Updated: 2 days ago
The key to success is a two-pronged attack: trapping the heat you already have and finding alternative heat sources...
Looking for ways to stay warm without putting the heating on? If you're one of the millions rationing their heating use to combat rising bills, these handy hints might come in useful. Some are common sense, but there are also some useful products which you might consider (some of the links are affiliate links, meaning I might make a few pence commission if you go on to buy something, but I'll only ever link to items I have personally bought or know to be good value / quality etc).
1. Reduce draughts
This is a slightly controversial one because cold houses, lacking sufficient heating, are prone to condensation, so you don't really want to seal off airflow and further reduce ventilation, as this can lead to mould growth. However, lots of draughts will inevitably lead to heat loss so it's a bit of a balancing act. The best solution is to reduce the draughts, to keep the heat you do have in, but introduce a dehumidifier as well to reduce air moisture and, therefore, condensation to prevent mould. Below are some ideas on how best to do this...
Stop under-door draughts with draught excluders.
Seal up gaping letter boxes with draught excluders; you can get magnetic ones as well as felt and brush strips to prevent cold air from rushing into your home.
Seal up draughty window frames with silicone sealant to make them more energy efficient.
2. Get a dehumidifier
As I mentioned above, dehumidifiers are great for cold, damp houses and will make the house feel so much more comfortable when they have got to work removing excess moisture from the air. This moisture removal alone will make the air temperature 'feel' warmer, but an added advantage with some models is that they actually produce heat as a by-product of the dehumidification process. This is the dehumidifier we bought... it's brilliant, small in size but powerful and not too noisy. Here's the detailed post I wrote about how to use a dehumidifier to stop condensation in the home.
3. Heated clothes airers
I bought this heated airer from Robert Dyas a few years back and it's a lifesaver when it comes to drying the never ending piles of wet washing we create every day when the heating isn't on. It holds a good load of laundry, sometimes two and definitely reduces the drying time. You do have to move the clothes about a bit to get the best from the airer, it's a bit like cooking things on a BBQ(!) but it's worth it. I position the dehumidifier right next to the airer and they work together - a winning combo.
I read about someone who heated their home-office the whole of last winter by only using this heated airer so I've been putting it in the room that I've been working in lately (as the temperature has really dropped) and for our bedroom it has made a massive difference. Our downstairs is open plan so the heat gets a bit lost unless you sit right next to it - but it's definitely worth looking into.
4. Window insulation film
Last winter I used a brilliant £3.50 kit I got from Amazon as it was such good value and really helped us as our old uPVC windows, although double glazed, are very inefficient and a cause of lots of heat loss.
Here were my findings...
The science bit: As air temp decreases, so does the volume of moisture it can hold (a room at 20c can hold twice the amount of water vapour that a room at 10c can).
- The dew point is the temp at which water vapour condenses into water.
- When warm moist air hits a cold (below the dew point) surface it causes condensation.
- These kits are great for reducing heat loss through inefficient windows which will help save money on your heating bills, increase the room temp and stop the windows attracting condensation but won’t eliminate air moisture completely.
Therefore if your house is inadequately heated you’ll likely have other surfaces below the dew point (external walls for example) which will continue to attract condensation - so if you suffer with very bad condensation and can’t afford to keep a low level heat on all the time or improve the ventilation (retrofitting trickle vents / installing extractors fans etc) then I recommend using with a dehumidifier.
In short, for £3.50 these kits are great value and will definitely help, but won’t solve all your condensation problems on their own.
5. Tea light heaters
I find this idea completely fascinating as a way to stay warm at home without putting the heating on but must confess that im yet to actually make one of these contraptions myself. Living with two boisterous little boys, the idea of making something super hot and adding in a naked flame in the mix feels like a bad idea! but I wouldn't hesitate to attempt this DIY if we were a child-free house. You can make an effective heater for under £10 using a couple of terracotta plant pots and some tea lights. There are lots of demo videos on YouTube - definitely worth a nose.
6. Heat the person, not the room
This was a motto I heard from a lovely friend on the school run recently. Apparently, their husband champions this approach in response to the ridiculous price hikes we've been hit with recently. This principle is essential to staying warm at home without putting the heating on.
The key is to layer up; here are some tips; - Wear more clothing...add a jumper or three!
- Dressing gowns are great for this. I wear mine over my clothes as soon as I get indoors. I think the Amazon delivery driver (whom I see regularly(!) thinks I'm a slob who just never gets dressed!).
- Wearable blankets are a handy addition for sofa lounging - and make great gifts too,
- Throws for the sofa can be used as blankets.
- I recommend buying (all the) hot water bottles! - Hot drinks help, a good excuse for lots of tea and coffee. - Heated blankets are a great way to stay warm in a chilly room. - If you have a pet, try and get them to sit on your lap as who doesn't love a cuddle, especially when they can keep you warm at the same time!
7. Keep feet off cold floors
Rugs and carpet offcuts help insulate your floors. You can pick these up second-hand on Facebook marketplace at charity shops and on sites like gum tree and freecycle, so you don't have to spend much to feel the benefits. For once, I'm not even bothered about the aesthetics here(!) if you find a warm and cosy bargain...snap it up and warm those tootsies!
Slippers are also a great way to keep your feet warm and essential for anyone with super cold feet like I have!
8. Ovens...you've paid for that heat, so make sure you use it!
Leave the oven door open after cooking to release the heat into the room, brilliant to stay warm at home without the heating on. If you have children, make sure that they can't get into the kitchen and accidentally touch the open oven. As long as you can do it safely, make the most of all the heat you already paid (through the nose - can you tell I'm feeling bitter) for.
Recommended products to stay warm at home without the heating on
My Keylitos dehumidifier (41cm x 29cm x 24cm) 12l / day capacity with a 2.3litre water storage tank and ability to auto drain with a hosepipe attachment.
My Robert Dyas heater clothes airer
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