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To think that central heating is a thing of the past?

(174 Posts)
hiddenhome Mon 21-Oct-13 13:13:15

More and more people seem to be unable to afford to use their central heating sad

How long before we all go back to just having a fire in the lounge?

We no longer use our central heating and think of it as an unaffordable luxury. We've even had radiators removed as they were taking up room. We just have a multifuel stove that we use to heat the lounge and open the door if we want heat upstairs overnight.

LittleRobots Wed 23-Oct-13 10:50:13

Oh we're never hanging damp washing inside again! We have a condenser dryer now so you can physically see the many litres that are in each load of clothes! No wonder houses get damp. I'd never realised until I saw it as we used to. Its like liberally painting your walls with water and then some!

ringaringarosy Wed 23-Oct-13 10:50:33

Ive never gone without central heating,in fact mine is on all day,for most of the year,i like being warm,but if i couldnt afford it i just wouldnt turn it on,is it that bad?surely you just wear more clothes and socks and slippers?have extra duvets on the bed,blankets in the lounge etc?I can only imagine it being a problem if you had guests who werent expecting it.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Wed 23-Oct-13 11:10:01

"Is it that bad? Surely you just wear more clothes"

Wow. No clue.

KirjavaTheCorpse Wed 23-Oct-13 12:26:46

I can only imagine it being a problem if you had guests who werent expecting it

You lack imagination, then.

closingeveryhour Wed 23-Oct-13 12:34:21

It will be a huge shame if it becomes too expensive to use CH as it's one of the more efficient ways of heating a house (and newbuilds mostly don't have fires or piped gas in any case so not everyone has the option of a fire). Ingested houses require more maintenance because of damp, building movement etc.

Plus what about the sick, vulnerable, elderly or very young? Not everyone is able-bodied or can regulate their own body temperature effectively or manage by just putting a jumper on. For example, there is a good reason why the current SIDS medical advice specifies an ambient temperature of 16-20 degrees for young babies, plus careful temperature charts of what form and combination of layers should be used at each temperature. Overbundling small babies in layers to compensate for lower ambient temperatures is a known SIDS risk as it is much more difficult to ensure they are not inadvertently overheating. Mould and mildew spores from damp housing is also a known SIDS risk.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 23-Oct-13 12:34:59


And didn't you start a thread like this last week too?

Central heating is an incredibly efficient way to heat a home that is well insulated.
Our thermostat is on between 20 and 22 - 6am to 11.30pm - and our bills are not extortionate. I am sure it is more cost effective to leave the heating on more of the time and have it adjusting on the thermostat than keep turning it on and off.


These are the very basics, surely? I struggle to understand what people would prioritise over having a warm home, once they had put food on the table.
I know that there are people who have to make that choice, but I am genuinely bewildered at people who choose to live in a cold house when they could afford not to.

closingeveryhour Wed 23-Oct-13 12:35:40

*Ingested? Not sure what autocorrect was doing there! Unheated houses!

Abra1d Wed 23-Oct-13 12:39:01

I certainly don't understand why people have to have their thermostats turned up above 18. Unless they are ill or old or have small babies.

treaclesoda Wed 23-Oct-13 12:39:48

'is it that bad?'

A few winters ago we had at least a foot of snow on the ground, and it was something like minus 15 outside. The moisture in the pipe from our oil tank to our boiler froze (its buried several inches under the garden so there was nothing we could do but wait for it to thaw), leaving us without central heating for about a fortnight. So I can answer your question, yes it was that bad. A few extra jumpers really didn't touch the cold. And we're all healthy. If it had been my FIL, who has health problems including COPD, it could easily have finished him off.

At least we knew the nightmare would end, and we're fortunate that if we're cold we can afford to put the heating on. Living like that on an ongoing basis would be no picnic, and my heart goes out to people who have no choice but to do so.

treaclesoda Wed 23-Oct-13 12:43:18

I would prioritise heat over other things as well.

But then as a homeowner, I also can take steps to minimise my energy costs that presumably I couldn't as a renter? I chose to put in extra insulation, replace the boiler with a more efficient one, replace draughty windows and doors (over a period of some years, as money allowed). And again, those were steps that also wouldn't have been available to us if we hadn't been able to gather together the money to make those investments in the first place. They have all paid for themselves by now, they have saved us so much in fuel, but again not everyone can actually do that.

closingeveryhour Wed 23-Oct-13 12:51:11

treaclesoda agree with you - which is why access to adequate heating is a political issue. As a basic need which is particularly important for the young, old, sick and vulnerable, it is not just a matter of expecting people just to put an extra jumper on and suck it up.

I wonder, for example, how much we all pay as a proportion of our taxes to treat conditions in the NHS which are caused or made worse by inadequate heating and poor housing, particularly in elderly people.

willyoulistentome Wed 23-Oct-13 12:52:10

In past years I have been naughty and snuck the heating on while DH was out WAY before it got really cold enough. I do feel the cold. I feel freezing when he feels quite warm, and I'm wrapped up in jumpers and blankets while he is in a t-Shirt. DS1 is lik DH and DS2 is like me.

This year however, we have not put it on yet. EVEN I realise we. DH hsa spent ALL year log chopping so that we would have enough of a head start with logs for the wood burner through winter. We live pretty much IN woods with loads of downed branches or even whole trees lying about. DH and I always bring home a few branches every time we go for a walk.

It's been mild so far so we've been OK. Once it starts to get frosty though, and I am working from home, I will wear my coat and sit on a hot water bottle. My finers are cold even today, and it's WARM today.

lainiekazan Wed 23-Oct-13 12:52:40

I think some people expect their houses to be warmer than is normal and reasonable. In television programmes/films everyone floats around in their houses wearing summer clothes. You never see people wearing a big fleece and big socks. I believe this gives rise to some sort of entitlement that we should all act as if it's summer 365 days a year.

In mil's nursing home it is stifling . Now, I know old people feel the cold more, but I think it is unreasonable to have the old people sitting there in summer blouses and cotton skirts or sleeveless nightdresses in the winter. Sure, it should be warmer than the average home, but to heat the place to rival the Kew hothouses is ridiculous.

ringaringarosy Wed 23-Oct-13 13:04:39

Headsdown and Kirjarva,i did say i didnt have a clue didnt i,i have never had to live in a cold house and i dont know anyone who has,unless you are ill i really cant see how it can be so bad,there are other ways of keeping warm.

treaclesoda Wed 23-Oct-13 13:07:45

Putting on extra layers sort of works better if you pre-empt the cold. I find that by the time my feet are cold, extra socks don't really help them heat up, whereas if I had realised they were going to get cold, and put an extra layer on, they wouldn't get cold in the first place. Does that make sense to other people?

lainiekazan Wed 23-Oct-13 13:13:45

Oh, yes. Perfect sense. I was actually thinking about Angela's Ashes this morning, the bit where Frank McCourt describes being wet and damp all the time. The awfulness of having to put on a still wet wool coat when you're already cold and shivering.

Nottalotta Wed 23-Oct-13 13:20:28

It is bad having no heating. We live in an old house with oil heating. There have been occasions where we have run out or it broke and we were without heating for 5 weeks in the snow and freezing temperatures. Yes, extra layers, thick socks, fleeces, hot water bottle. I had two pairs of socks and slippers on but my feet were so cold the bones hurt. I got chillblains on my hands. We don't have a tumble dryer so use an airer in wet weather except it ws so cold the washing never dried.

We use the heating minimally but the difference between no heating and minimal heating is huge. We do also have an open fire and a wood burner but they are really quite expensive to keep going.

imnotwhoyouthinkiam Wed 23-Oct-13 13:20:51

I have central heating, but even when its on my house is FREEZING! I think the problem is that I cant afford to have it on long enough to actually warm the rooms up. So I don't bother putting it on, although occasionally I do it to get the washing dry.
We have fleecy blankets on the sofa to snuggle under instead.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Wed 23-Oct-13 13:41:38

Why don't you try it, if it's not so bad. Switch all the heating off for a week or two, if it doesn't seem like anything an extra pair of socks won't fix. Doesn't bear thinking about, does it?

Bubbles1066 Wed 23-Oct-13 13:52:30

We had a winter with very little heating to try to save money and the result was a very damp house that actually ended up costing us more than if we'd just put the heating on more. Water was dripping off the walls and windows. We had to spend £100 on a dehumidifier to dry it out and as someone said earlier I would never again try to dry washing inside if I had any other choice. We had damp, smelly washing that never dried and mould. Even those heated driers, which are good, spew out moisture and cause damp.
We eventually bought a second hand condenser dryer and you wouldn't believe the amount of water that comes out of drying washing. No wonder the house was dump. I'm very frugal with heat (keep the house around 18C), wash in cold water unless things are soiled and do no more than 2 dryer loads a week but if you cut back too much on heating it may cost you more in the long run than you save.

The thing some people dont seem to get with their posts of extra socks etc, is that even the most healthy persons house needs the heat.

Damp turns to mould, wallpaper peels away and at the absolute worst, the building itself can become affected. The damp gets into the walls, a couple of freeze/defrost cycles with no warmth inside to maintain a higher temp, and the wall can break! Your pipes freeze, you have no water for washing or cooking. How are clothes supposed to dry, if you don't have a tumble drier, with no heat to dry them?

I am lucky enough to have never had to experience this, but ffs, it doesnt take a genius to work out, only a little bit of empathy!

lainiekazan Wed 23-Oct-13 14:03:35

I am not advocating no heating, or being thoroughly miserable with cold. But I do think some people's idea of cold needs adjusting. It is unreasonable to think that you are entitled to have the thermostat at 30 degrees all the time.

MymbleHasRisenFromTheGrave Wed 23-Oct-13 14:08:13

There is a place for it but certainly we can't afford to keep it on all day. Usually in winter it's an hour in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening. We are so used to leaving it off now that on the rare occasions we've kept it on for longer I have started to feel a bit unwell. I prefer layering up!

MymbleHasRisenFromTheGrave Wed 23-Oct-13 14:09:40

Also agree with Bubbles re: damp. I'd never have the heating on at all if it weren't for the fact that I don't want a damp, mouldly house! The amount of time we have it on is purely to keep the damp out.

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