It is important for everyone's health to be warm at home, but it's crucial if you have a long term condition that may be worsened by cold conditions such as a circulatory problem like coronary heart disease, or a breathing problem such as asthma or COPD (chronic obstrutive pulmonary disease). Even sitting still for extedned periods during the day can lead to feeling cold, becoming stiff and increasing your risk of falling. Where appropriate, being as active as possible will help to keep you warm.
It is also important to have a safe heating system that you know how to control and that you have a well insulated property to keep the heat inside. Having a well insulated home can make you feel much warmer an will help to reduce your bills. Loft and wall insulation, draught-proofing and keeping curtains closed at night and open in the day will help you to keep your home warmer. Try to avoud keeping one room very warm and letting the rest of the house get very cold, sudden changes in temperature can cause problems.
Follow these tips to help reduce your costs, feel warm and keep healthy at home:
- Heat your living spaces to between 18 degrees and 21 degrees for a healthy home.
- Getting cavity walls insulated will make you feel warmer and could save you around £120 per year
- Loft insulation is easy to do DIY - see if a relative can install it for you
- Make sure your heating system is safe and serviced regularly
- Close your curtains at dusk to prevent heat loss through glass
- Open curtains in the morning to let sunlight warm your rooms for free
- Fit curtains that do not block radiators when closed
- Eat regularlt - your body needs food to keep you warm
- When sitting, keep your feet up as cooler air circulates at ground level
- Hot drinks are good at keeping you warm from the inside
Cold Weather and Winter Fuel Payments
A Cold Weather Payment helps towards the cost of heating your home when there is a spell of cold weather in the local area. Winter Fuel Payments are also available to people aged 60 years or over.
Heating and insulation
If you think that your home needs better heating and insulation but you aren't sure who to go to for help, or are worried about how to pay for it, there are organisations that may be able to help you.
90% of homes needing insulation will now get it free. See if your home is suitable for free insulation from British Gas by visiting the British Gas Website.
If you rent your home from a housing association or Thirteen, these organisations will usually be responsible for providing adequate heating and insulation in your home.
Small steps to keeping warm
The recommended temperature for the rooms in your home is 21 degrees C (70 degrees F). When temperatures start to drop outside, there are some simple things you can do to insulate your home which will make it cheaper to heat:
- Close your curtains to keep heat in. If you can, line your curtains with thermal lining fabric
- Have your heating system serviced regularly to make sure it is working properly. If you have a real fire in your home, be sure to get the chimney swept.
- Talk to your energy supplier if you are struggling to pay your bills. If everyone in your home is of pensionable age, your supplier should not cut you off during the winter months.
- Insulate your loft. Up to a third of the warmth generated by your heating system can be lost through the roof and walls of your home. Insulation in your loft or attic can keep your heating bills down. You may qualify for financial help towards insulating your home. Contact the Energy Saving Trust for advice.
- Draught-proof doors and windows as your home loses a lot of its heat through these, too. You may qualify for help towards the cost of draught-proofing. Visit the Energy Saving Trust website for more information.
- Lag your hot water tank and pipes to keep the heat in. You may be eligible for financial help towards lagging. Visit the Energy Saving Trust website for more information.