit of clothing on them. Some of mine have 5 rungs. I think I got them from Lakeland or somewhere - invaluable..... Lidl or Aldi sometimes have them on offer. (They had thermals last weekend)

I also have a clothes dryer which sits on top of the bath - to save too much damp, I open the bathroom window a little to let fresh air in.

I've also got curtains which I just hung on a springloaded curtain rail across the wall where the front door is. They work brilliantly - except when the cats decide to use them as a loo angry

VikingBlood Wed 19-Oct-11 12:34:38

Not sure how we're going to get through the winter this year without freezing, two years ago it cost €600 to fill the oil tank, this year it's €860 (we need about two tanks to keep the house warm all winter). It's not too cold here yet, but it gets much colder than England in the heart of winter (-15° is a regular occurrence).

My grandmother tells me her kids were covered in goose fat and baking parchment under their clothes to help keep warm (and they were middle class), I don't think my family would accept that method though!

We haven't got any curtains in the house because we have outside shutters which are great during the night, I think I may be going to ikea though to get some fleeces to make some temporary curtains.

I also love the idea of double draft excluders.

We pay £45 a month, but our meter reading fuel costs are £17-£20 a month over the summer, so we're about £300 up atm (family of 4, 4 bed semi, North-West England).
We have lots of insulation, and haven't had the heating on yet, but expect to in the next few weeks.
Hats are good for keeping warm, wooly ones trap warm air best.

Bledkr Wed 19-Oct-11 13:07:31

Ive got a gas fire in the lounge and put gas ring on to heat the kitchen,that way i dont need to use the heating untill the childrens bathtime,it was cheap last year doing this.
My central heating is so clanky that its often better not to have it on.

Pleiades45 Wed 19-Oct-11 13:18:50

we had no heating last year and were lent 2 halogen heaters, 2 fan heaters and 3 small oil filled heaters. It was so cold last year we had to have some form of heat in all the rooms we used. Our Bill was £900+. I don't think any form of electric heater is cheap to run. I think you would be better to put the gas central heating on and run just to take the nip off the air. Most of us, run our heating with thermostats set between 15-20C, you could set to about 12 so that the house doesn't get cold. Once the walls lose the heat that they retain it is harder to heat up the house. It will also prevent burst pipes.

bebeballroom Wed 19-Oct-11 13:31:55

Reading with interest! My mum thinks I'm bonkers not having the heating on already! House is getting cold about 15 at the moment & DDs room is 14.3 (just checked) but it is really draughty despite the draught excluder & shut curtains! (Need to get some cheap fleece blankets to hang up round the front door) Trouble is we really don't have the money to even go out & buy the bits to stop the house being cold without the heating on IYSWIM. We have a large, unused, open fire in our living room & wanted to get a chimney balloon, but just didn't have the spare cash to do it!

DD doesn't feel the cold it would appear. I'm freezing right now, and need a nose warmer before my nose freezes completely & drops off!! But she is insisting that she is not cold! hmm

For now my only advice is hot drinks/food & keep moving as much as you can & layers layers layers!!

Bloodredrubyblue Wed 19-Oct-11 13:35:32

Only boil the water you need in a kettle.

Insulating foam strips for doors and windows, it costs about £1.99 a roll and stopped the wind howling through the front door in our house.

Make sure the postman puts all letters through the letterbox properly. I have come home to a freezing house because the wind has been blowing through a propped open letter box all day.

Buy curtains from charity shops and tack them up behind your existing curtains. The really ugly patterened ones get sold off cheap and it doesn't matter because you won't see them.

A quick blast from a hairdryer warms up a cold bed within seconds. I love doing this grin

Cook large amounts of food together so you only use the oven and hob once. I often put a casserole on and then throw in some jacket potatoes and a quiche or pie.

Tianc Wed 19-Oct-11 13:39:35

Old pillow or even bag stuffed with newspaper instead of a proper chimney balloon.

I tie pretty ribbons to mine, weighted with a pine cone dangling right in the fire place, so I can't forget and light the fire without removing the pillow. Not that this would ever happen oh no. blush

cityhobgoblin Wed 19-Oct-11 13:43:21

Agree very sad , TartyMcFarty , but would say that any government in a capitalist system is fundamentally hostile to its citizens & exists only to further the interests of the few < ahem >

Oh and IME , forgetting to remove warm hat now & then during long evenings leads to a worsening of any existing hair loss problem blush

Tianc Wed 19-Oct-11 13:46:05

The propped open letter box is a real bugbear of mine. If you really can't change the ways of the postman and arseholes who lodge a rolled up leaflet in your letterbox, I've been thinking of a thick, cloth "footless sock" attached to the door around the letterbox, long enough to drape over the protruding ends of letters.

I never tried this, but I imagine you could fasten it by loosening the screws of the letterbox brush or inner plate, jamming the fabric behind and tightening again. Not elegant, but possibly useful.

Leave the water in the bath after you have finished as the latent heat will radiate into the room.

My mum used to put clean washed house bricks in the oven whilst tea was cooking and then wrap them in old towels and put them our beds-made a hell of a crash if you pushed them out in the night by mistake

Probably should add a caution that both the above could be dangerous for small children but we survived

BabyGiraffes Wed 19-Oct-11 13:57:29

I try to spend as much time as possible at my parents' modern house. It's 15ish years old and very warm. Ours is 115ish years old and I can't feel my fingers while I type this....

mizu Wed 19-Oct-11 14:18:29

Our landlord was thinking of putting central heating into our freezing in winter house but then said he would have to increase the rent so we haven't bothered. We don't have central heating but have 2 shitty storage heaters upstairs and 2 ancient gas fires downstairs. It is baltic in here in the winter. We have been here 4 years so know that soon it will be time to:

Put the electric blanket on the bed
Get the hot water bottles out to use ALOT not just at bed time but on the sofa too.
Get more blankets out for the lounge
Wear more layers
Not spend much time hanging around in the house.

This house is gorgeous in the spring and summer but a bastard in the winter months.

AblativeAbsolute Wed 19-Oct-11 14:29:38

Loving this thread. And although it's sad in some ways (obviously I am not trivialising AT ALL the horror of facing genuine debt problems) it does have its upside. Let's face it, we have all been consuming too much energy (and, arguably, spending too money) for a long time, and if the current economic situation forces us to rediscover a bit of thrift, then it's not all bad.

I hadn't really thought about draughts, but have just bought one of those double excluders on Amazon.

Also, re letterbox brushes - do they actually work? And how do you fit them (I have a letterbox set on a very thick wall, so it might be hard to attach brush to the back of the flap - can I just put it on the inside wall instead confused?)

Also - re cavity walls. We had ours done last year and it made a dramatic difference. However, we have an open fire in the living room, and they insisted on fitting a wall vent. This causes such a draught that it actually makes bits of paper on the floor blow around if it's too windy angry. Can I block it up, or stuff the hole with something, or would that be unsafe??

Tianc Wed 19-Oct-11 14:38:55

Letterbox brushes are fitted to inside wall/door.

Wall vent for fire sounds only necessary when you use the fire, so can be covered in between times – although they'll never tell you this because building regs prefer safety features not to be dependent on the user's behaviour.

But actually it sounds a bit odd that the installers insisted on a wall vent in the first place. There's a calculation about airflow and volume of air in room necessary to safely use any open burner (to prevent CO build-up), but for example in my house the draft below the internal room door was deemed sufficient to meet the airflow needs, and ventilation grills in the bottom of a door would also work.

bumperella Wed 19-Oct-11 15:09:15

We've oil central heating (not on mains gas) even with a new combi-condenser boiler and a well-insulated, double glazed 2 bed cottage the cost of heating is scary. The price of heating oil has ROCKETED over the last couple of years: it makes burning £10 notes seem a sensible and viable alternative fuel. SO though we're not really skint, we heat the house as little as possible. Our last house had an LPG boiler which was even worse. I love the tips so far!
I would add:
if you've an upstairs, then use the bedroom/s which are above the warmest downstairs room.
Use as few rooms as possible and don't heat areas that you don't need to - stairway, hallway, bathroom - we're not in them long enough to benefit from them being a civilized temperature (the water in our toilet cistern froze last winter though, so maybe am a but too extreme about that!um. )
Sunlight really heats rooms up, so think about removing things that shade windows (assuming they're not north facing draughty ones!). e.g. reduce the height of hedges, remove net curtains.
When you go to bed, dry your clothes in the room you've been using. I hang laundry from curtain-poles in the day.
If you can- move white goods that give off heat to rooms that you actually use; esp if they aren't very energy efficient.

bebeballroom Wed 19-Oct-11 15:42:09

Tianc - Fab idea, I shall get DH to help with that at the weekend!

Lozza70 Wed 19-Oct-11 16:56:42

I grew up in a house in Ireland in the 70's/80's with no heating only a coal fire in one room. We usually did the following in the winter -

Curtains over the front/back door
Door sausages along most doors (draught excluders)
We wore fleecy all in ones with feet in to bed (I'm sure I've seen similar in Sainsburys kids clothes at the mo)
Hot water bottles
Dressing under the bed clothes in the morning
Stayed in the one room that was heated during the evening
Got dressed for bed in same warm room
Extra layers on the bed (it was like a reverse princess and the pea!)
All had baths in the bathroom one after another so the room was warm
Drank lots of tea, not sure if that was for the cold or just as that's what you do in Ireland

Good luck with those bills smile

Bramshott Wed 19-Oct-11 17:14:14

bebeballroom we found our chimney balloon just kept falling down - a tightly wedged piece from a cardboard box seemed to do a better job - cut to size and wedged across the chimney.

fedupofnamechanging Wed 19-Oct-11 17:57:49

We have economy 7, so storage heaters and plug in panel heaters (no mains gas). For those who asked about drying clothes, I put a rail up in the airing cupboard and put wet clothes on hangers. I dry them over night with either the heat off the pipes (as the water gets heated and stored in the tank) or with a plug in oil filled heater (which is cheaper to run at night as that is my cheap rate time). I leave the door open and the heater heats the hall way too.

TooImmature2BDumbledore Wed 19-Oct-11 18:01:18

Another one with oil central heating here - have just been quoted £150 per month for a year's worth of oil. This is based on the amount we used this year. Am therefore trying to economise greatly, although DH is holding out for hot baths every night. Shall pootle off to Ikea at the weekend for fleecy curtain liners.

marge2 Wed 19-Oct-11 18:06:08

We have the boiler on for a couple of hours a day for hot water. DH won;t let me put the heating on. We have a log burner in the living room so we are lighting that...using the free logs from the woods. He won't buy any coal. I use hot water bottles for everyones beds and sit with a coat on in the evenings. We leave the living room door open during the day, to heat upstairs before the DC go to bed. Once they are toasty in bed, we close the living room door so we warm that room up more for the evening.

hiddenhome Wed 19-Oct-11 18:09:08

We have the stove and dh lights the tilley lamp to keep the dining room warm.

After that, we just wrap up warm and use hot water bottles.

Peachy Wed 19-Oct-11 18:11:38

We will use it when we absolutely HAVE to, after resorting to duvet / jumpers etc. I grew up in a one heater house in the seventies as well and well remember the frozen jeans defrsosting on top of gas fire effect.

We survived.

it is older and disbaled (physically, my boys have ASD) that i worry about

mummysleepy Wed 19-Oct-11 18:32:04

I agree with some others that this is a great thread. We are all using too much energy and regardless of whether we can afford it we should be trying to reduce central heating being on. We are oil heating too and it's sooo expensive so I try to minimise having it on to no more than 1 hour morning and 1 hour at night.( even last winter when it was below zero for weeks) However this is only possible now that we have a wood burning stove which chucks heat out and warms the whole house. And wood is MUCH cheaper than oil!
It drives me mad when I am in someones house and it's roasting hot and they are wandering round in a t shirt.
We are all about layers in this house, lots of thin layers seems to work best.

smokinaces Wed 19-Oct-11 18:36:01

Mine did go on briefly this morning. It was 14 degrees in the hall (so 10-12 in the bathroom at the back) and there was no way at 6am I could get inthe shower like that. So it had a quick 20 minute blast.

Then the usual dressing gown over the towels job.

I may have to stick it on a little tonight though - have come down with a chest infection and breathing in cold air at night is really not a good plan, so may have to keep it on 17 all night. Until then I am in clothes with a big hoody and a scarf.

Peachy Wed 19-Oct-11 18:41:19

In fairness saying it's possible with a wood burner is brilliant but i reckon our LL might panic if we suddently installed one LOL

DS4 is my worry here: he hates pyjamas in that way only a child with ASD can. Doesnt really feel cold. ATM he is aleep in his day clothes as his only option.

ds and i have a large bagpuss with hot water bottle in it. we sleep together to save heating his room and to keep each other warm. I have no heating on apart from lodger's room and 'laundry' room (size of a stamp, but have got pulley thing so can do without hideously expensive tumble drier).

Light fire every night but wood and coal is costly. So get sticks for kindling off the beach in plastic bags. still cheaper than elec and gas.

No duvet, we have blankets on bed - lots of blankets as so warm and you can discard if it gets too warm (if having a sweaty horrid nightmare about exH say smile. I buy them in charity shops. Loads of them.)

Fleece slippers covered in supper stains and a thick dressing gown for mornings. So long as ds is warm and happy I dont give a flyinmg fuck about myself. So long as I have enough fags milk for coffee and wine

Nowt else to enjoy! Credit crunch Britain. It's a right larf.

Also (you wont like this) I buy tofu as its really cheap and keep it on a v low simmer. Heats the kitchen and gives it a homely smell.

But we are moving to mykonos after xmas. Ds will just have to learn to riot with the natives.

mama2moo Wed 19-Oct-11 19:56:28

Well tonight our house is cold! DD's room is 14 degrees on the monitor! They have fleece pjs on and a fleece blanket with their duvets.

Im going to put foil behind the rads this weekend in preperation.

Im determinded to keep the heating off until it snows!!

mama2moo Wed 19-Oct-11 19:57:26

One more thing, is wearing gloves in the house a bit much? Dd's were freezing this afternoon!

We are all day tomorrow so I think we will spend some time in the garden!

VikingBlood Wed 19-Oct-11 19:59:24

As a teacher I spend a fair amount of time preparing lessons at home, fingerless mittens are a must-have IMO.

fuckityfuckfuckfuck Wed 19-Oct-11 20:05:42

I've started keeping the oven door open after use, my mum used to do it and I guess I never understood why. We seem to get heat from neighbours either side which is a plus, but after saying just yesterday I wasn;t putting heating on til November, i May just cave tonight. It feels bitter. dd and ds seem to have very warm rooms despite there being no heating in there, and both sweat buckets at night anyway, and I have a crappy storage heater in my room that never seems to work anyway. I'm sat in big wooly socks, pj bottoms, a vest, a close fitting jumper and my pj top over the top and feel very warm. I just hate coming into the living room in the morning and it being cold. Makes me feel miserable. We've started having hot breakfasts, either porridge or quickly warmed croissants and that helps. I'm another who intends to line all the curtains this weekend.

pugsandseals Wed 19-Oct-11 20:07:32

For those of you considering faffing about making door sausages, Ikea have them in with their kids cuddly toys wink

GalloweesG Wed 19-Oct-11 20:23:26

I'm absolutely not turning the heat down on Eco grounds when vast parts of the world are running air con permanently.

Wholesale energy prices have come down massively, unfortunately the energy companies don't think it's necessary to pass the reductions on to the customers. Wankers.

cerealqueen Wed 19-Oct-11 20:24:09

Lots of good advice! Am determined to last out till November without the heating going on.

Have not seen it mentioned (sorry if this is a repeat) but fridge magnets over the keyholes prevents gales coming through.

Thinking about just putting water on in morning and then only in the evening on a timer if DD has a bath as have dishwasher so don't need evening hot water.

Yes to fleeces worn around the house, booty type slippers, cling film double glazing, tea lights, kindling from the local country park, thermal underwear.

I grew up in a very cold house in the 70s (you could see your breath) and we all spent the evening in the one room with the gas fire on, it was cosy. smile I recall winter coats going on the beds when it got really cold too, and hot water bottles were a given.

teahouse Wed 19-Oct-11 20:29:21

I roll up towels to use as draught excluders around the bottom of doors - really works well.

sarahtigh Wed 19-Oct-11 20:31:59

when we were young early 1970's with all the strikes etc and power cuts we all stayed in 1 room my mom and dad reading or whatever and us playing on rug in front of fire, we never played in bedrooms they were for sleeping in, we had hot water bottles we did have central heating but not on until october half term, in summer hot water only on three times a week monday mornings for laundry and frisday/saturday nights for baths
in winter Ch was on early morning and evenings, my parents are now retired in their eighties and so have heating on all day low once it gets below 5C they have thermostats on rads and keep bedroom etc doors shut and use wheatbags with lavender , safer than hot water bottles smell nicer too

VikingBlood Wed 19-Oct-11 20:32:45

We have four cats, we argue over who gets the fattest cuddliest one to have on our knee.

kritur Wed 19-Oct-11 20:36:55

I am renovating the house I moved into 18 months ago and my heating is being installed next week. It is a new electric system so pretty efficient but I have had to save up for it so I lived through last winter without central heating and only a wood burner in the lounge. Things that worked for me -
- Stay in one room, the one that is heated! Make sure your internal doors are closed (my cat was a pain for opening mine!)
- I slept in a hoody and PJs with socks for most of the winter, a hat when it got really cold and when the snow came I did spend a few days sleeping on the sofa in front of the woodburner (the cast iron gives off heat for a long while after the fire has died down)
- I have an electric blanket on my bed which is an eco version and very economical. I only used it to take the chill off the bed, never slept with it on.
- Lots of blankets on the sofa to layer up when watching TV

YaMaYaMa Wed 19-Oct-11 20:39:10

Thanks so much for this thread, OP and everyone who has posted. I'm going to put a curtain rail and thick curtain over the front door, buy one of those double draught excluders for the back door and understairs cupboard door and get foil for the radiators in the living room and bedrooms. The foil and double excluder are things I didnt know about at all, so thank you.

Sapphirefling Wed 19-Oct-11 20:46:08

Am hoping that ex will start to pay some maintenance soon and then I can fill the oil tank - at the minute it's about 1/4 full so am watching it like a hawk. I have bought a low wattage electric heater and am saving for another one for upstairs. I can keep the kids at after schools until 5pm on weekdays and even though I finish work earlier, it means that I can use less heating until they get home. All the usual things like fleecy PJs and sleep suits. I have fleece blankets in the living room as well. Have got some draught excluders for the bottom of the doors, hot water bottles and layers of duvets on beds.

SquishyCinnamonSwirls Wed 19-Oct-11 20:46:17

I agree about the sleeping in a hoody thing as the heat you lose from your head is immense.
Wheatbags are a must for us.
I'm now letting my (big and hairy!) dog get up on the sofa with me for a cuddle, he doesn't understand personal space and is very warm and cosy.
The radiators are off in the rooms we don't use much and I keep the doors shut.
I've just re-insulated the loft hatch and used that draught excluder tape on the front and back doors.

When you flick a light switch in our house, about a dozen lights seem to come on so I'm using candles and lamps a lot.

Door stops. The word threshold comes from the tradition of putting thresh, or hay, down on the kitchen floor in the wintertime. When the thresh built up they had to stop it at the door, hence the 'hold' part.

Obviously I just had to work in that useless anecdote hmm

The only thing I can think of is minimising the extremes of hot to cold- to get acclimatised. Stepping out from a hot house into a cold morning will make the shock much more so woollies take a while to work- getting out of bed straight into scarves etc might make a difference.

bebeballroom Wed 19-Oct-11 21:33:28

bramshott - I don't think we have a carboard box big enough, fireplace/chimney is about 1m width x 40cm deep! Definitely need to shove something up there, sa on the sofa & I can feel the cold draught coming down it!

I've been sat reading out these suggestions to DH. After being stung with a huge gas bill for last winter we are conciously trying to reduce what we spend on heating the house.

Unfortunately, this house is probably the most uneconomical house you can imagine and as we're renting at the moment we can't do anything about the major problems . A plumber who came to repair our boiler recently said it was the one of the least efficient on the market. The windows are supposedly double glazed, but have wooden frames and are so bad that the curtains literally move with the draught.

We have put the heating on only a handful of times so far this autumn/winter just to take the 'chill out of the air' and are getting used to cosy fleecy jumpers and extra socks. The cats are probably feeling it the most as they're constantly coming over for a snuggle. smile

VivaLeBeaver Wed 19-Oct-11 21:50:18

F you can't get cardboard or a bit of wood up the chimney could you fit some sort of rug to the wall, covering over the actual fireplace? I've seen that done before.

Tianc Wed 19-Oct-11 21:56:49

Stopping the window drafts should make huge difference, IfAtFirst.

Definitely use the clingfilm-like glazing and draughtproofing strips (both just stuck on so landlord can't reasonably complain, even if s/he cared).

If there are drafts between the frame and the wall, or where pipes come into the house, or round the edge of the ceiling into the loft (mine were awful), get yourself a tube of decorator's caulk from B&Q. The landlord is still not likely to notice, and I'd imagine it would come under keeping the place in reasonable repair.

Tianc Wed 19-Oct-11 21:58:08

draughts

<grumble grumble gone all American>

mumslife Wed 19-Oct-11 22:09:46

this has to be one of the saddest threads i have ever read. Its shocking especially people with young kids. We are far from well off but there is no way either I or my kids will be cold consequently I will be putting the central heating on when we need it ( its on at the moment and has been on twice a day for the last week) When it gets colder still I will be putting it on when I come in from work at two and leaving it on until it is set to go off at 10.30. At the weekends in a few more weeks it will probably be on from about lunchtime onwoods after it has already been on in the early morning. When it drops to the minuses then it will be on day and night albeit low, I dont want frozen pipes. It is better to do that than to keep switching it on and off and then have to have it up high to get it warm.

If I cant pay my bill then they will have to send me to prison. There is no way when we both work that I am prepared to be cold in my own house to the point of needing coats, hats , scarves and gloves on and sitting huddled in a sleeping bag or going to bed early to keep warm. This is not the victorian times and this is all wrong and if enough people cant pay their bill then maybe the government will do something about it.

Yes the heating is on now and i do have the doors shut to keep the warmth in and also have an electric blanket on my bed.
I am sorry but no one should have to live like the posters in this thread abd the government should do something about it now

ImDreamingOfACheapXmas Wed 19-Oct-11 22:11:15

We've never had heating in our house. And it never really bothers me but then I have a high body temperature.

Some ideas:

PJ's, bed socks, winter weight duvets ( from 12.0-13.5 tog), extra blankets, wheat bags or hot water bottles, thick curtains (with blanket lining), thick dressing gowns or fleece night dresses to wear over PJ's when downstairs, slippers and thick jumpers when around the house.

twinklytroll Wed 19-Oct-11 22:14:03

We can't really afford to put the heating on until we really need to.

We have been sat this evening under a duvet and this is a well uninsulated house. We have hot water bottles, extra blankets ready.

I may have to buy fingerless mittens as I have been struggling to get my work done this evening.

Gotarty Wed 19-Oct-11 22:14:37

Energy suppliers are obliged by the Gov to help vunerable groups - although often aimed at pensioners it also includes other groups - it's worth checking with your supplier about what discounts are available for which groups - ask about their "Warm Home Discount Scheme".

Warm Home Discount scheme

MooncupGoddess Wed 19-Oct-11 22:17:56

I don't think this is a sad thread at all, it is fascinating reading everyone's ingenious tips. I have just moved into a Victorian lower-ground floor flat with wooden floors which is lovely but bloody freezing, so I am making notes.

Actually I am contemplating a mediaeval-style approach of hanging tapestries (or rather thermal fabric) everywhere (any tips welcomed). Rushes on the floor and random livestock might help too - maybe I should lure next door's cat in smile

twinklytroll Wed 19-Oct-11 22:18:35

We are not classed as vulnerable or poor. We just can't afford to put the heating on until it is absoutely necessary.

AblativeAbsolute Wed 19-Oct-11 22:18:54

Tianc thanks for that about room vents. I'm now doubly cross if the stupid thing didn't need to be put in at all (they didn't do any calculations, just said 'you've got a woodburner so you need a vent'). It's bloody ugly, too. And the casing is an atrocious fit. I'm definitely going to tackle it this weekend!

Re the cling film stuff - is it visible once it's on? I have a fairly flimsy internal glass-panelled door that leads from my house to my porch. The porch itself is absolutely freezing (single skin walls, flat roof, no insulation at all), so I'm sure a lot of the house heat goes out through there. I could put some of the cling film stuff on the glass panels in the door, but if it's visible then it would look pretty crappy.

twinklytroll Wed 19-Oct-11 22:20:22

We do use our animals to keep warm. In the winter I encourage the dog to sleep on my feet.

Peachy Wed 19-Oct-11 22:21:15

'There is no way when we both work that I am prepared to be cold in my own house

that#s it really, I don't work (Carer and PT student) so I have to suck it up (DH works obviously)

fridascruffs Wed 19-Oct-11 22:21:19

Last year I left the heating on 65 degrees permanently, and I spent £1200 just on heating oil- electric, and gas bottles for cooking, were extra. I've had a woodburner installed in the living room this autumn, I hope it makes the place warmer for less money. I work from home and I have taken to using a hot water bottle for when I sit here; fingerless gloves might be a good idea as my hands get cold. Till a couple of years ago I lived in a house so cold I used to put DD to bed in a ski suit; it's not so bad in this house. i will see about cavity insulation and plastic window film for the rear extension, as that never really gets warm. Have done loft; the original house
is solid wall and can't really be insulated (for less than £10,000).

ChickenLickn Wed 19-Oct-11 22:23:22

Im going to cope by burning tories. lol.

mumslife Wed 19-Oct-11 22:23:49

i think if you have young children and or babies who cant even tell you they are cold then that is very sad indeed and really quite worrying and just not right I would class these gropups of people ie babies and young children and the elderly vunerable. People willbe dying of hypothermia next perhaps then someone will do something about it

AblativeAbsolute Wed 19-Oct-11 22:23:51

Lovely new heating tip from today: remove baby from cot after nap; unzip sleeping bag; place warm snuggly baby on chest; wrap sleeping bag around both of you. smile

mumblechum1 Wed 19-Oct-11 22:27:00

I like reading this ideas too, and don't see why anyone should be expecting the government to step in to pay people's bills. When I was growing up we didn't have CH and I remember doing my homework in fingerless gloves and seeing my breath, but it didn't kill me and my parents wouldn't have thought it was up to the Government to pay to heat their house.

This is the first winter in three that our CH has worked properly, I'd given up on various so called experts coming in, faffing around and charging me up to £1k at a time and the bloody system still made lots of noise but virtually no heat but have finally found someone who has got it sorted.

TBH for the last two winters it's been fine, we have a log burner in one living room, open fireplace in the other, towel rails in all the bathrooms and ds has a fan heater in his bedroom. The only problem was in going down the corridors, landings etc which were bloody frosty.

Am happy now that at least when it gets really cold I can put the heating on, but as I'm used to not having it on all that much I suspect it won't be every day.

mumslife Wed 19-Oct-11 22:27:03

Peachy if you are a carer then by rights you should be entitled to some kind of heating allowance and a carers allowance and disability living allowance- paricularly as you have a disabled or elderly person or persons you are presumably caring for . these are vunerable people and need to be kept warm.. Maybe double check you are not entitled to some kind of heating allowance

mumblechum1 Wed 19-Oct-11 22:28:33

Oh, and electric blankets are the most wonderful invention in the history of inventions.

mumblechum1 Wed 19-Oct-11 22:29:43

The reason people can't afford heating so much these days is because the price of fuel has gone up worldwide. Not sure what the government is supposed to do about that - wave a magic wand?

mumslife Wed 19-Oct-11 22:30:24

mumblechum1
- yes but the price of heating is extortionate if it was reasonably priced then no one would be expecting the government to do anything about it but it has gone up and up and up as has the cost of food, petrol etc etc and wages have not increased so therefore the government should do something about ti before we have vunerable people dying from hypothermia because of the cost of living

LynetteScavo England Wed 19-Oct-11 22:30:40

There is warm, and there is warm

It is 17.5 in my living room right now. I would love to put the heating on. But am watching the pennies, and have got away with not having it on today.

It is not dangerously cold. We will live with no heating. It always seems to be 10'C warmer inside than out in winter, with no heating on.

Peachy Wed 19-Oct-11 22:31:09

mumslike not heating alolowances, they sued to do cold weather payments but they stoped them for disabled famillies. I do get CA, the DLA legally is for the boys though so is spent on them: if it drops too far I could look at heating but mainly goes on special diets, accessing clubs etc.

We are Ok though; we would not freeze if it got too cold or anything

Tianc Wed 19-Oct-11 22:31:18

The clingfilm is slightly visible in some lights, but actually less so than glass. To the point that I need to redo mine where someone put a hand through not realising it was there!

You do need some sort of air-input for burners and open fireplaces, so the installers aren't completely wrong – but perhaps it could have been solved better.

Iiuc, there are actually two issues. One is that the fire needs an air supply for its normal operation. With woodburners, the clever thing is to pipe the air directly into them from outdoors, so you're not using your nicely warmed room air for that.

Then there's the issue of safety if the thing isn't burning properly and you don't want CO to be able to build up. Eg there's a big difference between room-sealed boilers and non room-sealed ones. Apparently.

But my open gas fire has no clever piped air from outside and required no room vent to the outside, as the room was deemed sufficiently large and draughty. So I'd call another installer and ask a second opinion if I were you, asking if there are other solutions to your particular situation.

learningtofly Wed 19-Oct-11 22:32:10

well we have turned the heating on tonight but only to check it works!

We have bought a fancy thermostat that you can program different temps for different times of the day and week - we had one in our previous house and it worked really well in that you are more in control of the temp the heating is running at, particularly when you arent there but dont want the house to get too cold iyswim.

We did have to bite the bullet and have new windows fitted this year - previously we have gaffer taped them up during winter as you could literally see the gaps between the frames and the windows despite trying to fix them - this did work ok but after 3 years it was time to do something more permanent. New windows do seem effective - temp upstairs is 17 and a balmy 17.8 downstairs!

Tbh I cant be without a good pair of slippers (cant abide cold feet) and my electric blanket.

I think I will get some draught excluders though

mumblechum1 Wed 19-Oct-11 22:34:50

But Mumslife, we are already in a situation where the tax payer doesn't pay enough to cover the country's outgoings. By giving people some sort of subsidy to help towards the heating, our taxes are all going to go up.

Money doesn't grow on trees, ya know! wink

littlemisssarcastic Wed 19-Oct-11 22:36:43

I agree with the other posters who have mentioned dehumidifiers. I used to dread the winter because my flat would get icy cold...it was really bone chilling cold.
I bought a dehumidifier and honestly didn't expect it to make much difference if any...but I couldn't have been more wrong.
(Perhaps I should have realised how damp my place was getting when the windows were covered in condensation every morning, and the window sills were wringing wet sad)
It collected 9 litres of moisture in the first day and the icy feeling had gone...yes it was still chilly, but nowhere near as cold as it had felt. It was like taking the windchill factor out of the flat IYGWIM.
When I turned the heating on, the rooms heated up much much quicker and it actually felt alot warmer, and that was using storage heaters. I was suitably impressed and haven't been without a dehumidifier since. I even recommended my friend bought one, and she lives well below the poverty line, and she says it has been her best buy...she swears by it.
So if you can afford it, they are well well worth every penny imvho.

Apart from that....pretty much the same as most others have said on here.

Keep moving if you can
Wear lots of layers
Eat hot meals where possible

Love my hot wheat bag!!

LynetteScavo England Wed 19-Oct-11 22:38:18

The government are talking to engery suppliers to discuss price increases, though, aren't they?

I think that's the most I could expect from the government, TBH.

twinklytroll Wed 19-Oct-11 22:38:24

As I have said we can't put our heating on until we have no choice. We accept that we are not vulnerable so we wil go bed early, read in bed, sit under duvets wear extra layers. However I would be happy to pay extra tax so more vulnerable people can have their heating subsidised. I would have thought that most people would feel the same.

ballinderrymum Wed 19-Oct-11 22:38:54

mumslife - the politicians don't believe this is happening. did you hear edwina curry on stephen nolan at the weekend? she is saying that she doesn't believe that people are having to make the decision to 'heat or eat' she asked if people who were saying they had to make this choice were buying the odd lottery ticket and having cigarettes!

LynetteScavo England Wed 19-Oct-11 22:39:15

Oh, and MNing can give you really cold hands, especially the one you use for the mouse. I have heard you can get heated mice.

AblativeAbsolute Wed 19-Oct-11 22:41:40

Obviously it's not a terribly handy tip given that everyone on here is trying to save money, but it is amazing how much difference an efficient heating system makes. So if you have an old system and the possibility of upgrading it.... We had a new condensing boiler and whole new high pressure system last year because of building regs (we had our loft converted). Our new hot water cylinder thingy is amazing. It's completely cold to the touch (ie zero heat loss - so no good for drying clothes in the airing cupboard grin). We only have the hot water on for 45 mins in the mornings, and we have piping hot water all the time. It's brilliant.

Also, the plumbers who did our loft said it's really important to have your boiler serviced regularly - preferably annually, or at least every two years - particularly if you have an oil system, like us. It costs around £100, but it's quite an important safety check and also makes your boiler run much more efficiently, apparently.

learningtofly Wed 19-Oct-11 22:42:03

This thread has taken me back to my student days when we couldnt afford to heat our old Victorian terrace. It was so cold the condensation frequently froze on the inside of the windows.

I used to go to bed wearing:
- fleecy pj's
- fleecy dressing gown with a hood.
- pair of normal socks
- pair of fleecy socks
- 13.5 tog duvet
- extra blanket
- gloves

and I would still be cold (especially my nose.)

littlemisssarcastic Wed 19-Oct-11 22:42:03

I'll also mention that my dehumidifier is on 24/7 and I honestly don't notice how much energy it uses..have had it a few years now, but when I bought it, it cost 12p a day (24hrs) to run...got no idea how much it costs to run now, but I don't have my heating on yet, and have no intention of putting it on this month.

ivykaty44 Wed 19-Oct-11 22:45:54

Also, the plumbers who did our loft said it's really important to have your boiler serviced regularly - preferably annually, or at least every two years - particularly if you have an oil system, like us. It costs around £100, but it's quite an important safety check and also makes your boiler run much more efficiently, apparently.

yes and the #100 is very important to the plumber grin

Serioisly though gas boilers or oil bilers - make sure they are safe sod the cost your life is important

Ponders Wed 19-Oct-11 23:03:53

littlemisss, the dehumidifier I linked to earlier includes this customer comment:

'It is rated at 230W so uses about 1 unit every 4 hours, not a lot but in constant use 24/7 this adds up. The same would be true for any appliance but it needs to be born in mind when choosing something like this. After 2 weeks constant use it is not now needed all the time & instead is turned on as required.'

at current rates that's probably 3.5-5p per hour, so not cheap - but a lot less than any form of electric heating! and it could be switched off overnight.

ninah Wed 19-Oct-11 23:10:27

I'm afraid I fancy those fleecy adult babygroes this winter

littlemisssarcastic Wed 19-Oct-11 23:14:32

ponders That's interesting. I have no idea how much wattage mine is, but I usually leave mine on overnight and have done for years. The added bonus of waking up with no condensation throughout the house and no wringing wet windowsills is great!!!
I'm on Economy 7 tariff so doesn't cost that much to run at night...plus any washing on the clothes horse dries overnight too. grin

herethereandeverywhere Wed 19-Oct-11 23:16:41

We never had central heating when I was growing up (I'm 34). We did lots of the things that had been mentioned already.

- no heating in bedrooms, just close the curtains and plenty of blankets on the bed. Hot water bottle or elec blanket to warm to bed (but only on for short period of time to warm the bed).

- kids got dressed downstairs in front of the gas fire, bathroom was warmed for bathtime once a week (quick blast with fan heater).

- only living room heated by gas fire, no heat source anywhere else save for the odd exception (see below).

It's possible to manage without and not spend a fortune on electrical heating. Not sure how expensive the oil filled radiator would be. For exceptional depth of winter freezing temperatures my parents would put one on in the hall because it warmed the upstairs too. But not all the time. Even now I can't bear to sleep in a warm bedroom. It's so uncomfy! I'm much rather go to bed in a jumper and be able to see my breath!

littlemisssarcastic Wed 19-Oct-11 23:18:00

You know what I find one of the worst things about winter???

The time between jumping out of the hot bath/shower and being fully dressed again. Brrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

funnyperson Wed 19-Oct-11 23:18:17

I'm with mumslife on this one, there will be people and children for whom sleeping fully clothed huddled together with the cat during the day just to keep warm just is not fun or right. These posts are a bit different to turning down the thermostat a couple of degrees to save energy.
Cold weather allowances for the less well off, the vulnerable, those with young children, and the disabled should be brought back. The posts on here wont even be from the poorest in the land.

lollystix Wed 19-Oct-11 23:22:17

So can anyone recommend a good dehumidifier? Sorry if it's been mentioned but on my iPhone and there are 200 plus posts to scroll thru. Tagrin

musicposy Wed 19-Oct-11 23:22:42

Thought I was the only one in this position! Our boiler packed up in December last winter and we just cannot afford to have it replaced.

Firstly, agree with everyone who mentioned dehumidifiers. I put ours on for about an hour each morning and bring our humidity down to 60% or thereabouts. Makes it feel 100x warmer! Without it, with no real heating, the house would be dripping wet.

Also, cannot recommend these highly enough. They are dirt cheap to buy, cheap to run (low setting is only 400W) and take the chill out of the room beautifully. As long as I can be in one room that is not too freezing I'm fine. If I need the loo I can run!

DD2 is sleeping in bed with me at the moment for warmth. DH works nights and comes in in the morning and takes her place. He commented today it's like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! grin

At the moment I'm aiming for no less than 16 degrees in the day in the room I'm in. But as the winter goes on I know we will toughen up. By the end of last winter anything over 11 felt quite toasty and I was sweltering in other people's houses!

I'd recommend a cheap weather station that tells you internal and external temp and humidity. We got one for £12 from Lidl and I keep an eye on it constantly.

musicposy Wed 19-Oct-11 23:26:05

loolystix I got this one from meaco who I found brilliant. I was lucky and paid less than this as they upgraded me for free because of stock issues. It was a couple of years ago now and despite being priceyish, (I thought for a long time before spending out) has been worth every single penny.

They save you £££ in heating bills because dry air feels warmer and is easier to heat than damp air. I LOVE mine.

musicposy Wed 19-Oct-11 23:26:28

sorry, lollystix blush

Ponders Wed 19-Oct-11 23:27:08

this is the one I linked to before, lollystix but only based on amazon reviews, not a personal recommendation

The one I have is working really well but it's tiny & only really suitable for a small space like an understairs cupboard, not for a whole house

SurprisEs Wed 19-Oct-11 23:29:41

twinklytroll my selfish self would rather not pay more tax. I struggle to pay my bills as it is. As much as I would love to be charitable I can't afford to. blush

Tomisinathewitchescat Wed 19-Oct-11 23:35:32

There was something on the news here (ni) about Credit Unions offering a £500 fuel loan, which would be paid back over 6 months at a really low interest rate. Does this exist in England?

ShriekingLisa Wed 19-Oct-11 23:36:04

I have already taped up my back door with sellotape, we also tape up the letterbox on a night with maskin tape. We have awful drafts. Our back hallway is already warmer due to not using the back door and keeping it taped up. Close all vents in windows and if you can tape up any air vents too.

Tianc Wed 19-Oct-11 23:46:09

A thing I've often wondered about, but never put a figure on, is use of the hot water tap for quick hand washes.

A flat mate used to use the hot tap as default for every little rinse – often so brief the hot water didn't make it as far as the tap – and you could hear the combi fire up every time for absolutely nothing.

I use the cold tap as default, and make a positive decision to change to hot if dealing with grease or whatever. I can't work out if this is saddo penny-pinching or actually quite worthwhile.

Crumbletopping Wed 19-Oct-11 23:58:13

Hope you've had some useful tips OP.
Don't know if people have mentioned these but:
Woolly/fleecy hats that cover ears
Porridge, soup and hot chocolate (make a flask up maybe)
Do you have a slow cooker to make casseroles?
Go somewhere warm in the day - church drop-in centres, garden centres, libraries
go to bed early with hw bottle and good book

FearfulYank Thu 20-Oct-11 06:06:37

I've only skimmed but:

-A wool top layer of clothing, cotton lets out heat too easily
-Cover up wherever skin is thin, such as head, wrists, etc.
-Candles actually do produce quite a bit of heat in a small room and are cheap and at least look warm
-Home made handwarmers: fill socks or sew little pillows full of uncooked rice and then heat for a minute or two in the microwave. They're warm and feel lovely
-Move around as much as you can
-Lots of snuggling together under blankets

I'm going to go over and read the whole thread because we are trying to keep our heating as low as possible this winter...they're not allowed to shut it off completely because people would die, but we're trying to not have a huge bill.

FearfulYank Thu 20-Oct-11 06:07:49

Oh and these ! Rolled up towels work too. smile

I saved up put done oil in my tank before got to last year prices( predicted to hit )£1 a litre this year) but will still need to eerk it out

House is cold poor insulation crap boiler (LL is registered plumber so can officially do himself so means never and cheap as possible )

Well the boilers up the spout again no heating front room was 11.c this morning my room was so cold the metal push rims on my wheelchair so cold I had to get my son to pass me some gloves before I could grab and transfer am still wearing now

Dc under blankets in front room but not option for me as need to do stuff but because sitting down it's cold as harder to warm up

LL is away again been told he sort when back ( boiler is not in property it's in the yard at the back (dodgey set up ) ge back in 3 weeks !!!!

I can not wait till move end of January and have real heating

Yank

If you have oil heating you have no other option last year people could not get deliverays roads plus there was a shortage of supply or afford the mad prices so had no choice

radiohelen Thu 20-Oct-11 07:57:47

You know what makes me really cross is that we had an extension built on our house and we had to conform to all sorts of energy saving rules, fit insulation, use special glass, special light fittings etc... and then they forced us to drill 4 inch holes in the walls to fit an extractor to the toilet and made us drill hundreds of holes in the double glazing for trickle vents. It's not like the rest of the house is new so there are no issues of not enough ventilation! The other day when it was windy there was a hell of a draft in our back loo.... even the cat wouldn't go in there to use her box. Thanks Mr Building Inspector!

Our energy bills come in at £150 a month dual fuel...

Becaroooo Thu 20-Oct-11 08:05:51

Thermals...I am in mine already!
Hot water bottles.
Try to stay in 1 room at night time - then heat just that room.
Hot drinks
If your washing maching has a short wash, use it for most things - mine has a 15 min cycle which is great for not really dirty stuff like towels, flannels, etc
Its tricky when you are in the house all day with small dc sad

mumblechum1 Thu 20-Oct-11 08:58:44

On the oil price front, you can save quite a lot by buying in summer, I paid £600 for 1000 litres, it would cost over £800 to buy that now.

mama2moo Thu 20-Oct-11 09:05:43

Thanks for the link to the halogen heater. I think I will get one.

V.cold today! Im sending dd's out to the garden in a mo with coats etc on!

I slept with socks on last night! Time to find my Slanket! Honestly, it is the warmest blanket ever!

Also, I have just seen wrist warmers. Im going to get some to try.

AngelDog Thu 20-Oct-11 09:07:46

I don't think anyone's mentioned it yet but legwarmers are brilliant. I wear them in bed at night (you can tuck the leg of your PJs into them if the trousers are too short) and in the day too. They're good for covering up gaps between leggings & socks.

Baby leg warmers are good for babies & toddlers to wear under trousers. They make good wrist warmers for adults too, and can be put on LO's arms at night to keep them warmer when in a sleeping bag.

Shop-bought baby leg warmers are really expensive, but I bought lots of pairs of adult over-the-knee socks from Poundland and cut them down to size - works a treat for my DS.

Knee-high socks are good too.

Our loft bedroom was 13 degrees this morning although it felt like about 3 degrees. hmm I made a 'tent' of our duvet and changed DS's nappy, put on his eczema cream & got him dressed underneath it. That'll save me a few pennies this year - normally I'd put the fan heater on to take the chill off the bathroom and do it in there.

Put your underwear / thermals / DC's clothes for the next day in your bed to warm up. You could do it briefly in the morning just to take the worst of the chill off, or put them in there the night before so they're properly warm when you come to put them on. smile

It occurred to me that rather than running the hot water for DS's wet wipes in the morning, it would be better to put some hot water in a small flask the night before - more efficient to boil a kettle than start the boiler up.

Split crotch fleece trousers are great for potty training / recently potty trained children - they can go on the potty without having to take off their trousers. If necessary you can pop a nappy over the top.

I'm going to experiment with putting an Ikea fleece blanket on top of the mattress, under the sheet to warm us up in bed.

If you don't use radiators for clothes drying, ceiling airers work much better than floor-standing ones.

When you have a hot drink, hold onto your mug till it cools down - it'll warm your fingers up.

If you accidentally boil a bit more water than you need, pour the dregs into a flask & pour into the kettle next time you need some water.

Try keeping a jugful of tap water on the worksurface for use for hot drinks - it'll take less energy to heat from room temperature than from the cold temperature outdoors. Keeping a lid on it will prevent condensation.

Keeping toilet lids closed and emptying sinks / baths as soon as you've finished with them will reduce dampness.

Anyone know how to produce drinks hot enough to warm up a toddler without there being any danger of them scalding themself?

mama2moo Thu 20-Oct-11 09:10:25

I have just googled wrist warmers and am going to knit myself some! So easy!

Leg warmers is another great idea! Some great ideas there Angel.

Last winter I gave dd Horlicks at night. I used to make it so that it was tepid. (defo hot enough for a toddler who is used to cold drinks!)

Bloodredrubyblue Thu 20-Oct-11 09:14:19

throughout the summer DP has been making bricks out of old newspapers with the Ekobrick maker, we have eight hundred in the garage and each one burns for an hour

It also uses up all our shredded documents and hedge cuttings etc.

We also collect firewood throughout the summer from old trees and sawn up pallets etc to burn on our open fire so effectively our fuel is free. It takes work and planning though and not everyone has an open fire or woodburner.

AngelDog Thu 20-Oct-11 09:21:03

Oh, and these foam floor mats are good for using on cold floors. They're cheaper if you buy in bulk - but get them from Ebay rather than the Early Learning Centre as they're about a quarter of the price. You can use them as play mats for babies or gymn / yoga mats for older children and adults. We keep one tile in the kitchen for doing nappy changes on so DS doesn't freeze on the cold stone floor.

Horlicks sounds like a good idea. Although it occurred to me that since DS still bf's quite a lot, he gets plenty of body-temperature drinks that way. smile

Odd socks are great for wristwarmers too - just cut the toes out. I have dodgy wrists and having warmers on them makes all the difference. You could probably use them as ankle warmers too for extra warmth without having to go up a size in shoes / slippers.

greyghoul Thu 20-Oct-11 09:26:00

Haven't fot time to read the whole thread but at the moment aldi has cheap thermal sets for adults and children - you will find those very useful. they also have some sports fleeces in, and lidl are selling ski wear for kids - again thermals, padded ski trousers and polo neck jumpers (very handy layering item).
both stores may have some compression sportswear in which my husband tells me are very warm and light.
Have a look because they are much cheaper than anywhere else and good quality. Next week i think lidl are selling adult ski wear which may include nice socks etc. keep an eye on the websites for the special offers.

Tianc Thu 20-Oct-11 09:31:47

Ah no, don't go for the shortest possible laundry cycle.

The bulk of the power is used to heat the water, not turn the drum. So a longer, lower temp cycle is very much better.

Same for tumble driers, as someone said upthread.

ballinderrymum Thu 20-Oct-11 09:51:24

i am thankful for this thread - my parents have had no central heating for 2 years now and i just couldn't understand how they coped each day - boiler broke and couldn't afford to replace it - we have a woodburner and luckily DH is very handy with a chainsaw but when in the house all day the wood doesn't give enough heat during the winter so we have to use coal. The condensation is what really bothers me as i think it can't be good for DD's health, i wipe it away at least twice a day DH thinks i am wasting time. i hate using the tumble so have to dry washing in the house - which adds to condensation. when DD is at school i have windows open to try to air the house before i light the fire for DD to come home. everything is so expensive! i dread this winter but thankfully we have a small house, with cavity wall insulation, just a shame we have single glazing, money tree hasn't started producing yet, must get fertiliser...

BleepyBloop Thu 20-Oct-11 09:53:56

Our house did not have any insulation in the loft and the landlord said no other tennants complained before so he did nothing about it. Of course we had no way of knowing if this was true. Is fleece underwear any good? You know: vest and underpants?

Bugsy2 Thu 20-Oct-11 09:58:20

Fantastic thread, so many good tips. I don't think it is sad at all. Up until 80 odd years ago, no one had central heating & the human race survived. I grew up in a house with no central heating and never felt like I was a victim or being badly treated.
My top tip would be trying as hard as you can not to get cold. It is quite hard work for the body to warm itself up, so if you can not get cold in the first place that works well. Thermal vests & long johns are great. I wear several thermal vests when it gets really chilly. They are made of such thin material these days, that you can easily get 3 sleeveless ones on under a shirt or jersey top. You can get them for the kids too. Try not to sit still for too long. Hoovering never fails to warm me up. Put on some music & dance about for a bit, go for a walk - anything really to get the circulation going. Drink hot drinks & eat warming foods. Use chilli, spices, ginger etc in your stews, make curries all these things help you warm yourself from the inside out.
There is no shame in not spending a fortune on heating. British houses are usually very badly insulated & most people are heating the air all around the outside of their house, as much as the house itself. They are the nutters! wink

itilliterate Thu 20-Oct-11 10:16:58

I know this thread is about not having central heating, but the British Gas engineer who is servicing my boiler says that he keeps his heating on at 17 degrees all of the time, rather than heating up the whole house from cold in the evening.

Oil fired radiators cost a FORTUNE to run.

I don't understand why anyone would not have an electric blanket.

Duvet sandwiches are brilliant, but difficult to get out of.

Fishandjam Thu 20-Oct-11 10:30:31

Apologies if someone's already suggested this: rather than only putting the heating on for short periods, try keeping it on all the time but at a much, much lower temperature setting than you'd usually have it at. We found it was better to keep the house at a constant, bearable (though slightly parky) temperature, than to have it get really cold and then have to try to heat it back up again for short periods. (We are on oil, not gas, and it costs us a fecking fortune anyway, but this did seem to work. Our house is old and prone to damp too, so if it gets too cold it can be really unpleasant.)

Ditto to thermals, large filling meals (soup, porridge etc), hot water bottles, blankets, WOOL jumpers (not your acrylic rubbish). Jeans are also impractical this time of year IMO (cotton? In winter? Really?) I lie in a 3 season sleeping bag to watch TV this time of year!

gingeroots Thu 20-Oct-11 10:36:50

Can anyone talk me through the curtains over front door - how do you attach them ? Do you have two that you open and close ?
And does anyone know the effect on your central heating system of turning radiators off in certain rooms ?
We have a very old system and it gets air locks as it is ,which means that the terrifying red pressure/header tank thingy in loft has to be topped up ,which I am completely in horror of .
TIA

Tianc Thu 20-Oct-11 10:40:32

You can put an ordinary curtain rail over a door, like over a window, but it won't open and close with the door so is rather inconvenient.

A portiere rod attaches to the door & frame, and opens and closes with it.

VeryLittleGhastliness Thu 20-Oct-11 10:48:10

<hangs head in shame>
I've finally cracked and switched the heating on. The house was 12 degrees this morning, and everyone bar DP has bronchitis now.We've tried all the tips on here, blankets, thermals, extra duvets, more insulation, lined curtains, thermal blinds...to no avail. We've had a hard frost every morning for the past week, and the laundry was frozen stiff on the line when i came to take it in. Even with the heating on, it's struggling to reach 18 degrees.

<bows out of thread>

onequestion Thu 20-Oct-11 10:51:35

A lot of people are talking about drying their clothes in the winter and using a tumble dryer.
Tumble dryers absolutely eat money. I have just got the lakeland catalogue today (which normally I would associate with very expensive things) and they have a page on heated driers for clothes. They cost about £50 upfront which may be too much for some people, but then they cost only 5p-14p an hour to run and you only have to leave them on for an hour or two to dry your clothes. Maybe if it's too expensive you could buy it with a neighbour and share it? Just an idea.

So for example, see here.
Mind you, I might be tempted to actually get in it and warm up there!

SquishyCinnamonSwirls Thu 20-Oct-11 10:52:17

Switching a few radiators off in our house makes no difference to the heating system as a whole but then our house is only about 10 years old, so I have no idea on older houses or systems.

In my old house I fixed a regular curtain pole to the ceiling near the front door with the normal brackets (make sure you find a joist in the ceiling to screw them into) they supply and then hang it from there. They were really heavy, lined, old fashioned ones from the charity shop but they made such a difference in the hallway and stairs.

Flannelette sheets! I changed the bed yesterday and found an old set my Mum had given me and it was so nice and cosy to get in bed last night. I didn't have to warm the cotton up with my body heat first iykwim so it was warmer in there quicker. I'm so looking forward to having dh home at the weekend as he's like a radiator the heat he gives off, I'll be sweltering!

ivykaty44 Thu 20-Oct-11 10:53:34
NhameCage Thu 20-Oct-11 10:56:22

I don't know if anyone has said it but regarding efficient use of energy e.g. hot water - you will use a lot less energy by keeping a tank of water hot than by letting it go cold and heating it from cold again as the main expenditure in energy is from taking the water from cold to hot. Do you get what I mean? So people who say they only heat a tank of water and then turn it off, it may not be the most efficient use of energy iyswim.

ivykaty44 Thu 20-Oct-11 11:00:40

i use a washing line - hang clothes with pegs onto line and clothes dry off, when they are nearly dry I take them inside and iron nd hang on hangers to air off then put in wardrobe.

An airer in the bathroom then place in tumble dryer for ten minutes to dry off at the end and then fold and put away or iron to dry off

ivykaty44 Thu 20-Oct-11 11:02:19

you wouldn't keep boiling a kettle all day for one cup of coffee

Ormirian Thu 20-Oct-11 11:05:03

I am getting the most amazing hot flushes atm. I seem to chuck out the same heat as a gasfire! The dog has to stop lying all over me when we are watching TV because he threatens to spontaneously combust.

So I am willing to lend myself out to MNers to warm their houses. No charge but the occassional glass of merlot or cup of tea would be appreciated grin

Tianc Thu 20-Oct-11 11:05:38

Oh Ghastliness, of course you can have your heating on! It's about staying warm while keeping costs down, not freezing for the sake of it.

I'm sitting by a cosy radiator right now. It's the only one that's on and I'm also wrapped in woollies and longjohns. Air temp 16º and I'm pretty snug.

gingeroots Thu 20-Oct-11 11:09:29

Thanks tianic and squishy ...but requires too much expertise .
Any simpler ideas ?
Ormirian smile

Bugsy2 Thu 20-Oct-11 11:15:08

Ghastliness, sorry to hear you are all poorly. 12 degs is too low - specially if you haven't got one warm room. Just a thought, is your house damp? Cold & damp is soooooooooooooo much worse than cold & dry. If it is, might be worth spending a bit on a small de-humidifier?

Bugsy2 Thu 20-Oct-11 11:17:29

gingeroots - this is what you need: SIZE. Not too expensive & very easy to fit.

gingeroots Thu 20-Oct-11 11:48:26

Thanks Bugsy - have you got one ,do you just fit to door or does it have to go into a wall as well ? [ clueless emoticon ] .

GalloweesG Thu 20-Oct-11 11:57:48

Ive just realised that dh never has the radiator on in his study, a computer and a laptop in a small room are very adequate heat sources.

Bugsy2 Thu 20-Oct-11 11:57:48

Mine is attached to the wall by the door. The arm will swing backwards & forwards, so that you can open the door when the curtain is pulled, without having to struggle through a pulled curtain. It also means that in the summer you can just push the curtain back against the wall & not really think about it. I think this kind of fitting will only work if your door opens up against a wall - if that makes sense.

mumslife Thu 20-Oct-11 12:11:04

thank you funnyperson. I think this thread is horrifying and you are right these people are not the poorest in the land because they obv have laptops and or phones to be able to access mumsnet!! - what is the country coming to have people got to start dying of cold before anyone does anything

Intersat Thu 20-Oct-11 12:22:40

There are loads of great tips here smile

I only have one to add. When I bought myself a fleece dressing gown a few years back (in the sales) they only had mens sizes left so i bought one of those. It is a much longer length and bigger size than my old one and so much warmer because there is more material. Looks a bit strange though!

gingeroots Thu 20-Oct-11 12:30:48

ok ,thanks bugsy

LegoundertheInstep Thu 20-Oct-11 12:39:37

Cook 2 days food at once instead of 1 when using the oven and save the rest for another day in the freezer. Reheating is cheaper than cooking from scratch and you save yourself work too. Crockpot cooking is great as it cooks cheap stuff well, costs little and doesn't steam the place up and any surplus heat will filter into the room. Apart from that, invest in warm jumpers from Oxfam?

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Thu 20-Oct-11 12:45:44

If you have been 'comfortably off' and have a 'good-sized' house (whatever those things might mean to different people!) then it is inevitable that in times of economic GLOOM coupled with rising fuel prices, you are going to suffer quite a bit - you have a big space to heat, have not had to think too much about fuel economy in the past, have a lot of appliances, then suddenly whoops! redundancy, reduced hours, plus fuel price hike [shocked] you are in trouble. It's quite similar to a big rise in interest rates hitting hardest those who were already stretched to the limit with mortgage payments.

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Thu 20-Oct-11 12:47:15

Sorry I meant to say this is sort of the situation I am in at the moment, not directly linked to economic climate, (marriage break-up) but lots of people are in a similar crisis.

bubby64 Thu 20-Oct-11 13:27:19

We are in a simular position, oil ran out in May, have just afforded 500ltr, but that will have to last til next year. I have got door curtains, fleece lined window curtains, turned off radiators in kitchen and bedooms, now about to use the film double glazing in all rooms.
Our biggest heat loser was the kitchen, as we had a dog door that led into garden, we have now put a makeshift "porch" on the back door, with a door out to the side, not directly in front of back door, to try and stop draughts etc going out there. We also have a portable calor gas heater at the top of our stairs, which we put on for 1/2hr or so if it gets really cold upstairs, and this helps.Also have fleece blankets/throws to wrap up in.

musicposy Thu 20-Oct-11 13:43:54

mama2moo and others, I am gutted because the heater I linked to on Amazon came today and it is completely different to the first one! It's not a halogen, just a standard quartz, and takes ages to warm up, plus it started smoking when I turned it on. A really nasty cheap copy of the first - it looks the same but it isn't - someone is pulling a trick. sad

So I've emailed and asked them for a refund. But I feel bad now because I recommended it.

I wonder if different people are selling it under the same description. But if you've ordered a halogen heater like it, make sure it's halogen when it comes and not just quartz which won't have the light and will be more expensive and less efficient.

Bubby 500 litres will last month here crap boiler and insulation and that's running at 17.c

But moot point as we have none or hotwater for 3 weeks till LL gets back

But I'm going with wrap up I'm wearing thermals then lined jeans tshire jumper and have blanket over knees if not doing a lot

itspeanutbutterjellytime Thu 20-Oct-11 14:45:55

This thread has actually made me stop and think about how much I turn the heating on. Just because I can, doesn't mean I need to. I think I'll be using more blankets and jumpers, why waste the money?

With respect to drying clothes, I use a heated clothes aired from Lakeland. It was £75 but it costs 3p an hour to run, and dries jeans totally in about 6 hours. I love mine and since I only used the drier last year and ended up with a £300 for the quarter, I'm looking forward to seeing how much this will save me.

I've got a slanket that a friend bought me 2 Christmases ago that's just been sat in a cupboard since. I'm going to unearth it now!

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Thu 20-Oct-11 15:06:31

It's interesting to hear what people think are normal/acceptable fuel bills. We pay £80 a month direct debit year-round for gas and electric, 4 bed detached house with large extended ground floor. I once had to check someone's ID for getting a CRB done at work and saw that her quarterly bill was £800 shock. I think she had a huge house though, poss with outbuildings, swimming-pool, jacuzzi etc...

We replaced a lot of our lighting a year ago as there were far too many lightbulbs, mostly on dimmer switches. We now only have power-guzzling halogen lights in the kitchen and bathrooms. I try to be very frugal with heating and use an airer and airing cupboard to dry washing. Don't own a tumble drier. My friend who has a key meter found her bills dropped from £100 a month to £50 when she stopped using her drier.

AblativeAbsolute Thu 20-Oct-11 15:14:18

Rather odd-sounding tip, but one thing that has saved us money is keeping an ongoing Christmas/birthday wish list for us and the kids. Previously, my family and ILs would always ask for ideas at the last minute, and I could never think of much, so I always ended up getting things that were very nice, but that I didn't need (eg lovely bowls that I had no room for). Now I stick anything I think of on my list throughout the year, so I've always got ready ideas whenever someone asks. The reason this saves money is that I often put quite practical things on there - for example, on the back of this thread I shall be putting a nice snuggly kids' eiderdown on DS's list, and a nice sofa blanket on ours. The family like it as well, because I've always got ideas, and they always know they're getting us things we really want smile.

VikingBlood Thu 20-Oct-11 15:22:07

The French governement provide us with a wonderful website where you can look at the evolution of the price of domestic heating oil since the 80's.

We need a minimum of 2000l to get comfortably through the winter, this year we're aiming to use half that. For the sake of argument, I'll give you the price for 1000l each time.

In 1985: €460 (330 without tax)
In 1988: €28

Then it rises steadily to €330 in 1999 and jumps to €460 the following year.

The taxes increase heavily at around the same time.

In 2010 it was around the €700 mark.

I called last week to see how much it's at right now: €900 (€700 without tax, now tell me the gvmt can't do more to help).

FearfulYank Thu 20-Oct-11 15:24:08

HumanCatapault I know that. smile And the house I grew up in (in northern Minnesota, no less, where -40 is the norm in deep winter) had no central heating, just a woodstove. I just meant that the heat I have now is not legally allowed to be turned off between October and April. It used to be turned off in April of every year and then we got our taxes back we'd use them to pay the massive heating bill. Last year we managed to keep up with the payments for the first time and felt quite posh. blush

Ormirian c'mon over! grin

Tianc Thu 20-Oct-11 15:33:38

Oh dear god, HumanCatapault, is the oil still not sorted.shock Good grief, I was thinking about you only the other day and hoping you'd now got a supplier who would deliver or a landlord who'd meet his legal obligations to provide a safe tank.

By the way, do you know about wheelchair cosies? Though for indoors a fully zipped sleeping bag might be as good. I don't know if you feel the cold much in your legs, but keeping them toasty might help keep your core temperature up.

VeryLittleGhastliness Thu 20-Oct-11 15:38:06

That was a very self-pitying post of mine earlier blush...sorry 'bout that.

Right, Lemsip has kicked in, the house is now lovely and warm, and I am resolved to carry on...We get our log-burning stove in two weeks <excited>

I have co-opted DS2's fluffy toys into the austerity drive. We have 2 giant snakes, a dragon and a crocodile, all of which are perfect as draught excluders. I'm avoiding the temptation to nail them to the bottom of the door, as advised by MIL.

X-boxes chuck out an amazing amount of heat. DS1 is in an insulated log cabin at the bottom of the garden. He hasn't has to switch his radiator on yet, as the x-box is such an effective space heater.

Debs75 Thu 20-Oct-11 15:54:57

Haven't got time to read all the thread now so apologies if already answered.

How do you stop draughts at the external doors? Our doors are crap and the air just rushes through them, we even get rain and snow through the gaps. It needs to be easy and cheap to do as I'm not very DIY good and we are hoping to move next year so can't spend a fortune on something we won't use for long

we have only just put the CH on, that is all we have as well. I am loathe to mess with ity but even though it can be freezing in here it only comes on at 22-23 . My mum has hers set at 16 all winter but if we did that it would nevr come on.
We don't have it on overnight either just between 6am and 11pm. In the night we have dc's in our bed and lots of blankets.
Was brought up in very draughty wooden house with just 2 coal fires so have been there with no heating through blizzardy winters. I know we can survive but I always make sure we are warm, I hate the cold

FearfulYank Thu 20-Oct-11 16:00:23

Debs you can duct tape blankets over them. Or use rolled towels, etc, along the bottom.

HayleySexiWeestains Thu 20-Oct-11 16:02:00

Already have my heating on <disclaimer 10 month old baby who is poorly>
need advice. Live in a georgian flat with venetian windows like this but have no idea what window dressing to use in lieu of curtains. We rent the flat and when we moved in there was nothing on the window other than shutters on the rectange part of the windows. Any ideas? I can feel huge draughts coming from there already and would like to make it a little cosier in here as it a big old room.
Also <cheeky 2nd question alert> apologirs if already answered up thread, i have a boiler which has no time on it, what is most cost effective way of me using the heating as it is always freezing around 5 am but don't want to have to hAve it on all night, nor do I want to get uo at 5 to switch it on.
Thanks

HayleySexiWeestains Thu 20-Oct-11 16:02:44

Sorry for typos, cold fingers

HayleySexiWeestains Thu 20-Oct-11 16:04:12

debs draught excluders at the opening (bottom, letterbox and side) also perhaps a curtain which you cam drae. Think it has been mentioned up thread

HayleySexiWeestains Thu 20-Oct-11 16:05:08

cam drae can draw!

Tianc Thu 20-Oct-11 16:16:29

If there are holes actually through the door panels, fill them with Ronseal wood filler or cover the whole inside of the door with the clingfilm stuff for windows.

Or if you don't mind an ugly solution which will be hard to reverse, go to B&Q, buy some Gripfill glue and a sheet of rigid insulation board eg Celotex, and glue the board to the inside of the door. It's easy to cut with a sharp knife, so you could cut round letterbox, etc.

If there are draughts round the door, then glue or nail on draught excluder strips (B&Q, Homebase or Stormguard) and then put up a portiere rod or swinging curtain, as linked upthread.

Btw, the only skills need to put one of those up are
a) holding it straight
b) wielding a screwdriver
c) if you really, really can't find space to screw it into the wooden doorframe, using a drill to make a hole in the wall to stick a rawlplug in.

BoffinMum Thu 20-Oct-11 17:07:52
gingeroots Thu 20-Oct-11 17:09:39

aah - you can screw into the door frame !
i can manage that .

wigglybeezer Thu 20-Oct-11 19:00:59

Big fan of electric blankets here, very cheap to run, modern ones can be left on all night if necessary and so good to get into a toasty bed. (live in Victorian flat
with sash windows and high ceilings).

cairnterrier Thu 20-Oct-11 19:17:50

For anyone who has to order oil, try boilerjuice.com. There's a poster further up the thread saying that 1000l of oil costs over £800 whereas I've just checked and for delivery in the next 10 days to our area is £608. I think it does depend on where you live though and the number of deliveries that they're doing in your area - if more people order at the same time then the price goes down further.

itspeanutbutterjellytime Thu 20-Oct-11 19:40:56

Hayley can you not get some material on the cheap and run up up some basic curtains for yourself? Perhaps with a cheap fleecy liner? If you have them open during the day, no one will see/care. Also, you can tape up the edges of the windows with plumbing tape to stop major draughts. If you've got no timer on your boiler, there's not a lot you can do I don't think. I would turn it on about 8pm, off at about 10:30pm or before you go to bed and pile up the blankets as others have suggested. Or, just keep it on over night but keep it low and just in in yours and the DC's room?

If I have to tumble dry, I put my clothes horse packed with clothes in front of it and close the door to keep in the residual heat.

Lisatheonewhoeatsdrytoast Thu 20-Oct-11 20:18:58

If cooking in the kitchen with the oven on, shut the door, and sit with Dc's in the kitchen as long as you can after with the oven door open, keeps you nice and warm, try and spend time out in the library, shopping centre, wherever you can effectively "steal" heat for free wink or visit family grin

I think, i prefer if i need to, to put it on for maybe a couple of hours before the lead up to bed. So maybe 6-8 or something, leaving it still warm for you going to bed later on.

lunaticow Thu 20-Oct-11 21:32:29

I've just put some stick-on draught excluder at the bottom of my front door. It cost about £2 from Aldi and I noticed the reduction in draft with immediate effect smile

oksonowwhat Thu 20-Oct-11 21:33:28

Reading this thread with interest, its brilliantsmile

My house is fffffffffffffffreezing at the moment. Luckily i'm at work tonight but my poor kids are left in the coldsad

The last couple of winters have been a problem, i still owe all of the last quaters fuel bill and not sure how i'll be paying that yet....

We have stupid storage heaters which eat money and give out hardly no heat. I haven't used my tumble dryer for two years and i do all the tricks you've mentioned. Apart from going down to 30 degree wash and making flasks of drinks so i'm not always boiling kettle, i will be doing these two things now.

I also wear my dressing gown over my clothes in the house, a cheap fleecy one and it works wonders. Can't insulate my walls as its wood framed so no cavities but need to look into insulating the loft at some point.

I've got one of those heaters you put on the wall, electric and i'm sure it said it only costs a few pennies an hour to use it....i use that everynow and then, like when its snowing!!

bumpertobumper Thu 20-Oct-11 22:37:32

I don't know how much it does cost to run an oil radiator, but wouldn't take notjustme's figures as representitive. They work on a thermostat - click on and off to keep a room constant temp - if two are being used in a shed, ie very draughty and uninsulated, they would be on full tilt all the time so using much more power than they would in your home.
My boiler is broken, wont be fixed for weeks as needs to be replaced (eeek!) and probs with water main needs doing first. I have just borrowed an electric heater to take the edge off bedroom for getting up/going to bed times. I have always been a fan of jumpers and blankets having grown up in a house with no heating and damp.
Key is to get one room warm in the morning and whole family gets dressed in there.

UKSky Thu 20-Oct-11 23:46:50

If you want to add more loft insulation you can buy it on offer through npower at the moment. Don't think you have to be an npower customer. Here's the link:

http://www.npower.com/Home/Energy-efficiency/Home-insulation/DIY-loft-insulation/index.htm

gaelicsheep Fri 21-Oct-11 00:07:48

Regarding storage heaters and those who are scared to turn them on. Sympathies! But I would suggest that you bite the bullet and put them on BEFORE it gets too too cold. If your houses are anything like ours, once they get really really cold it takes weeks to warm up again. I put our storage heaters on very low a couple of days ago - good thing too as it's been sub zero overnight already and we had snow yesterday. sad

Also I highly recommend getting a halogen heater. They heat up a room really quickly and because they glow they make you FEEL warm which is half the battle.

My DD is currently wearing 2 pairs of pyjamas and we're sitting under the sofa duvet. I have a big fleecy dressing gown, and a nice cup of tea.
I like the magnet over the keyhole idea, my door handle is unfortunately not magneticsad, I have a curtain over the front door, and stacks of insulation.

madam52 Fri 21-Oct-11 08:19:25

Apologies if already been said as havent got time to read whole thread but I always use water left in kettle after making a drink for washing up/washing hands/cleaning whatever. Before I run hot tap I always check first theres no hot water in kettle I can use up. Logic is you've already paid to boil that water and then its going to stand there going cold (unless you brew up every ten mins like my dad grin) whereas if you run the hot your paying for boiler to heat more water. Also probably been covered but if you have electric cooker boil up veg potatoes etc an hour before meal then turn off at boiling point and leave on element. They will continue to cook till element cools and then till water cools then just bring back to boil later in day. Saves about ten minutes of having ring on full. Great thread got some good tips on here.

madam52 Fri 21-Oct-11 08:23:50

Sorry - if you run the hot tap. Also above tip also works on gas cookers just without the element of the element confused staying hot.

madam52 Fri 21-Oct-11 08:32:48

Just thought of another one - if you have a big old fashioned hot water cistern in one of your bedrooms - or anywhere in house for that matter - its worth fitting louvre doors to its cupboard instead of solid. Even if its insulated warm air will waft through the gaps and it looks nicer/is safer than just leaving doors open.

[always banging head on things cos doesnt look where she's going emoticon]

Imps7 Fri 21-Oct-11 09:31:38

I have a really thick fleecy scarf that I wear around the house and tuck into the top of my jumper - makes so much difference!

You can buy foil underlay from Wickes for not very much money - it's made a lot of difference to our wooden floor (not original wooden floor - one you fit yourself) - I wonder if it would be possible to pop it under existing carpet too? That would probably help with heat loss through the floor?

This is a very inspirational thread - thanks all.

AblativeAbsolute Fri 21-Oct-11 09:33:34

Can any of you very practical people recommend something I can use to cover my letterbox? It's very odd - quite small, on a very narrow wall, with one side completely flush with the wall - so I don't think one of those brush covers would fit. I'm thinking of something I can glue along the top that will hang down over it, but it needs to be sufficiently heavy to do a proper job of blocking out the draught. And I don't want it to look too rubbish. I'm inordinately crap at all forms of DIY. Any ideas?

brokenwingedflier Fri 21-Oct-11 09:36:31

Ormirian beat me to it, but an early menopause is great for keeping (too) warm and you also save on 'sanitary protection'. (There are downsides)

brokenwingedflier Fri 21-Oct-11 09:39:01

Would someone be kind and link to a curtain and curtain rail that I can hang over my front door? I am very rural and don't drive, so I can't go to look around big shops. I would have to order it. Thank you.

schoolhelp Fri 21-Oct-11 09:54:40

Ablative - untried and untested, but hopefully helpful: possibly velcro on a fleece panel over the letterbox. Light enough to allow usage, yet able to stop draughts.

We always use snake draught excluders in doorways. Discarded school woolly tights stuffed with the same are a good makeshift option. Heavyweight drapes/panels also stop external door draughts.

Dehumidifiers are a cheap way of getting some dry warmth about, as long as temperatures don't drop low enough to stop them working... and dry clothes beautifully too.

Electric blankets are essential in deep winter, add a fleece/quilt under the sheets, remember to turn the blanket down when in bed to avoid overheating.

Over the odd fortnight of seriously wintry weather we've had these last few years, it's cheaper to keep the heating on continuously than the usual cycles.

mama2moo Fri 21-Oct-11 09:57:50

Velcro!!!!!! I have been wondering how to fleece line my curtains but so that I can take it off. Why didnt I think of velcro!

Velcro fleece on your letter box is a great idea.

After reading the comments I think we will have the heating on a constant low when it does get cold enough ie snow!

I am so mad at dp. Just because he has a cold he wanted the heating on last night! I went mad!

schoolhelp Fri 21-Oct-11 10:00:28

Brokenwing here are a couple of drapery arm suppliers:
one and two

Tianc Fri 21-Oct-11 10:42:54

And there are some slightly different designs of drapery arms/portiere rods here, to fit over different types of door frames.

bumperella Fri 21-Oct-11 10:50:43

What would you all say is an acceptable waking-hours room temperature for healthy adults (very broadly, from older teenager to retirement age)? Assuming a sensible approach involving layers and warm jumpers, good health, etc.

Tianc Fri 21-Oct-11 11:04:27

Ablative, if you get a plastic letterbox brush, you may be able to take a sharp knife to it and cut off the end, to allow it to fit against the return wall.

I had to modify mine for a larger than average slot, so I'm reasonably confident this is possible.

Bloodredrubyblue Fri 21-Oct-11 12:24:02

I have dragged my electric steamer out from the back of the cupboard. Last night in twenty minutes I cooked salmon, potatoes and three types of veg with a cupful of water and using one plug socket.

Why have I disregarded that piece of kit? Normally I would have used the oven for the salmon, a pan for the potatoes and another pan for the veg! shock

lottiegb Fri 21-Oct-11 13:01:54

We have central heating but are loathe to put it on yet and when we do, it's a burst in the morning, then evening. We both work at home some of the time and it's the sitting still in front of a computer all day that makes me cold. Poor circulation means I often arrive at the 'hands too cold to type' point (or 'mouse hand' as a colleague called it - it's true, the other one rests more on warm legs!). But daytime heating would be a slippery, expensive slope and, mostly, we resisted last winter (got very cold!) and hope to this.

Things we've done, in a drafty period-single-glazed house, are:
- Fit a draft excluder product around windows and doors (thin spongy stuff, very cheap).
- Fit curtains, with blackout lining throughout, including front and back door. Expensive altogether but not much extra for the thick lining.
- We're adding thicker underfloor insulation (old house with boards and voids beneath). Carpets would help too but style choice and expense is against them, so sticking with rugs.
- We need to look into temporary double-glazing, the plastic kind, for now.

Other thoughts:
- My best Christmas present last year was fleecy-lined slipper-boots, so much warmer than just lots of socks!
- Going out for a run, followed by hot shower keeps me much warmer for an hour or more afterwards.
- Porridge and soup do make a difference. Don't eat cold things.

Oil-filled heaters can be incredibly expensive. I bought one for a room that doesn't have a radiator, as, for a year or two, it's cheaper than fitting one but I did the sums and it guzzles electricity, so could not possibly be left on for more than 3-4 hours a day.

smudge74 Fri 21-Oct-11 13:03:04

Seal up draughty windows with masking tape for the season and any gaps at all in floorboards. That has made the world of difference in our freezing flat! In warmer times we take off the masking tape for ventilation (we too have damp).

MadameWooOOoovary Fri 21-Oct-11 13:21:19

Instead of expensive sheepskin boots, get fake ones and put real sheepskin insoles in with thick socks. I got a few pairs cheap on ebay last year.

lottiegb Fri 21-Oct-11 13:22:25

Two other thoughts:

- construct or place bookshelves, wardrobes and other solid furniture against outside walls, in alcoves or otherwise, they do contribute to insulation.
- merino thermals are often available in half price sales at outdoor shops e.g. Cotswold, sometimes M+S, or on-line. They are good.

moosemama Fri 21-Oct-11 14:20:08

Brokenwing, we have a normal curtain pole above our front door and are just careful about how we close the door, so as not to catch the fabric. Its not perfect but when I looked the riser rods cost a fortune and it is still possible to pull the curtain across and close the door while you are out. That said, the riser rods Tianc linked to look cheaper than others I've seen, so I might well look into getting one to now.

If it helps anyone, I have just bought a complete base layer thermal undies set from Sports Direct for £4.00.

One of the best things we've ever bought was a dehumidifier from B&Q (iirc it was around £70 in the sale). It does cost electricity wise, but the difference it makes to the ambient temperature and feel of the house is incredible, it can change a room from feeling chilly and damp to warm and cosy in under an hour. We tend to use it most in the bedrooms, moving it from room to room and it has really helped with the damp we tend to get on all the outside walls and corners.

We do have central heating, but try to use it as little as possible. We have a portable thermostat though, which means we can set the boiler to go off when whatever room we are in is up to temperature. We also turn all the thermostatic valves off in the upstairs rooms during the day and only heat the living room and kitchen, which is where we spend most our time.

We also have draught excluder round all external doors, brushes on the bottom and then the fabric/stuffed draught excluders as well.

I can also highly recommend doing either the 30 Day Shred or Banish Fat Boost Metabolism work out dvds in the morning to warm you up and keep you warm for most of the day - it honestly takes me hours to cool down after doing them! The dcs also like joining in, so it gets them moving and warmed up as well. grin

Debs75 Fri 21-Oct-11 14:35:58

Am thinkng of turning the hot water off but what would be the best way?
We have a seperate shower which ds and me and dp use most days. DD1 is a pain and only likes baths, about 3 times a week and dd2 and 3 are little so have a bath, again about 3 times a week.
The hot water is on all day jsut to wash pots with, DP is finnicky and will often do 4 loads a day and often just leave them to soak then refill with more hot later. He does as well like to have a bath some days and will soak for a while with it really high.

Should I only switch it on A Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday for DD's baths or have it to fire up every mornng and over tea time? If there is no hot water then they will have to wait for a bath

We were told it takes less gas to have it on all the time then to have it on at set hours but if all it is really on for is to wash pots I would rather boil a kettle

CristinaaarghdellAaarghPizza Fri 21-Oct-11 14:36:44

Ooh have just remembered something - HeatTech clothes from Uniqlo are brilliant (online and if you sign up for their emails, they regularly have free delivery). They are really thin thermal fabric so great for putting on under things that you want to look a bit smarter. Obviously if you're just hanging round the house, you might not care but I thought I'd mention them grin

SuePurblybiltFromBitsofCorpses Fri 21-Oct-11 14:38:45

I have the same dilemma Debs - massive immersion tank thingy run on electricity. No thermostat and it is boiling. It comes on twice a day, no matter what (that's how the timer works, does both am and pm).

I need to work out the same as you: does it take more electricity to fire it up from scratch every second-third day or keep it going all the time?

Debs75 Fri 21-Oct-11 15:13:55

Sue Mine is pretty new, but rubbish, it does have an all day, 24 hours, twice or off setting. ATM it is set at all day so comes on with the heating at 6am and off at 11pm. we also have a seperate immersion tank just to make us more confused.

Pawsnclaws Fri 21-Oct-11 16:49:04

Evening all wink.

Just made myself a cup of coffee with the water I boiled and flasked this morning - it was fine. Washing has been out all day, and it must have been reasonably warm because it's cold but not damp - even the jeans. I try and avoid using the tumble dryer too much, but I do have the spin cycle on the washing machine quite high.

Couple of ideas:

- don't forget if you're cooking with pans to use lids. I've just cooked pasta in pre-boiled water, keep the lid on and it will cook without extra heat.

- just been in Boots and they have nice hot water bottles with covers £12.99 or in Matalan for £6 (also with covers) - Matalan also had some good furry fleece blankets. Matalan was boiling hot actually so if desperate to escape the cold, get in there! Also try Wilkinsons for cushions, throws and hot water bottles - ours was out of stock of covers for hot water bottles but you can order them online for delivery to the shop.

- look on moneysavingexpert for other tips on energy saving, there is usually a thread on there.

Stay warm, people!

Pawsnclaws Fri 21-Oct-11 16:50:21

Oh and one last thing - I was in Blacks (outdoor shop) yesterday and they have merino base layers, long sleeved, 2 for £70. Bit out of my price range but thought I would mention it.

Pawsnclaws Fri 21-Oct-11 17:39:19

Me again. Can't stay away smile.

Uniqlo stuff looks great, have just ordered some long sleeved tops. If you sign up for the newsletter you get a £5 off discount code - it's FIRST if you're interested.

mousyfledermaus Fri 21-Oct-11 17:53:06

also (italians look away now), you can put the pasta or rice into cold water and bring to the boil together. saves time and energy.
it might akdo be worth it looking at the enetgy cost of the microwave.

Bienchen Fri 21-Oct-11 17:58:07

Quick tip re drying washing for wet and cold weather. I do two lots of washing at home (slow cycle, low temp if possible). I use Nappisan to deal with germ issue on work clothes. I then take the washing to local laundrette where for anything between £1 and £1.40 both lots get dried (ont tumble dryer load). I usually just go for £1 and anything still a bit damp gets dried at home. Works well if you have a washing machine that spins fast (at least 1200 rpm, 1400rpm or more is fab).

Tianc Fri 21-Oct-11 18:01:16

All the time your hot water tank is above room temperature, it is losing heat to that surrounding air (nice and slowly, if it's well insulated).

If you just switch the tank on when you need it, then after your bath/shower the tank will contain a little left over hot water and all the new cold water. It will slowly lose any remaining heat to the room, but that amount will be small.

So you've only expended Energy-to-Heat-One-Tankful-From-Cold.

If you leave your tank on all the time, it will be losing heat all the time. So it will expend Energy-to-Heat-One-Tankful-From-Cold + Energy-Lost-to-Room.

Ie use more energy.

If you don't mind having your hot water tank double up as a slow radiator 24/7, eg to create an airing cupboard, by all means leave it on. But this certainly uses more energy than to heat from cold each time.

SuePurblybiltFromBitsofCorpses Fri 21-Oct-11 18:04:47

For pasta and rice I boil a kettle, put boiling water and pasta in a saucepan, bring to the boil again and then turn off the electric ring. With the lid on the pan, it generally cooks with no more heat.

Thank you Tianc. I think I will start to turn mine off every second day. For one thing, because i can't control the heat, it's generally plenty hot the second day if I do.

SockMunkee Fri 21-Oct-11 18:12:26

I am another one who cant afford to put the heating on much. I have a fleecy blanket, curtains are closed and I have a door curtain. I am a single parent on a low wage and not eligible for any help, I have asthma and the cold air makes me wheeze sometimes but I cant afford the high bills.
I really believe that the government is out of touch with real life and they have no idea whatsoever how hard it is.

ravenc Fri 21-Oct-11 19:03:40

after putting 30 pound on my prepayment gas meter this week i am going to try some of these ideas, have stopped putting heating on during the day, left oven door open earlier kitchen was lovely and warm. We have all the insulation cavity and loft,loads of blankets and fleece pjs and socks, i have used tumble dryer but i am trying to cut down. Have programmed heating timer for an hour in morning and 40 mins on a night and see how that goes. I am going to try only washing up twice a day to stop running water as much, lots of use full tips on this thread to try. We both work but are a low income family we do not get any help, im with you sockmunkee lots of people are suffering this year nothing seems to be getting any better.

superdragonmama Fri 21-Oct-11 19:24:34

Love the ideas on this thread!

This is what I did last winter, on tiny budget, which made huge difference to a very cold and draughty front room, and hall, in 100 year old terrace. House is sooo much warmer and cosier now smile

* put newpaper then an old pillow up the chimney ( can't afford to line chimney/buy log burning stove - tis on my Wish List!) stopped howling gales coming down Santa's Special Passage.

* papered the front wall (only outside wall in this room) with that thick polystyrene wallpaper. As only have single thickness of brick because it's an old house, this made big, big difference. Before this there always seemed to be a dampish coldness coming from this wall, now it's almost warm to touch even on a cold day.

* used that wonderful plastic film on the draughty bay window. What a difference! I am a hopeless DIY-er but this was incredibly easy to stick on, followed by a fabulous magic transformation when you heat up the crinkly plastic with a hairdryer and it flattens out so it's clear like glass. Loved it! I bought 2 packs from Wickes for only £13 total bargain.

* put up curtains at front and back doors, another huge difference. Used 2 very cheap black metal poles (from Ikea), easy to put up above the door frame, and you can carefully pull them into place when you leave the house. Bought the curtains from charity shop for £20: a pair of lined and interlined velvet curtains: one curtain per door. An ugly brown, but fantastically cheap, and what a change to the warmth in the house.

* used rolled up elderly towels across the bottoms of the outside doors.

Am going to try the velcro'd on letterbox cover. Can I suggest weighting your cover fabric at the lower edge? Maybe make a simple folded channel and put something heavyish into it? - eg, a metal rod of some sort, or coins, anything with a bit of weight to stop your fabric blowing up and not settling back down.

Off for warming wine - tis nearly the season to mull smile - how warming is that!

moosemama Fri 21-Oct-11 20:29:22

superdragonmama, that's interesting about the polystyrene wallpaper. I was just discussing with dh whether it would help if we papered the corner of our hall with it as its forever getting condensated and damp. Where did you get it from, if you don't mind me asking? Oh - and does it get dented easily?

We have a roll-end of wadding left over from insulating our campervan stuffed up our living room chimney! grin

gaelicsheep Fri 21-Oct-11 22:12:35

Someone asked about minimum acceptable temperature. I would say 15-16 degrees is the minimum required for comfort, with jumpers and slippers thrown in. We used to struggle to heat our house to 14 degrees and when you get below that level you find you're shivering all the time and it is plain uncomfortable - also very tiring. If others are more hardy respect to you.

Re oil radiators - ALL electric heaters are expensive to run if your rooms are not well insulated. I can't sing the praises of good insulation enough. We used to find the heat leaked out of the bedroom as quickly as it was generated so of course it was really expensive. You would literally have a 2kW heater on full power almost continually trying to keep the temperature at an acceptable level. Since having extra roof insulation the heat builds up instead and after the initial warming up phase we can turn the heater down to absolute minimum and it keeps the room toasty with minimal use of power.

superdragonmama Fri 21-Oct-11 22:14:12

Hi Moose,

I bought the polystyrene wallpaper from local diy place, but have seen it in big chains too. Also, someone further up the thread gave a link to an online supplier, if you fancy a search smile

Don't know if this would tackle a damp corner though; guess it depends on why that corner is getting damp? (not a diy'er at all! sorry)

Ours is behind a sofa so can't be seen - doesn't appear dented yet though. I papered over the top of it with lining paper and it looks fine so far. And sooo warm grin

LynetteScavo England Fri 21-Oct-11 22:14:44

I feel the cold, especially when I'm tired, and buckle at 16'C. The DC, though can take it a lot colder. I've known them wander around the house in nothing but a t-shirt on top, when I can see their breath. confused

superdragonmama Fri 21-Oct-11 22:16:48

gaelicsheep, agree totally re insulating, makes such a big difference.

Also find that good draughtproofing makes huge difference to how comfortable you feel when you're sitting quietly - nothing like a chilly wind round your nethers to make you feel uncomfortable!

gaelicsheep Fri 21-Oct-11 22:32:16

But you know, this is what makes my blood boil. Insulating is absolutely the key. But much of the housing stock in this country - including ours - has solid walls. And there are no grants available for insultation to solid walls despite the huge benefits it brings. We are trying to insulate our place bit by bit when we can afford it. Basically whenever the plasterboard comes off it doesn't go back without rockwool behind it. The roof was done when we scraped together the money to get habitable bedrooms upstairs (before that we were all sleeping in one room downstairs).

I gather the reason that there are no grants for insulating solid walled houses is because it's expensive, but that's why people need help even more! It's like living in topsy turvy world in this country sometimes!

AngelDog Fri 21-Oct-11 22:36:16

Our living room was 13-14 degrees this evening and my 22 m.o. was running round with bare legs. I didn't find it too cold but I'd been cooking. The dehumidifier had been going though and we don't have many draughts.

A few more tips occurred to me:

* if you get cold arms at night (esp if you co-sleep / bf at night) then wrist warmers made from knee high socks with the toes cut out are brilliant if you tuck the ends of your PJ sleeves into them. I was so much warmer last night after doing that! smile

* plan activities for the right time. So do your washing before you start cooking so you can hang it up around the cooking heat. Put out the bins & recycling before putting on the heating on, rather than opening the door once things have got a bit warmer.

* try using a shorter washing machine cycle to freshen up not-too-dirty clothes to save energy.

* hang used but not-too-dirty clothes in a draught so they air off - means you don't have to wash them again so quickly and you don't have so much drying to do.

* irrespective of potty training status, fleece trousers are great for DC - keeps them warm and they're really quick to dry after washing, saving on heating then. There are patterns on the web if you google - I think they're pretty easy to make.

Anyone got ideas as to how to insulate the cupboard in the eaves of the loft bedroom? The door opens right onto the bed where my toddler sleeps. It was only put in 3 years ago but there seems to be quite a draught.

learningtofly Fri 21-Oct-11 22:40:04

With regards to the acceptable temperature of a room in the dark corner of my memory I recall at school we had a classroom that had very little heating and three outside walls. The temperature regularly dropped to 12,degrees c. At the time it was illegal for classroom temperatures to drop below 14 degrees c and we weren't supposed to have lessons in there.

superdragonmama Fri 21-Oct-11 22:40:13

Totally agree gaelicsheep.

DH is v disabled and we applied for grants last year to insulate our house. Solid walls, v v cold to touch, heat flows straight out through them in the cold weather. We were offered draughtproofing for 2 external doors - already draughtproofed! - and loft insulation - loft already insulated. But nothing for the major problem: the cold walls. Ridiculous.

AblativeAbsolute Fri 21-Oct-11 22:44:30

I think the minimum acceptable temperature varies hugely, not only according to the individual, but also what you're doing. The temperature downstairs today was 16, and that was ok (plenty of layers, lots of moving about, plus a 'how many times can you hop, mummy?' session, which worked wonders grin). And during the night I'm happy for it to go as low as 12-14 in the bedroom, as long as I'm under the winter weight duvet in warm PJs. But sitting here now, with the living room at 18.5 (thanks to the woodburner), I'm freezing, because I've been sitting still all evening.

Finally cracked and set the heating to come on tomorrow morning. It's mainly the washing that's done it - I've got piles of the stuff (two children under 5!), and it's taking about 3 days to dry ATM. Also, I just hate wrapping the kids in damp towels after their baths.

Random question for those with logburners - what do you do with the ash? I've heard you can put it on the garden, but I've only got one patch of actual flowerbed, about 8 feet square, and I'm not sure how much ash it can take!! Do I just bin the rest?

Also, thanks for the letterbox cover suggestions. I shall get myself some fleecy stuff, velcro and a couple of weights - I'm officially the worst sewer in the world, but I'm sure even I can cobble something together!

moosemama Fri 21-Oct-11 22:50:05

Thanks superdragonmama. I will have a quick search of the thread and see if I can find the link. I reckon its worth a try, at least we can remove it again if it doesn't work.

As far as we can tell, the only reason it gets damp/mouldy is because of the condensation caused by it being an outer corner with single rather than cavity walls.

Annoyingly we have an unusual shaped roof with two peaks that aren't accessible for insulation purposes. Both are above the two biggest bedrooms and as a result we get condensation on the ceiling directly under both areas and again the black mould. We can't manage without the dehumidfier in winter or the mould just takes over. Not sure we could use the polystyrene stuff there though, as the ceiling is curved and had corner beams.

gaelicsheep Fri 21-Oct-11 22:53:14

Also regarding minimum temperature, I think it also depends on how sustained it is. 13-14 degrees is fine if you eventually get a chance to warm up. But if you are in that temperature all day long, can't get warmer and it only gets colder at night, then you're in trouble.

Our old house was freezing. It cost us a fortune running storage heaters to achieve double figures in temperature. DH ended up going out for the day with DS - to libraries, shops, anywhere free that was warm. For an entire winter that is a miserable existence and I really feel for anyone in that position today. sad

superdragonmama Fri 21-Oct-11 23:04:32

Also, some people are far more vulnerable to very cold temperatures than others - small children, older people, some disabled people; for instance, DH has severe emphysema and needs a stable, reasonably warm background temperature, which takes a huge proportion of our small budget.

13-14 degrees would be far too cold for DH, for instance. We need to maintain around 19-20 degrees, hence great need for good insulation and draughtproofing, etc. to keep our bills as low as poss by losing as little heat as poss.

I think it's sad that so many people, including us, are having to struggle to achieve what I'd consider to be one of the basics of life, ie a reasonably warm house to live in.

vividgingerchilli Fri 21-Oct-11 23:15:10

what is the recommended temperature for people with asthma?

brokenwingedflier Fri 21-Oct-11 23:47:01

Thank you, schoolhelp. xx

Tianc Sat 22-Oct-11 00:14:05

AngelDog, treat the cupboard door as an external door and stick draught-stripping round it.

Also consider putting insulation on the back of the door (could be proper Celotex rigid board, loft insulation in a bin bag or just an old quilt). You might also want to check the quality of the insulation of the walls/ceiling of the loft bedroom, if you can see into the eaves.

im taking note can not do anything with this house as rented .no storage tank for hotwater infact you need run hot tap for 5 minutes to get hotwater !!

but will be doing alot of these in my new house .

Though hmm anyone ideas how to deal with the fact i will have a big hole in my frontroom up going to my bedroom( lift shaft) or am i just going have to put up with it .

cold emotion

Oh and was told for someone who is not active for what ever reason 20c is the best tempture .mines 12c waiting for LL to get back from his holiday to fix the boiler again !!! but i am on count down to move grin

AngelDog Sat 22-Oct-11 08:19:35

Ah, insulation on the back of the loft door is a good idea, Tianc - thanks.

I've got my draught-strip ready to put on today. smile

AngelDog Sat 22-Oct-11 08:48:36

Regularly descaling your kettle will make it more efficient and use less energy to boil the water.

I use the cheapest malt vinegar which costs 13p a bottle from Sainsbury's. After descaling I pour it back into the bottle and re-use for descaling the kettle until it gets lots of limescale in it.

Works much better than those expensive smelly chemical-y descalers you can buy. smile

VikingBlood Sat 22-Oct-11 08:49:43

catapult not sure if it's a lift in use or not. If it isn't you could just block it off with a piece of OSB. If it's in use maybe make a hatch with something light like plywood or even big cardboard boxes sell taped together that can be lifted/folded when the lift is needed?

Yes Viking it be in use will be my access to upstairs in new house .hmm trouble is I may need one of Ds to reach I'm knee high to a sparrows fartgrin

Definitely think that will be my main heat loss from the lounge

LynetteScavo England Sat 22-Oct-11 09:22:40

Aren't grants still available for insulation?

I'm sure we got a grant a couple of years ago, and had it fitted for us cheaper than it would have been to fit it ourselves.

vividgingerchilli Sat 22-Oct-11 09:34:31

We got a grant for it to be done this summer, we got a radiator fitted in the bathroom as well. i think the scheme has ended now though.

vividgingerchilli Sat 22-Oct-11 09:36:08

we get damp/black mould above the bathroom window, any ideas how to prevent it? We don't get it anywhere else.

Decorhate Sat 22-Oct-11 09:47:07

Has anyone suggested selling your computers, phones & other gadgets, stopping broadband, etc & spending the money on heating? Or is that too 20th century?

StewieGriffinsMom Sat 22-Oct-11 10:13:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moosemama Sat 22-Oct-11 11:04:03

Decorhate, why come on the thread just be deliberately confrontational?

You don't know people's situations - or what gadgets they have, so are not in a position to judge.

For example, in our case, the computer and broadband is required for dh's work, I have his old-broken laptop, which is years old and very shonky, to use and I do have a mobile phone, so the school can contact me in an emergency if I am not home, as I have a child with SNs, but its a very basic pay as you go that I've had for years and I never use any of the credit.

How do you suggest we could save money there then?

If you had bothered to read the thread, you would see that some people are in rented accommodation with little or no heating, others have antiquated heating systems that cost a fortune to run and there's nothing they can do about that if they're in rented accommodation.

Things are not always as black and white as you think.

Decorhate Sat 22-Oct-11 12:29:51

I am just pointing out that many things are regarded as essentials nowadays which use up a fair proportion of people's disposable income. These were either not common or not invented 40 years ago and by and large people managed without them Having grown up in a cold house, I regard heating as a welcome luxury and would go without lots of things to be able to keep the heating going. I can remember dragging pallets home to burn & even burning furniture... Will shuffle off now [old gimmer emoticon]

Debs75 Sat 22-Oct-11 13:16:58

decorhate A huge problem a lot of people are facing is heat leaking out of our houses. If they had the disposable income to spend £100+ a month on heating their leaky houses then they probably would. The leaks still need addressing and some of us don't own our own homes so can't have insulation grants. Or we are in rented accommodation and have LL who won't do anything about it.
We are luckier as we are in council accommodation and we have had double glazing and central heating put in. The glazing is shoddily done with gaps in the plaster surrounding the windows, our external doors are draughty and the central heating is set high to offset the radiator covers which they put on. We are waiting for loft insulation but they will only put the bare minimum in so we will still lose heat.
And some people might not want to spend their hard earned cash on heating the outside world, lining the fat cat energy bosses and using up precious resources. They might want to find a way to save the energy thus saving money and staying warm

Debs75 Sat 22-Oct-11 13:19:17

Back to tips.
If you have a condenser dryer, and can afford to run it, use the hot water in the tank to fill up hot water bottles. The water in mine just gets poured down the sink and it is pretty hot so DC's are getting hot water bottles for their beds and it can go to some good

smokinaces Sat 22-Oct-11 13:29:30

Ha ha at selling stuff. The majority of us too broke for much heating also have nothing to sell. My mobile is a freebie from Vodafone on minimum a month, my broadband free from sky on minimum tv package, laptop four years old and on its last legs. Id be lucky to get afiver for it.

There are people out there who have the bare essentials, earn their wages and still have not enough to cover rising food and heating bills. Until you have been in that situation you have no idea.

Decorhate Sat 22-Oct-11 13:57:18

What makes you think I have no idea? Even if it's a small amount, any Sky or mobile phone package is costing something, which could be spent in an alternative way. And mobiles, Sky, etc ARE luxuries, though many people seem to regard them as essential hmm I appreciate people have different priorities in terms of what they spend their money. I'm just pointing out that there are other ways to save money and if people are in the dire situations they claim to be in, surely those are equally valid tips as those about insulation?

Decor

That's very good now hmm how do you suggest I go out and do my shopping ? Ir access support groups

Or how my son will do his homework . I rely on the Internet I can not physically just pop to the shop or check my bank balance from the bank machine

Odd times I go out myonile is a necessity I get a flat wheel or worse tip out I'm going to need call someone to come help

Pawsnclaws Sat 22-Oct-11 15:39:12

decor of course it is right that people have to choose priorities, but to be honest there is very little to be made out of a PAYG phone and an elderly PC which is what many people get by on. I pay for my elderly parents to have a mobile each and I pay their broadband for my old computer - and considering my "new" computer is six years old you can imagine the old one is ancient and pretty worthless.

I pay it because I worry about my parents being socially isolated. They have a car but are struggling to keep it on the road due to the extra costs.

I'm very far from the breadline, but I've been humbled by some of the stories on this thread - and I've seen no self pity, just people asking for advice.

littlemisssarcastic Sat 22-Oct-11 16:11:00

I kind of see where you are coming from decorhate, it is about priorities, yes, but in many peoples cases, an extra £15 a week going on heating wont make much difference if the house is not insulated adequately, or is damp, or has cracks in the walls, or insufficient draughtproofing, or an ineffective heating system, which will take years and years of being cold and having no luxuries whatsoever to save up to replace (bearing in mind that inflation doesn't increase in that time which in all probabilities it would).

To demonstrate my point a little further, alot of pensioners I know do not have sky tv, mobiles phones, broadband or a computer full stop. They don't have a quilt, don't drink or smoke, rarely go out and struggle every week to make ends meet...yet they still find heating too expensive. So the point should be that heating is too expensive and houses are not insulated well enough or have a good enough heating system imo.

You wouldn't save enough by cancelling broadband/sky/mobile phone to make much of a difference at all to alot of people. Heating is just too expensive for that.

GalloweesG Sat 22-Oct-11 16:34:07

Also technology just keeps reducing in price while fuel keeps increasing. Broadband speeds get better and faster while also getting cheaper. Fuel just keeps going up disproportionately to the wholesale price of fuel. Competition within the technological arena is keeping prices low whereas the energy companies appear to have a cartel.

I sort of agree with your sentiments Decorhate but I think you picked the wrong example of a dispensable necessity.

Tianc Sat 22-Oct-11 16:39:49

TheHumanCatapult, lift to bedroom. Hmm.

Will you have the opportunity to discuss it with the people doing the conversion, as they must have seen this problem before? And maybe the lift will have built-in flaps, to make the bedroom floor safe for children?

But suggestions straight off the top of my head:
• raise the lift platform when you've used it, so it largely fills the gaping hole
• make up-opening trapdoors for the bedroom floor, with dangling ropes so they can be pulled to from below, and a window pole to shove them open from below when needed
• long thick curtains on a ceiling mounted track, in either the downstairs room or the bedroom or both
• combination of curtains and rigid plasterboard "lift shaft"

It's really hard to know without seeing the exact installation you're getting, isn't it? There's all the machinery and the possibility of ropes snarling to consider. Come to that, if it's the sort of wheelchair lift shops use, where you have to keep the button depressed, you could perhaps pause below ceiling level to open/close a hatch?

Good luck with all this – is a new house now in sight?

Ty

Yep I should move in end of January grin

From what I gather the Walls are half height don't think there's even ceiling to it . So may need to leave in the up position to stop one if little 2 coming through

Hmm

AblativeAbsolute Sat 22-Oct-11 19:05:29

Ok, can I ask a really stupid question? When you're talking about insulating doors, which bits are you talking about? Do you mean the bits around the outside of the door frame? Or do you mean the gaps around the door itself? And if the latter, then how do you insulate them while still allowing the door to open (other than the gap at the bottom - I've got that one now grin)? Thanks!

smokinaces Sat 22-Oct-11 20:30:56

And mobiles, Sky, etc ARE luxuries, though many people seem to regard them as essential

Yes, the are a luxury if you dont rely on them for work. But many people nowadays do. And if you dont have them, you cant fulfil your job, therefore you dont get paid, and then you're worse off.

Believe me I know there are some people who do choose to spend money on cigarettes and alcohol, £45 a month mobile contracts etc over heating, and yes I do agree they could maybe reprioritise. But the vast majority of people here on this thread arent like that.

and I'm sorry, but there are a lot of people who dont have a clue what it is like to have to choose one bill over another. What its like to have £7 to split between petrol, gas and food for 3 days. To have to save up just for £15 a year football subs.

I didnt used to. I could envisage it was hard, but I could put the heating on when I wanted. I could pay a bill when it came in. I could fill my car with petrol to the top and not even blink about how much was in my account. I knew nothing about strict budgetting.

Now every single penny counts. And it is such a stress to spend everyday on edge as you are literally budgetted to the last 5p. Just something like driving over glass and puncturing your tyre can be so stressful - I get part worn as cheap as I can yet its still £20 which is a massive part of a weekly budget here.

So yes, some days I have to choose over 2 pints of milk or £1 on my gas if something shit has happened. Or raid the 2p jar just for a loaf of bread.

Tianc Sat 22-Oct-11 20:38:40

OK, several things there, Ablative.

1) The outside of the door frame should not need insulating and there should be no air flowing between frame and wall. It should be sealed to the masonry of the walls with mortar, sprayfoam, decorator's caulk or the like. However, if a bad installation job is done, it's possible there are gaps. This is actually common with replacement windows, where the glass is double-glazed and lovely but you can see three counties through gap between wall and frame. If you have that problem, fix it with the aforementioned mortar, sprayfoam, decorator's caulk, etc.

2) Gaps around the door itself. This the main bit to tackle. As you say, these allow the door to open. So you have to use draught-strips which compress as the door closes onto them, forming a seal like your fridge door. Different types include:
stick on foam
stick on E profile rubber
stick on P profile rubber
V-shape
brushes
nailed on external aluminium and rubber
Assess what will be best for your door, and try to envisage what paths the cold air is taking to get round the door (sometimes it can be indirect). Similar products are available at B&Q, etc, and Stormguard also have more types of seal if the above don't do it for you.

3) Insulating doors. Ie, sticking or stapling insulation board or bags of rock wool to them. Ugly and drastic, but perfectly good solution for doors of cupboards which have vents to the outside (eaves, understairs, etc).

Stopping draughts is going to be the cheapest and least fiddly gain, and unless your house is already really well sealed will probably also be the largest gain.

<applies to Mastermind with specialist subject Making Old Houses Heat Efficient>

Pawsnclaws Sat 22-Oct-11 21:02:12

smokinaces my heart goes out to you sad.

Tianc Sat 22-Oct-11 21:07:30

Oh smokinaces sad

BoffinMum Sat 22-Oct-11 21:12:36

sorry to hear that, smokinaces. I hope things look up for you soon. <sneaky hug>

smokinaces Sat 22-Oct-11 22:10:48

Honestly, its not so bad at the moment. The ex is due to pay me some CM arrears this week coming which will clear my credit card. The car has passed its MOT. I have a new job which is term time only so have saved childcare money. And I won £200 of John Lewis vouchers from Mumsnet which have already 3/4 gone on Christmas and birthday presents for the family so I dont even need to get in debt with that. grin And my wonderful friend and her fabulous teenage sons are giving us their unwanted DSs really cheap for my sons' main Christmas presents. So I am genuinely ok at the moment.

I was pointing out though, that not everyone on Mumsnet is well off. I have been in worse situations than now - been made homeless in the past and left by the ex in £3k of debt - but for now (touch wood) everything is working out ok and its not too much of a struggle. I am breaking even, and the car is behaving!

In relative terms I work 25 hours a week for £700 a month. My childcare is £440 a month. I get tax credits, and a little housing benefit (thank god for council housing) but this is how some of us live. We arent wasting our money on luxuries. We have 10 year+ old appliances, we eat Asda smartprice food, we budget hard.

But I have 2 wonderful children, a good job, and enough money at the moment to be able to go and buy the odd bottle of wine at the moment. grin I just miss the days where I earnt £2500 a month and had so much disposable income I never even needed to check my bank balance!

gaelicsheep Sat 22-Oct-11 22:22:32

In response to some of the comments today I would say that
a) decorhate - your comments sound just like the mealy words of the Govt and the energy saving "tips" of the power companies. Comparable with advising us to turn off lights when the actual problem is that we are shelling out £150 a month heating the house (two storage heaters and portables).
b) insulation grants are not, and to my knowledge never have been, available for solid wall insulation. The whole concept of grants is flawed anyway. If you can afford to pay 50%, 75%, whatever then you have a chance of paying the whole whack. Many people will never be able to afford to match the grant. Yet another example of "to those who have more will be given".
c) when you are potentially snowed in for days on end and you live in an isolated rural community, the internet is actually pretty darned essential in this day and age.
d) why exactly SHOULD people who are working their socks off have to do without absolutely everything - not luxuries, just the things that make life more bearable - in order to line the pockets of the power companies?

InsomniaQueen Sat 22-Oct-11 22:38:39

This has possibly already been mentioned but the best thing I have done in my 1950s cement property with single glazing is to buy a HUGE sheet of bubble wrap, think of the stuff you get on new appliances ect and tape this to the windows. One side of my living room is windows and PVC glazing which obviously let's lots of heat out. I just tapped the entire thing up, floor to ceiling ensuring that there were no gaps. The plastic let's the light in but it keeps the heat in - there was a noticeable couple of degrees difference once it went up. I used masking tape which kept it up until march when I was ready to remove it and it is still perfectly good and will be going up again next weekend.

Also if you can't afford to buy which I think many on the thread possibly can't then I would recumbent going to a large hardware retailer - they often have big packages which arrive and are done up in bubble wrap, some will let you have it for nothing as it simply goes in their skip anyway.

Another thing my cousin suggested was sharing beds, obviously this is not practical for everyone but last winter her two 'top and tailed' to give each other that little bit of extra warmth.

My mum suggested going round to someone else's for dinner or to stay. One family/couple cooks or acts as host while the other comes for food or to stay and then you swap over. Again not practical for everyone but you can save on a couple of nights by only heating one house at a time/using one cooker or oven between you and making sure it is done equally between you.

Not really sure what else to offer - hope some of it has been useful.

garlicBreathZombie Sat 22-Oct-11 22:38:44

I haven't read ANY of this thread and don't know whether OP's still here. Your suppliers won't leave you unsupplied, they'll put in PAYG meters. That's what I've got. It's more expensive, but does mean you can stick a fiver on it as often as possible and this is better than not being able to pay a £250 bill in January.

Depending on what benefits you get, you might get £25 a week when it stays below freezing for the whole week. Mine come up for review at the turn of the year, so I go back onto minimum payments then (thanks, ATOS) so I put as much as possible on the meters before Christmas.

I'm a very un-British cold wuss, so I start 'training' myself in October by turning the heating down by 1 degree every two weeks. By the really cold weather, I should be okay at 17deg during the day and 12 at night. You shouldn't have it below 13 with small children or immune-compromised people, really, at any time.

Leave the heating on and use the programmer to alter the settings to suit your life. Even with up-to-the-minute, efficient boilers, it takes more fuel to heat a house up from freezing than to keep it ticking over (and it feels nicer! Bonus!) If your heating's inefficient, this is even more important.

Insulate. I'm plastering that silver padding stuff (on offer from Wickes) around all the cold spots, and bugger how it looks. If you haven't got double glazing, use that cling-film stuff (also from Wickes) that tightens round the windows with a hairdryer. If you haven't got thick curtains, pad them with blankets (attach them to the back of the curtain with safety pins.)

This house hasn't got proper floors on the ground floor so, last year, I layered blankets and rugs in the living room. I bought them from charity shops.

You will need to use hot water bottles, blankets, duvets, furry socks and layers. Even muffled up, I feel the cold on my face and hands but at 16/17 degrees I'm okay with the layers and socks. Drink hot drinks, it helps.

Everyone's priorities are different but I sacrifice food quality for fuel. In the winter, I live on rice, pasta and lentils made into samey, but satisfying, meals with mince. I use the slow cooker and microwave a lot as my cooker isn't that fuel-efficient, whereas small appliances are.

Run around a lot and keep reminding yourself the summer will come!

gaelicsheep Sat 22-Oct-11 22:45:46

Good tips. The other thing we did in the past was to just close off half the house. So we basically moved downstairs and all slept in the one room. This ended up lasting for 18 months as we couldn't bear to move back to the arctic upstairs again even in summer!

fantastic thread. smokinaces, your 20:30 post is exactly, well, me. identical in every detail. You are all an inspiration smile

AblativeAbsolute Sat 22-Oct-11 22:48:05

Oooohhh, ok, thanks Tianc <lightbulb goes on in Ablative's brain>. I think I am beginning to understand now. Must get some of this stuff for my pesky door (internal door between well-insulated house and badly-insulated freezing cold porch).

Ok, question two. That cling film glass stuff: can I fit it to multi-paned glass? The same pesky door referred to above is a glass door divided up into a number of individual single-glazed panes (one big rectangle in the middle with smaller rectangles around, separated by thin frames). Am I correct in my assumption that it would be the very devil of a job to fit the cling film to each individual pane? (In which case I guess the answer would be a curtain, though I'm not terribly keen TBH.)

And third question(s): is it worth fitting the cling film to already double-glazed glass, and can you still open the windows afterwards? My north-facing kitchen has bare windows along the whole room. Would be quite tricky to fit blinds or curtains, and in any case the room really needs the light, so you'd want them open most of the time anyway (plus I suspect they'd get quite grimy in a kitchen). Would it be worth fitting the cling film to these windows? (the kitchen is freezing)

Thank you, oh knowledgeable ones.

garlicBreathZombie Sat 22-Oct-11 22:52:58

No, you can't open the windows. Yes, you can fit it over mini-panes - just stick it to the outer edges of the frame. It won't work if you stick it to every pane, as the point is to cover all gaps! You take it off in the Spring.

Overcome your curtain aversion. There's a reason why Victorians loved curtains and draught-excluders - and most of us are living in houses they built!

oksonowwhat Sat 22-Oct-11 22:57:32

Someone said that the fuel companies won't leave us without heating but will put in a pay meter.....Well mine are threatening to do that, which would be ok but they want to charge me £240 to do it to gain access! I've emailed them and said to just come and do it but they are not answering me! I owe the whole of last quarters fuel bill plus £100 from the previous quarters. Don't know where the money is coming from. I am also worried that they will do big charges on the meter if/when i eventually get one, so that i pay £20 but only, say, get £2.00 of electric from that. I know its my fault cos i owe money but i just never have money for the fuel bill anymore..... I'm doing all the heating tricks from this thread and did them last year aswell but i still find the bill adds up to far too much!!

garlicBreathZombie Sat 22-Oct-11 23:00:30

They will load your meter charges to cover the arrears. Sounds like you need an advocate to make them keep your 'charges' to a minimum and spread your arrears over the longest time. Try the CAB. I didn't pay to get the meters put in, I could hardly keep them away!!

oksonowwhat Sat 22-Oct-11 23:05:07

By an advocate do you mean CAB will talk to them on my behalf? God that would be brilliant! I'm terrified of getting that extra cost added, but also worried about the extra charge they will load onto my meter. But theres no way round it i need to go onto a meter it will stop this bill that nearly kills me each quarter! Thanks for your reply

garlicBreathZombie Sat 22-Oct-11 23:06:39

gaelicsheep, loved your post about cuddling up together downstairs!

When I was a child, we used to top-and-tail AND get dressed & undressed in bed. That's a bit grim for grown-ups, but kids don't mind.

gaelicsheep Sat 22-Oct-11 23:07:49

I can't get over the difference in approaches here. We got into arrears in our previous property because I KNEW we weren't paying enough and phoned them many times to ask to increase the direct debit and they insisted the payment was OK. Low and behold we ended up owing them nearly £1000. BUT it just got carried over when we moved and they upped the direct debit to start clawing it back. They still weren't going to set it high enough - I asked for it to be higher.

I think part of this is that the power companies themselves don't appreciate the cost of running storage heaters, so when I told them we needed to pay £120 a month they laughed it off. The estimated bills we used to get were totally laughable compared with the reality of our usage.

We are finally close to clearing the debt, 4 years on. But the point of this ramble is that I simply can't believe how badly other people are treated. sad

garlicBreathZombie Sat 22-Oct-11 23:08:32

I believe they will smile Make an appt asap and get all your bills, banks statements and such together for them Also tell your provider you're talking with the CAB. I bet you anything, as soon as you've got a case reference they'll drop all those stupid charges.

garlicBreathZombie Sat 22-Oct-11 23:09:06

sorry, xpost. was to oksonow.

gaelicsheep Sat 22-Oct-11 23:09:22

grin garlicbreathZombie. I am just so so grateful to finally live in a reasonably comfortable house, all things told. Really feeling for people here. sad

smokinaces Sat 22-Oct-11 23:22:32

You dont have to go on a keymeter. I used to pay weekly, on a payment card. They put an amount in place (like £20 a week) which was to pay 50% of arrears, 50% towards new bill. It took a while, but with weekly regular payments the debt came down and I paid off the next bill. I didnt have to go to key meter, but I had to keep to the payment plan. They are like plastic credit cards you can pay on at any PayPoint shop.

I use a keymeter now, and am happy with that, but it was in when I moved here.

oksonowwhat Sat 22-Oct-11 23:47:00

Thank you garlicbreath and also smokin for your info. Gaelic, mine are storage heaters too and the fuel companies just don't realise what a money burner they are! I see what you mean, if they know i'm talking to CAB they might hold back abit. Thanks.

gaelicsheep Sat 22-Oct-11 23:56:25

Strangely enough I don't actually mind the storage heaters now because although they're expensive the place is actually comfortable these days. We even reached 18 degrees one day last winter when it was minus 15 outside. Nothing short of miraculous. We've come a long way from the days when I spent every winter with chilblains on every toe and shivered my way through the evening with three jumpers on.

At least we're not reliant on oil like some of our neighbours, who ran out and couldn't get deliveries because of the snow.

Just thought of something else that may not have been mentioned and that's a portable calor gas heater. If you're lucky you may find someone who has one in the garage to give away (we did) and although the cylinders are expensive they're a useful fallback in a power cut or in particularly cold weather.

gaelicsheep Sun 23-Oct-11 00:02:08

Once again on the subject of storage heaters, I would urge people to make sure they're using them properly. It's amazing how many people don't know how to use them, and the power companies are often clueless too.

If you are ever able to replace them it is worth it - might even be worth approaching a good landlord about this. We got into debt with one of the ancient ones that totally eats electricity and gives very little in return. We now have a couple of new automatic ones that actually weren't too expensive and we are reaping the rewards because they only take the charge they need and you don't need to remember to fiddle with them every day.

garlicBreathZombie Sun 23-Oct-11 00:05:18

Thanks for your bubblewrap tip, InsomniaQueen. I'm going to copy that for the windows in my so-called conservatory (= single-layer shed with holes) alongside lining the walls with silver stuff. Should make a huge difference.

garlicBreathZombie Sun 23-Oct-11 00:10:41

YY re storage heaters! The insurmountable problem is that, if you're at home all day - as I am, and of course SAHPs with small DC - they don't stay warm enough, long enough, to keep you comfortable. If you turn them up during the day, they run out by 5pm. Turn them on boost and you're paying something 5x the price for electricity.

I assume they were invented by some bloke with a 9-5 job, who completely forgot to ask his wife and children if they were warm enough!!

oksonowwhat Sun 23-Oct-11 00:13:34

gaelic, i think thats where i've been going wrong. My storage heaters are ancient. I think they've been in here for over thirty years!!! I have to set the input level and then set the output level depending on how cold it is. They give out very little heat but cost fortunes to use! I'm in a ha house and i have contacted them so many times about these heaters. Your new ones sound really brilliant compared to the old ones, didn't know they did automatic ones!

garlicBreathZombie Sun 23-Oct-11 00:18:53

But you would still be on mega-expensive electricity during the day, wouldn't you.

gaelicsheep Sun 23-Oct-11 00:24:19

We should have a whole thread about storage heaters! The thing is, and I have sussed this since we got proper insulation, is that storage heaters WITHOUT decent insulation or another source of heat like a stove are just worse than useless. It's all about building up heat layer on layer on layer so that eventually the house itself is warm, not just the air.

Also all the competitive freezing threads on Mumsnet are not applicable to storage heaters. As I said the whole point is that you are storing heat, not just in the heaters themselves but in the fabric of the house. This is what storage heaters do. They don't throw out huge quantitites of heat like a convection heater, they heat the fabric of the house. This is why it is so crucial that you don't leave it too late to put them on because once the house loses that heat it really does take weeks to regain it. Similarly never turn them off if you're going away for a few days.

You should really be leaving the output on zero for as long as possible in the day. The more modern storage heaters will automatically shut down the output when they charge and gradually open it up as they shed core heat, so you can theoretically leave it on, say, 3 all the time and not worry (although I still worry so leave them on zero output unless I'm freezing). Zero output still gives out heat.

Mathius automatic storage heater Not cheap, but definitely cheap compared with putting in central heating. We got ours from the Scottish Hydro shop and they were delivered free (other brands charge about £30 or £40 delivery per heater because of the weight of the things).

gaelicsheep Sun 23-Oct-11 00:25:59

How do you mean? We're on economy 7 so daytime units are more expensive than a standard tariff. But our storage heaters are not set up to boost during the day. Never EVER boost a storage heater with daytime rate energy!

gaelicsheep Sun 23-Oct-11 00:38:50

Sorry, that was a bit blunt!

garlicBreathZombie Sun 23-Oct-11 00:43:40

It's all about building up heat layer on layer on layer so that eventually the house itself is warm, not just the air. - Couldn't agree more, and the same thinking lies behind my (HVAC-approved) advice to keep central heating ticking over 24hrs.

Wrt cost & storage heaters - obviously, if you have storage heaters you'll be on E7. My flat with storage heaters was about average, I suppose - the appliances looked like they were 1980s (so 30 years old) and were checked regularly, but didn't store enough heat to keep the place warm all day. I could either open the vents to let more heat out, in which case they ran out of heat before 5pm in winter, or put them on boost/heat, which was basically a convector heater and used a lot of electricity at very expensive daytime rates.

Storage heaters are good if you're out all day. They're a nightmare for those of us who aren't. Additionally, E7 means that ALL electricity used in the daytime - for showers, cooking and supplementary heating - is charged at penalty rates. My provider at the time charged 5 times the economy rate for daytime power. It was just over 3 times the ordinary rate.

gaelicsheep Sun 23-Oct-11 00:47:54

We're in all day too smile (at least DH is with a young toddler). The difference in this house, since we made the changes, and the last house is nothing short of a revelation. The last house was the one I mentioned earlier on where DH had to take DS out in the daytime because the house was so cold it was uninhabitable (we're talking a Scottish Highland winter).

gaelicsheep Sun 23-Oct-11 00:50:00

Do you mind me asking which provider? We're with Scottish Hydro who have their faults (ie not understanding how much power storage heaters use) but their E7 tarriff is pretty fair all things told. 5 times as much for daytime power is simply shocking. I think our daytime rate is about 1.5 times the standard daytime rate and about 2.5 times the nighttime rate. 19p ish daytime, 8p ish nighttime IIRC.

Tianc Sun 23-Oct-11 00:51:30

OK, not helpful to keep warm, but you should all know about a major change coming up.

The power companies are intending to replace all electricity and gas meters with Smart Meters starting this year. Info here and here.

Smart Meters will be reprogrammable remotely, and the power company will be able to flick your meter over to a Prepayment meter and load it with whatever they think your debt is (see p16).

Because they will no longer need access to your premises, they will no longer need a court warrant. So they will no longer have to demonstrate to a neutral body like a court that they are not talking complete bollocks. As they so often are because power company records are notoriously shite (phantom meters, zillion pound bills, and a Mumsnet Classic).

Currently when you decline to pay obviously bonkers bills, their little minds are wonderfully focussed on sorting the problem out, because they won't get any dosh till they do, and court or meter-installers cost them money.

With Smart Meters, they can simply tick a box on your account and turn your meter into a prepayment one loaded with the debt of £944994594984 they've decided you owe.

Oh, and they're going to try to sell the whole Smart Meter concept as energy-saving because they have a screen showing consumption. Like the little clip on consumption displays you can buy for £25.

There are other v serious problems with reprogrammable Smart Meters, like they're potentially hackable and brickable, and the cybersecurity people like Prof Ross Anderson are doing their nuts about it. Meanwhile Ofgem, which is supposed to represent the consumers' interests, has in fact been tasked with pushing through the change.

Anyway, I thought the discussion of prepayment meters should mention this. And no I don't know what we can do about it – but they'll need a fucking court order (literally) to get across my threshold with a Smart Meter.

garlicBreathZombie Sun 23-Oct-11 00:54:05

I can't remember, sorry. It was 2005-2007 so will all have changed a lot anyhow. I'm quite willing to believe your lovely new heaters are that much better but it ain't easy to get a landlord to replace the old ones!

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