Warm your cockles without switching the heating up
If you’ve ever debated with yourself when setting the central heating thermostat, 18°C is the minimum home temperature recommended by the NHS for less mobile, older or ill people, while active younger folks in good health can set the system to a lower temperature so long as it remains comfortable.
For households acclimatised to hotter radiators, switching down has plenty of benefits
Does 18°C sound low to you? For households acclimatised to hotter radiators, switching down has plenty of benefits:
>> For our health: overdoing it with the central heating produces a dry, arid atmosphere indoors, which can cause problems for those prone to sinusitis and watering eyes. More seriously, coming from the chilly outdoors into a home heated to 25°C or more can cause a spike in blood pressure. In susceptible people, this could trigger angina, heart attacks or changes to heart rhythm.
>> For the environment: lowering the target room temperature means the system doesn’t have to work as hard to heat your home. That saved energy means fewer climate-changing carbon emissions and, globally, less demand for fossil fuels.
>> For our bank balances: the closer to the recommended minimum you set your thermostat, the more money you can save. For example, turning the dial down from 20°C to 18°C could save around £139 over the winter months, based on a typical home, average gas prices and a standard morning-and-evening heating programme. Going from 19°C to 18°C would in turn leave a cool £87 in your pocket.
Turning the dial down from 20°C to 18°C could save around £139 over the winter months
6 ways to feel warmer without touching that thermostat
1. “Will you have a cup of tea?”“Ah go on, go on, go on, go on, go on…”
Mrs Doyle from Father Ted knew a thing or two about keeping your spirits up on drab days. Grab that special chunky mug that feels just right and get a nice hot brew on. Not into caffeine? Try a warming herbal blend such as fresh ginger and honey, dried rose hip tea or boiled cinnamon sticks with lemon zest.
2. Be generous with the bubble bath
If you like a nice bath from time to time, a layer of bubbles helps insulate the bath water from cooler air, keeping you warmer for longer. Another neat trick: drape a big bath towel over the foot end of the bath to slow down the escape of heat.
A layer of bubbles helps insulate the bath water from cool air
3. Keep the blood moving
Sitting still for hours can leave us chilled, especially those extremities, so get those muscles working to generate some heat. Try a brisk hoover, jazz hands dancing to a favourite show tune or following a quick exercise video on YouTube.
4. Cook up a storm
When the cold weather bites, a few hours’ pottering over a hot stove can be a positive pleasure. Keep the chill off and get ahead by batch cooking and portioning up food for homemade ready meals. Once you’ve finished with the oven, leave the door open to let the residual heat warm up the kitchen.
In winter, a few hours’ pottering over a hot stove can be a positive pleasure
5. Slow down the air flow
To keep your expensively warmed air in, and colder air out, shut doors, block any draughts and close the curtains when night draws in.
6. Layer up… and don’t forget the hot water bottle!
Layers of clothing trap warm air next to your body, insulating you far better than a single thick item. Adding extra blankets on top of your duvet works in a similar fashion. Dread getting into chilly sheets? Treat yourself by wrapping your bed attire around a toasty hot water bottle, then putting the whole inside the bedding ten minutes before bedtime. Pre-warmed pyjamas, a cosy spot to curl up and a thawing device for icy feet!