Is your home ready for winter? Here are simple hacks to help keep the heat in

It doesn’t matter when Tomasz Schafernaker, aka the Dermot O’Leary of weather presenting, says winter officially begins — now the clocks have gone back, we know its descent is upon us.

This year more than ever, there are strong incentives to prepare our homes for the cold season.

If you are concerned about carbon emissions or rising energy prices, or both, follow these tips to make your home more eco-friendly and more economical this winter.

Whether you’re a tenant or a homeowner, these seven suggestions will help you to keep the heat in and the cold out, day and night.

Window coverings aren’t just for privacy

Curtains and blinds not only stop people from seeing in – they also help to retain the heat in your home.

So when darkness falls, go round and close all of your window dressings to improve insulation within your rooms. If you love a gadget, the SwitchBot Curtain device will even shut them for you.

If old-school is more your style, hang a heavy drape on the inside of external doors. Just tell visitors it’s Cottagecore…

Warm yourself up first

Make sure you warm yourself up before you switch on the heating to warm up your home. There’s a time for lounging around in shorts and flip-flops, and November isn’t it. This rule’s especially important if you are working from home, as you’ll get cold sitting still for any length of time.

Stash an extra jumper and a blanket near your desk, or by the sofa if it’s in the evening that you feel the chill. Ensuring your extremities stay toasty will help… think slippers and even wrist-warmers.

Many a freelance writer swears by fingerless gloves when typing — check out the recycled cashmere range from Turtle Doves.

Stop cold air creeping in – and warm air seeping out

It’s much easier to heat your home effectively if you can stop too much air getting in and out. Draught-proofing is the answer.

‘At its most basic, draught-proofing is filling the gaps in a building, where heat escapes and cold air enters,’ explains the Energy Saving Trust.

‘Some people turn up the heating to counteract cold draughts; this warms your home but escaped heating costs you and emits carbon dioxide unnecessarily.’

Put your hand near the edges of external doors and windows and you will soon feel if there’s a draught. Also check around fireplaces, skirting and floorboards. Tackle the problem with brushes, sealants and covers for letterboxes and keyholes. Or make your own draught excluders. Lovecrafts.com has a range of patterns including a free-to-download design.

The Energy Saving Trust has lots of draught-proofing advice, and a word of caution: ‘Before blocking every gap you find, remember every property requires adequate ventilation. Proper ventilation allows moisture to be released, keeping our home fresh and dry and preventing damp and condensation.’ For more info, visit energysavingtrust.org.uk.

Try these draught excluders

With handle

Very handy

Buy it for £38 from Graham and Green

Tapestry

Stained glass

Buy it for £18.45 from Etsy

Bertie Bristles

A whole family of hedgehogs

Buy it for £65 from Hayes Garden World

Elephants

Buy it for £12.99 from The Range

Bees

Bee happy

Buy it for £16.99 from Wayfair

Kilim

Geometric print

Buy it for £45 from Jennings Rugs

Balmoral

Fit for a queen

Buy it for £15.99 from Harrison Cropper

Mind the Gap

No more draughts

Buy it for £36.95 from Not On The High Street

Darla the Doggy

What’s pup?

Buy it for £34 from Red Candy

Think strategically about space

Do you need to heat every room equally, or could you isolate rarely used areas — for example, by turning the radiator down, or even off, in an unoccupied bedroom, and shutting the door?

Georgina Wilson-Powell, author of Is It Really Green? Everyday Eco-Dilemmas Answered (Dorling Kindersley), and her partner will be WFH full-time in the same room this winter.

‘Last year we worked in different rooms, which meant both were being heated,’ Wilson-Powell says. ‘It just makes so much more sense, financially and environmentally, to share a single working environment instead.’

Heat your bed, not your bedroom

Sleep experts say it’s better to keep your bedroom slightly cool, so focus on heating the bed rather than all the space around it.

Switch to a higher tog duvet and when it’s particularly nippy, pop a hot water bottle or two under the covers. Bed socks make a big difference to body temperature.

‘There’s evidence that too little blood flow to the extremities can keep you awake,’ observes writer and happiness guru Gretchen Rubin in her bestseller, The Happiness Project (HarperCollins). Wool socks made her feel ‘frumpish’ she writes, ‘but did seem to help.’

Maximise the effectiveness of your heating

To get peak performance from your central heating when it is on, start the winter by bleeding your radiators. It might sound intimidating but it’s a fairly straightforward task and helps the system to operate more effectively, and efficiently, by removing trapped air.

Time it right

Consider the times of day you want your home to be warm, as well as how your household’s needs may have changed since last winter.

Were you working from home then but you’re back in the office now? Are the kids at school all day? Might an hour before you get up and an hour in the evening be enough? Adjust central heating timers accordingly.

Check out B&Q’s ‘how-to’ guide on keeping your home warm in winter. Give it a go and your home will be cosier all winter long — if only thanks to the heat that radiates from your sense of smugness.

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.

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