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Do I have to provide all day heating for my Au Pair?

(44 Posts)
anniemouse Tue 01-Dec-09 09:27:47

I'm relatively new to having an au pair and so far things are going fine. My au pair always stays in - apart from going to pick up the children from school and for 2 days per week she attends a local college for 2.5 hrs. Our heating normally goes off at 8am and comes on again at 2pm. However with the colder weather setting in will I have to make sure the house is constantly heated?? We have a 4 bed house which would be quite costly. My au pair hasn't asked for the heating on so far. What are my responsibilites to her in terms of this?

hobbgoblin Tue 01-Dec-09 09:29:31

Legally, I'm sure it has to be pretty freezing to be deemed unsitable working conditions. However, if you want your AP to be happy and, more to the point, not find a warmer wink family then you'll have to heat it as you would were you home.

ReneRusso Tue 01-Dec-09 09:32:01

I am a SAHM and I don't have the heating on all day. I guess you could get her a little electric oil filled radiator to put in her room if it's freezing. They are quite good and I'm sure that would be cheaper than heating the whole house. Or suggest she does extra vacuuming or cooking to keep warm wink

hobbgoblin Tue 01-Dec-09 09:38:19

Is she from a warmer climate?

BonjourIvresse Tue 01-Dec-09 09:41:56

In the workplace it needs to be warmer than 16 degree C. Not sure if this applies to your situation though.

catepilarr Tue 01-Dec-09 09:50:01

oh i think lots of aupairs could tell stories about beeing frozen. i even had a friend who was laughed at by the host family that she is cold, yet temperature in her room dropped to 4 degrees in the night on some days /and it wasnt anything to comfortably warm during the day eihther/. in my first english family the heating was on for about two hours in the morning and about three in the evening and the house was freezing /the mother worked at home and didnt mind, she had an office in a conservatory/ so i used to sit on the aga to warm myself up. unfortunately -or fortunately- lots of british people dont feel the cold as much and are used to lower temperatures at home. i grew up in a prefab house where you didnt have to put your radiators on and still had some 23 degrees in the flat so no wonder i felt cold in the english 16!
agree get her aditional heater for her room rather then heat up the whole house when you dont need it.

missmama Tue 01-Dec-09 09:54:13

I have mine come on for an hour at 11 and then again at 1 for another hour. Just so that it doesnt get a chance to get too cold. It comes back on again at 3.30 for the evening.
I am a SAHM too but have only had this amount of heating on during the day this week as the weather has changed. Usually it goes off at 8 and stays off.

morningpaper Tue 01-Dec-09 10:06:21

turn off the radiators in the rooms that you don't use during the day e.g. the bedrooms and leave them on in the lounge/her room

Then show her where the thermostat is

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 01-Dec-09 10:07:01

I have my heating on all day, but we have it on quite low and find that more efficient that having it coming on and off several times a day.

You are supposed to treat the AP as one of the family, if you or your children were at home would you have the heating on?

thesecondcoming Tue 01-Dec-09 10:13:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HarrietTheSpy Tue 01-Dec-09 11:07:23

I used to really like it quite warm in the house until we got an 'adjustment' bill from British Gas for £900. They had been undercharging us during the period I was off on maternity leave. Now I am quite happy to put a sweater on!!

Exactly how cold is your house? I think it is unreasonable if it is under 16-17 deg to have the heat off entirely for most of the day if your AP is there. But, from an economy standpoint and not to mention environmental considerations, I think it is ridiculous to blast the heat at 20 all day.

But it sounds like you're safe waiting for her to say something? If she seems quite happy, no need to raise it, I should think.

HarrietTheSpy Tue 01-Dec-09 11:10:23

I could see my breath in a British friend's house when I first moved here. On days like today, they would open the window. Fecking freezing. When I lived in Czech it was incredibly warm in the dorms and in the family home (subsidized domestic energy prices, dontcha know?) and I found it freezing at DH's (then boyfriend) cottage in Dorset. Struggling to light the coal fire when he was out at work. Am tougher now though.

Totallyfloaty35 Tue 01-Dec-09 11:19:43

Heating is very expensive to have on all day.In my house aupair/kids get given a blanket/hot water bottle and if really cold the oil heater in their room.Heating is on 5-8am and 3-7pm.If its really cold like today i put it on for an extra hour or two in the day and an extra hour at 11pm to take the chill off at bedtime.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 01-Dec-09 11:21:30

it does seem silly to heat whole house so why not get a blow fan/mini plug in radiator

it is a standing joke where i work that i am always cold

<looks at feet in woolly socks+slippers>

our playroom is an ice box and to make it warm the rest of the house (and this i agree) is like a sauna

so mb brought me/playroom a radiator to heat up room and with door shut is very toasty

obv heating is on am+pm but takes a while to heat works house as so big

thedollshouse Tue 01-Dec-09 11:27:10

I live in a very small house and we have the heating on all day. Our radiators come on when the temperature drops below a specified temperature, in the day I set them to come on if it drops below 22c and then I try to remember to turn it down to 19c before dh gets in otherwise he gets all huffy.

My mil and sil have larger houses than us and they only turn the radiators on in the rooms they use. It is always bloody freezing around their houses, even dh keeps his outdoor coat in and I usually accept their offer of a cup of tea just so I can warm my hands on the mug!

I suppose it depends on how comfortable you want her to be, I wouldn't be happy if I had to stay in a cold house.

catepilarr Tue 01-Dec-09 11:35:03

harriet, i dont think we have subsidized energy prizes.eventhough i have to admit i dont know anything about that.
most people in cities live in flats so less rooms to heat up. also houses in general are insulated a lot better so less energy is needed to get the same level of warmth. this is acutally what i dont get at all why lots of people in britain complain about heatig prices etc and some dont even open any windows at all at winter time yet they have such draughty windows and doors. any explanation? ;)

alibaba - you might be able to get the computer thing that makes the heating heat up at two different levels, ie we have have it set for 21degrees for two hours in the morning and then it goes down for 18 for the rest of the day until the time just before we come home.

HarrietTheSpy Tue 01-Dec-09 11:38:45

I'm talking about the early 1990s. You did then! But probably not now, you're right.

IvanaDK Tue 01-Dec-09 11:41:04

I work from home and I have the heating on all day and I only turn it down, not off at night.

I feel the cold even with a jumper on! Heating is quite cheap over here, I think, in Denmark, where I am from, all energy etc is taxed.

Anyway, I am not keen on the way you write "Do I *have to* provide heating all day for my Au Pair?" - really don't like that attitude! She lives with your in your home, even if she doesn't work every second! If you feel that you don't want to pay for heating for your au pair, maybe an au pair is not right for you, maybe you should get a cleaner and a childminder to do pick ups.

AtheneNoctua Tue 01-Dec-09 11:43:15

I would give her a heater which she could put into whatever room she felt like sitting in. I assume she probably spends the bulk of her time in her bedroom so really that should do the trick.

I usually go into the kitchen and do some cooking when I get cold. 'tis nice and toasty in my kithen when I turn on the oven.

ReneRusso Tue 01-Dec-09 11:44:05

IvanaDK, I am not keen on most of your post

frakkinaround Tue 01-Dec-09 13:31:06

Whoa! I don't think the OP is begruding her AP the heating. She's acknowledging her house gets cold and is wondering whether there's a legal responsibility she has as an employer to make sure the house is heated!

I used to nanny for a family with a really draughty house and FROZE in the beginning but I talked to them about it and they got a heater for the playroom (like Blondes' family) and a really thick long cardigan and some sheepskin slippers for me. Was partly their choice though as they were quite an environmentally concious family!

I'm sure if your AP was cold then she'd turn the heating up, but to pre-empt this, if you're worried about the environmental impact and cost, then say "the heating is on automatically these times to these times", offer her a small plug in heater for use during those hours, remind her that closing doors etc keeps the house warm and take her shopping for a thick jumper - assuming the general attitude in your house is to pile on the woollens rather than press the boost button grin

TwoCupcakes Tue 01-Dec-09 15:12:19

Agree we shouldn't make OP's question any bigger than it is. She's just asking her responsibility and if i read it correctly, wants to make sure she's doing the right thing.

i would go with what most people have said - a specific heater for AP's room, have a hunt around for one that doesn't eat up your electricity bill. my opinion is that when you switch the heater on the whole day, it dries out your skin and can make the house feel stuffy. i''ve noticed that my kids tend to complain after a while and need some fresh air. We have our heating on in the mornings and from 4-8pm. But on an extra cold day, my nanny just switches it on and that's fine too.

Millarkie Tue 01-Dec-09 22:01:51

We tell our au pairs how to work the heating - but leave it on the timer and expect them to turn it on if they are in and want it on during the day.We also have a portable plug in heater they can use in their rooms and the aga is on all day so the kitchen is toasty warm.
Having said that we did have a very expensive time last winter with an au pair who was constantly cold and turned the heating on all day (and a couple of nightmare nights when I dreamt I was burning in hell) with the thermostat at max. At one point she used £125 of oil in one week, and I was feeling ill with the heat. I now tell new au pairs that our comfortable temperature is 21 degrees so they know up front that the whole house won't be at 25!

mistlethrush Tue 01-Dec-09 22:20:50

We're economising at the moment. It felt really warm this morning when I came downstairs - we'd forgotten to turn it down from yesterday when we were looking after two of ds's friends with ds yesterday (inset day). It was (shock, horror!) 17 degrees. I turned it back down to 16...

dreamingofawhitexmasteamgirl Tue 01-Dec-09 23:10:47

I have shown AP how to use the boost button, but she seems happy with jumpers

I wouldnt heat house all day for DS & I- thats what jumpers, socks & imitation UGG boots are for grin, so I wouldnt heat it all day for AP either, but I if she needs to boost it she knows how.

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