Blog | 22nd May, 2013

How to be as snug as a bug in a rug this winter

Whether you’re a renter or an owner there’s plenty you can do to batten down the hatches before winter descends. But before we begin, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the golden rule of thermal physiology – dress appropriately for the season! You don’t need any fancy stats (or a thermostat) to prove that a jumper keeps you warm. Add some woolly socks and a nice warm beanie and you’re on your way.

1. Snuggle up

Forget electric blankets. Find yourself a hot water bottle – or even better, a friendly person – to snuggle up with! Just be sure to follow these safety tips >

2. Eco-cise

Before you turn your home into a tropical sweat-lodge,get your body moving to generate some heat. And try cycling to work. It may seem counter-intuitive, but riding in winter can really warm you up. In fact there’s a range of products which you can attach to your bike to generate power while you pedal.

3. Use heavy curtains and pelmets to stop heat escaping from your windows

Up to 40 per cent of the heat escaping from your home in winter is from uncovered windows. If you’re a green machine you can try double-glazing, but for all you green beans, curtains and pelmets will prove more cost-effective. Heavy, lined curtains which extend below the window frame will insulate your windows and help keep the warmth in, while pelmets will prevent cold air coming in. Pelmets are those boxes which sit over your curtain rod. If you don’t have them, a cheap alternative is to stick a draught snake, heavy blanket or towel on top of your curtain rod. Check out our DIY guide >

5. Install insulation in your house (or top up old and thinning insulation)

A well-insulated house can use as much as 45% less energy for heating and cooling, which means that insulation pays for itself in cheaper bills. With energy prices constantly on the rise, installing insulation now is a smart way of avoiding excessive bills in the future. Worried about the safety of insulation? Get the low down here >

6. Seal up gaps and cracks that let the cold air in

In your average Victorian home, if you added up all the cracks and gaps, it would be the equivalent of having a 1 metre by 1.5 metre window open all the time. They can account for 15 – 25 percent of heat loss in your home. Seal up cracks and gaps using weather stripping around doors and windows, gap filler for cracks in the walls and even a good ol’ door snake for the bottom of the door. You can buy all of these things at your local hardware store, for not much money. Or you can score one in the prize pack if you leave us a tip here >

7. Use your heating wisely

If you’re using heating, only heat the rooms you’re using to around 20ºC in winter, a comfortable temperature for most people. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat on your heater, place a thermometer in your living area to keep an eye on the temperature. And remember to put on a jumper before turning up the heat.

If you can’t insulate your room or block draughts, it will be hard to heat the whole room, especially with a small electric heater. In this case you are better off sitting near the heater, so it at least keeps you warm. Furniture can’t feel the cold so why waste energy heating areas that you’re not using. And don’t leave your heater or cooling system running all night or while you’re out. Turn it off or install a timer.

8. Let the sunshine in during the day

If you have any north facing windows, open up their curtains when it’s sunny to let the sun heat up your house for you.

9. Insulate hot water pipes

Wrap external hot water pipes with simple lagging (insulating tape) to reduce the heat loss from your hot water tank to the taps, and reduce the energy needed to get your hot water. It can be bought cheaply from your local hardware shop.

10. Maintain your heaters

Getting your heater serviced professionally at least every two years will keep it running more efficiently. Keeping heaters free of dust and cleaning any filters regularly will also help. Check out our guide to the most sustainable heaters here