As the weather is set to plummet, following month of erratic and stormy weather, keeping your house warm is more important than ever! Gas and electric bills have risen significantly in recent months too and sadly it looks like they will continue to rise. So what can we do to deal with this? To protect our families and to help the vulnerable? Retirement property experts McCarthy Stone have come up with some terrific share for keeping our homes warm – especially during this challenging time…
1) Choosing the right property
According to Craven & Company, the property market is far more adaptive in the winter months, with sellers motivated to sell, offers more likely to be accepted and better deals. When looking to rent or buy, opting for a top floor flat could be a good choice as top floor flats retain more heat as heat rises.
Despite the popularity of period properties, they are often draughty and poor at retaining heat. For those wanting to keep down costly expenses, it may be wise to opt for a new-build property which are generally easier to heat. Another benefit of new developments is that utility costs can sometimes be kept down by pooling contracts for each development into a single contract.
Before moving, ask important questions to ensure that your new home is well insulated. Features such as insulated wall cavities, hot water cylinders and pipes, as well as loft insulation will not only keep you warm but will also help to keep your energy costs down.
2) Simple hacks to keep the heat in
If you want to stop the dreaded draughts from creeping in during chillier months, there are simple adjustments you can make to the home. Fitting draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors can help to keep the heat in.
Similarly, if you can’t heat all rooms, either opt for an electric heater or fireplace, or only turn the radiators on in the rooms you use the most, such as the living room in the daytime and the bedroom in the evenings.
Shut doors and close curtains at dusk to keep the heat generated inside your rooms. You also want to make sure that your radiators are not obstructed by curtains or furniture to allow the heat to circulate properly.
3) Saving money on your energy bills
March’s cold weather comes in the same period as Ofgem’s energy price cap review, in which the regulator alerted customers that they can expect their energy bills to increase by 54% by April. Unlike previous advice to switch providers, the Citizen’s Advice Guide warns that it may be worth staying on your default tariff right now, because there aren’t as many cheap deals available.
For those born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 from the government to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’, and those who receive state pensions or benefits are automatically eligible.
Cold temperatures are set to trigger the Cold Weather Payment, which means that people claiming certain benefits will be eligible to receive £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1st November and 31st March. Check if you can get a payment in your area.
4) Look after existing health issues
Cold weather can also aggravate symptoms in those with health conditions. Speaking on easing arthritis in cold weather, expert Dr Fiona Chikusu, said: “People tend to get arthritis flare-ups in the winter, but the reason why is not known, although there are many theories.
“A quick and cost-effective way to make arthritis feel better in the winter is to wear lots of layers and loose layers that will help to trap body heat.
Wrap up with gloves, scarves, hats and warm socks. Also, hand warmers tend to be helpful for anyone who has arthritis in their hands. Some people find that massaging lotion or oil into the joints can help too. If you’re at home, a warm bath can also be good.”
If you are caring for another person during periods of extreme cold weather and have concerns for their wellbeing, you can keep ahead of the weather by checking the latest weather forecast and temperature warnings.