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No Central Heating - best way to stay warm? and dry clothes?

(32 Posts)
solittletimeandsomuchtodo Wed 17-Oct-12 14:13:55

So I've moved into a gorgeous little cottage but no central heating.
(just a rental and just here for one winter)
Oil filled radiators - the best option?
how on earth can I dry clothes in this weather? - no dryer and no money to buy one.
I'm on a split (not sure what it's called) electric meter
7pence nighttime rate and 27p daytime rate
So what's the most economical way to survive winter? (I have a 4&5 year old) and i work from home during the day.

MrsjREwing Wed 17-Oct-12 14:17:48

Lakeland airer to dry clothes.

FireOverBabylon Wed 17-Oct-12 14:23:04

heat rises so to dry clothes, could you get permission from your LL to install a ceiling-mounted clothes airer. They dry clothes quicker than floor based ones and can be hung over the bath / dining table to save space.

This page suggests that there's not much difference in fuel efficiency from the various portable heaters. I know it's a granny magazine insert I got it as junk mail in the Radio Times but I say these heaters in Easy life and buy one, get one free might work out cheaper for you.

Also, more generally - do lots of layers, close your curtains as soon as it starts to go dark, and have a shower at night to keep you warm when you go to bed. If you have gaps under doors, use blankets as draught excluders. you can also put up curtains over doors to keep the heat in and, if necessary, take out the key and put a kitchen magnet over the keyhole, again to stop draughts coming in.

MrsMiniversCharlady Wed 17-Oct-12 14:23:09

Can't you change your electricity supplier? The daytime rate is horrendous!!

PeskyPiskie Wed 17-Oct-12 14:29:52

Could you look at getting a second hand dryer? Your night time rate seems fairly reasonable so a dryer may not be too bad to run. Some Savlation Army and charity shops do still sell electrical items. I bought a second hand TV and separate DVD player recently from one for £10 (for both).

solittletimeandsomuchtodo Wed 17-Oct-12 16:24:52

Thanks for the messages. It's a small place so wouldn't even have room for a dryer.
It's a stupid economy seven electricity thing -two readings etc. Can't just change it I'm afraid.

pinksky Wed 17-Oct-12 16:30:56

We have an electric (plug in) clothes dryer from Lakeland, was about 70 quid, imagine there are cheaper options on the market? Or as Pesky says a 2nd hand dryer? We found drying clothes indoors without heat took ages, clothes a bit smelly, damp air, so definitely worth thinking about. Great ideas from Babylon also.
Definitely try and exclude draughts as best as possible, shower/bath to warm up.

GrendelsMum Wed 17-Oct-12 16:32:52

A lot of the best things are the boring, granny-like ones.

Wear slippers, thermal t-shirts, and wooly jumpers.
Sit with a hot water bottle and a blanket.
Go round all your window and door frames blocking up drafts
Hang a door curtain on your doors
Hang thick curtains (blankets make surprisingly stylish curtains)
Put a hot water bottle in your bed 30 mins before going to bed
Decide which room is going to be the warm room, and heat that room.

I've found that putting wet clothes outside on an airer on the back porch works surprisingly well to dry them.

pinksummer Wed 17-Oct-12 16:34:19

If you can get hold of a cheap dehumidifier they really help with drying clothes.

noddyholder Wed 17-Oct-12 17:04:10

Heat one room with a plug in heater and then put a cloths rail in there. hang clothes on hangers straight from machine and they will dry fairly quickly

oscarwilde Wed 17-Oct-12 17:54:41

Oil filled rads on a timer or on all the time turned down low if there is no thermostat on the rads.
Then everything Grendelsmum said smile. Do leave some ventilation though and air out the rooms every day or you will get damp.
Cheap fleece blankets make great insulators - you can tack them onto the back of existing curtains to line them and draught proof further. They wash and dry very easily too.

PigletJohn Wed 17-Oct-12 19:39:00

you say you have a cheap night-time rate? Surely this suggests you have electric storage heaters?

If not, you would be better off on a standard rate. You can change your electricity contract without needing a new meter.

I believe at standard cost, a full load (7kg) cotton wash costs about 60p to dry in a modern tumble-drier. If you have cheap night-time rate, and can run it during the off peak time, it would cost less. Have plenty of smoke alarms if running it unattended.

You say "cottage." Is it old? damp? badly insulated? draughty?

have you got a hot-water cylinder? what colour is the insulation?

Look out for an electric blanket.

All electric heaters give X amount of heat for Y amount of electricity. The amount you pay for the heater does not change that. There are people trading in very-high priced heaters that they claim produce more energy (heat) out than the energy (electricity) in. This is impossible without magic. Storage heaters just lengthen the delivery time. They give out mosty of their heat during they day and usually run out by evening.

Oil filled electric heaters take take to heat up, and time to cool down, but are safer as they have no red-hot element. If your cottage is cold you may need one in the childrens bedrooms. Be sure it has a thermostat, and three heat settings.

Please try not to drape wet washing around the house or over radiators as it will cause damp. When it is too rainy to use the line, assuming the bathroom has an extractor (it should) hang your washing in there with the fan running and the door and window shut. A typical extractor fan will run for 50 hours on one unit of electricity.

Please try not to use calor-gas type indoor heaters. They emit damp and fumes. Neither is good for you.

bureni Wed 17-Oct-12 19:47:16

Does the cottage have an open fire for heating? if I was renting a place I would expect it to have at least one form of heating no matter how basic.Sole reliance on electric heating and drying can quickly overload a ring main so do not be expecting to be able to plug in a load of electrics heaters, dryer, washing machine, tumble dryer, kettle etc and not blow the ring main fuse.

solittletimeandsomuchtodo Wed 17-Oct-12 22:06:17

I'm sure I will miss some things.
-cottage in decent state of repair.
Is very very small for the three of us. One living/dining area and no where honestly for a dryer.
I don't know about water storage heaters blush -foreigner so not used to these.
Don't think I can change electric but might be worth asking - advantages of cheap overnight water heating not worth the high daytime running costs. I can't even set my washing machine to run after midnight and I'm never awake at this time.
Interesting about clothes and radiators-might try your idea piglet about rail in bathroom.
Already have and love love my electric blanket.
Just ordered some draught excluders.
Do have open fire but not an option for me with the young boys, too risky.

PigletJohn Wed 17-Oct-12 23:32:40

If you have electricity but no gas in your home, you most likely have a hot water cylinder which will contain about 120 litres of water that will be heated by an immersion heater of which you will only see the round cap, in black plastic or grey metal, sticking out of the top, or possiblly the side, of the cylinder. There is a thermostat to set water temperature under the cap. Turn off electricity and use a torch if removing the cap.

The cylinder will almost certainly be supplied with cold water from a tank in the loft which is probably black plastic, but might be galvanised steel if very old (and likely to be rusty and leak).

The cylinder ought to be insulated; depending on its age, this might be a red jacket, or a coating of stiff plastic foam applied in the factory, either yellow, green or blue. The immersion heater will be attached by a thick rubbery flexible cable, usually white, going to a switch on the wall which might have an indicating neon light on it.

Heating water by electricity is very quite expensive, so please tell me if you have found the cylinder, what colour the insulation is, are the copper pipes around it insulated; is there one immersion heater at the top, or two in the side, and can you see a timer near the switch.

The cylinder is usually in an airing cupboard which is warm and dry and used for storage of washed clothes, sheets etc.

I'd also suggest you take a note of your meter readings and write them in your diary to keep a track of cost. You can provide these readings online to your electricity supplier as often as you like to prevent estimated bills. I don't know if in your country, as here, you can change the contract and supplier of your electricity to get the best bargain. The meter and the distribution network are "rented" by their operator to ther electricity supplier, you only pay the supplier, and the network operator doesn't mind which supplier you use.

ClareMarriott Thu 18-Oct-12 10:02:58


If you say you are renting and staying only one winter, I would suggest you get some free standing clothes driers from either Argos of Lakeland which you could put in the house of if the cottage has a garden, outside in the garden . Don't hang anything on radiators. If you did a weekly wash from now to the end of January, that's only 16 and double if you have children. Otherwise, I would agree with what Grendelsmum has said in her post .

Waswondering Thu 18-Oct-12 10:08:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sonnet Thu 18-Oct-12 10:15:09

Having had experienceof living in in an old cottage here you go.....
1. Open fires - I have always had open fires and children. Get a fire guard - this is a must. An open fire will heat your living/dining room well all day for little £.
2. draught proof as far as you can. Ikea do cheap fleece blankets which are great for door curtains
3. Get a plug in "timer" and set your washing machine to run over night.
4. use free standing airers - outside on a blowy dry day. have you got an extractor fan in the bathrrom? - if so put in there during the day with the fan on.
5. once you ave gone to bed you could stand in front of the fire (with fire guard!) so the heat from the embers will finish drying.
6. Do a load daily so you don't drown in wet/damp washing
7. invest in base thermal layers
8.have snuggly throws and rungs for the sofa!

FireOverBabylon Thu 18-Oct-12 10:15:13

OP the storage heaters being referred to are these, they're physically attached to the walls of the rooms, and aren't related to your water system at all. Does the cottage have any heaters on the walls?

If you're not going to use the open fire, use a large piece of cardboard or board to block it up / off as that will add to your problems with cold / draughts if you're not using it - cold wair will blow down the chimney in rough weather.

FireOverBabylon Thu 18-Oct-12 10:17:00

Oh, and Aldi have adult thermal underwear in stock cheaply at the moment if you have a branch near you. Would be worth you stocking up + looking on eBay for extra warm layers for your children.

starfishmummy Thu 18-Oct-12 10:35:14

I would suggest you get a fire guard that fixes to the wall for safety if your landlord allows it. The small free standing guards are usually just spark guards to prevent sparks and embers falling out of the fire - not only are they unsafe with small children around but they are of a fine mesh that stops much of the heat getting out.

solittletimeandsomuchtodo Fri 19-Oct-12 08:33:22

Fire -yes we have those attached to the wall but I can't seem to get them to work?
The cottage had two oiled filled radiators in it so I just assumed the wall things didn't work and I had to use the plug in radiators?
So confused?

FireOverBabylon Fri 19-Oct-12 09:14:57

Switch the storage heaters on and leave them overnight, when they charge up, you should find they work next day as they generate heat overnight using the cheap electric, store it (hence the name) and release it next day, so you won't be heating your home using that astronomical dayime electricity rate. There are instructions here if you're not sure how to use them.

If they don't work tomorrow, let your landlord know as they'll get an electrician in to look at them.

PigletJohn Fri 19-Oct-12 11:52:36

you might (should) find that there is a separate consdumer unit ("fusebox") for the storage heaters. It might have been turned off for the summer. The power to them will be on some kind of timeswitch so you will not usually be able to see them come on before about midnight.

Have a look at your storage heaters to identify the make and model (older ones are very big) and what controls they have. The instructions ought to have been left in the cottage but can be found on the maker's website once you know what sort they are.

As it is not yet very cold, you may find you don't need to fully charge the heaters every night yet. The might have a high/low setting or a controllable warm-air vent.

Never put stuff like washing or towels on top of them, this will cause them to overheat and the thermal protection will cut out or melt. If this happens it may need an electrician to reset or replace it. This is the most common cause of storage heaters not working.

CMOTDibbler Fri 19-Oct-12 12:14:21

For drying clothes, I've seen the Rotaire in use, and it works even in the pouring rain

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