7

Since winter is near, can someone suggest some practical ways to get warm at home without spending too much in gas or electricity? Also for every solution, please add if it can be done homemade and what the approximate costs are?

More information: the problem of my home now is that it is using gas-water heating system, but this consumes a lot of gas and the actual walls are not very isolated against external. I wanted to avoid the use of gas or find any better solution.

  • 1
    I've given some general thoughts in an answer, but if you can give any more specifics about your situation you might get more tightly focussed answers. – Flyto Oct 9 '14 at 10:06
  • If you ever use space heaters, consider more efficient kinds, like reflective heaters. – Shule Oct 21 '14 at 3:00
15

There are two main categories to consider here.

The first is to improve the efficiency of how your home is kept warm - either by increasing the efficiency of the heating system, or by reducing the rate at which warmth is lost to the outside. If your home is quite "leaky" then major gains can be made this way quite cheaply. Other answers to this and other questions have given some guidance on this.

The second is to think about ways to reduce the need for heating your home. Things that you could consider (some of which are probably obvious):

  • Wear warmer clothing at home.
  • If you use heating in your bedroom during the night, turn it off. If you find yourself waking up due to the cold, invest in warmer blankets or duvet, or warm pyjamas. Except in the coldest and leakiest houses, in harsh climates, bedroom heating is often not strictly necessary - although using some "comfort" heating in the mornings certainly makes it easier to get out of bed! A hot water bottle can help to alleviate the discomfort of a cold bed until your body heat warms it up.
  • If you do want to heat your bedroom, then use an electric blanket to heat the bed, and your body, rather than warming the whole room. NB ensure that this is in good condition and observe safety instructions. Note, however, that some sources do not recommend living at below 16C - although it is not clear whether this applies to sleeping as well as waking conditions.
  • Don't heat rooms that you don't use (depending on climate, you may want to keep a background level of heating to prevent mould or freezing). If you live in many rooms, consider whether you can live in fewer.
  • Don't heat corridors or hallways - instead, close the door of the room that you're in.

Bear in mind that being cold at home can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. None of the above should be construed as "live with being uncomfortably cold" - instead, think of it as suggestions on how to remain comfortable while using less energy.

  • great tips thank you. the problem of my home now is that it is using gas-water heating system, but this consumes a lot of gas and the actual walls are not very isolated agains external – albanx Oct 9 '14 at 10:12
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    @albanx I recommend editing this information into the question - you may get some more specific advice. – Flyto Oct 9 '14 at 10:16
  • Overnight room temperature does matter. There is an increased risk of respiratory disease when the temperature drops below 16 degrees C. Preventing health problems is generally less costly than treating them. – Highly Irregular Oct 11 '14 at 22:20
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    @HighlyIrregular hmm, that article doesn't specifically mention sleep - I read it as "don't keep your house below 16C in general". this study seems to suggest (at least from the abstract) that <16C can hinder sleep, but that depends on what it considers "normal" pyjamas & bedclothes. I'll edit something in, anyway. – Flyto Oct 12 '14 at 9:16
12

A: Insulate your attic. This can be done in an afternoon. Put 12-16" total in that space.

B: Seal the leaks: Weatherstrip the doors and openable windows. All electrical outlets are punctures in the outside wall. You can buy gaskets for them, or you can make them out of the styrofoam meat trays you get from the grocery store.

C: Heat shrink plastic the windows. This is another kit. Each layer of plastic adds 1 R unit.

After that the changes get more expensive.

  • 2
    D. Wear a sweater E. Only heat the rooms you are in – THelper Oct 9 '14 at 7:23
4

To give you an idea of costs:

If you're in the UK, you can often get grants for insulating your loft and walls, so each should cost about £100. You will make that back in savings pretty quickly. I didn't do this, and paid for loft insulation, which cost about £250, which still gives you savings in heating quite rapidly. Basically it's the equivalent of wearing a jumper on a cold day (compared with not wearing one).

You can buy a seal for about £5 to go around doors and windows to plug any gaps. This will stop draughts so that you can keep the warm air in for longer. You can also buy 'window film' which is a clear plastic that you can put over windows to make them like double-glazed windows. This also costs about £5 and covers 2-3 windows.

To buy an electric blanket costs about £20 and it can cost as little as 1p per hour to run.

Of course, there are other suggestions such as closing the curtains when it gets dark, which can also help.

Also in the UK there is the 'green deal' which means that you may be able to make improvements to the house - such as putting in a new boiler - and the cost is covered by the reduction in your energy bills. Your bills themselves won't reduce, but the money you're saving will go to pay back the company which fitted the improvement in the first place. You may need to pay around £100-£150 for a survey though.

3

Some perhaps unusual ideas that I use myself, the principle being that it's not your home that wants to be warm, it's your human body that wants to be.

  • Drink lots of hot water (I drink tea myself, but probably hot water or any other hot drink is just as good).

  • Exercise frenetically for 5-10 minutes every time you get cold, to get heated up. You get healthier, you save heating bills, and the environment takes a little bit less of a hit. Win-win all around.

0

I am not allowed to comment, thus as an answer: One can also eat hot spicy noodle soup rich in chilli, for 50 cents each. Very effective!

  • nice one :). what about then of bottle of whiskey – albanx Nov 23 '14 at 11:13
  • Yeah, not cheap though! – Rainer Glüge Nov 23 '14 at 13:11
  • But then if you start sweating you can actually become colder. – Kenny LJ Dec 29 '14 at 17:44

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