As the days get colder, more and more of us will be switching our heating on and trying to stay warm in our homes. For many of us, we think about this just in terms of our personal comfort, however living in a cold home for whatever reason can lead to health and well–being issues.
According to the Centre for Sustainable Energy, problems “linked to the cold range from blood pressure increases and common colds, to heart attacks and pneumonia.” It can also make certain health issues worse, such as arthritis, and lead to mental health issues too. A cold home can cause condensation and damp, leading to mould, which can cause respiratory problems to worsen. This is now more important than ever with the risk of COVID-19, especially for those already vulnerable or living in cold homes.
If you struggle to keep warm during the colder months, whether that is due to financial difficulties or personal reasons, here are five tips to keep warm and healthy over the winter:
- Keep your home between 19-21˚ Celsius during the day. This is the recommended temperature for health, any lower during the day may decrease your resistance to respiratory diseases. If you have a programmer, set this so there is a constant temperature in your home, and you will not need to turn the thermostat up any higher.
- If you are worried about keeping your heating on because of the bills, there are a number of things you can do. First, look into switching your energy supplier using a comparison website such as Green Energy Switch or Uswitch, to find a cheaper rate or special deal. The cheapest payment method is usually direct debit, so if you do not pay through direct debit it may save you money to switch.
- If you have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your home, consider the suggested improvements. Now is a great time to look into getting insulation done or low-carbon heating installed, because the government is offering a Green Homes Grant to all homeowners in England. The grant covers two-thirds or the full cost of the installation depending on your circumstances, and both of these options will significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home to keep you warm and your bills low. For more information on this, visit the Simple Energy Advice website.
- Consider a smart meter. Smart meters are really great tools to be able to keep track of your energy usage and know what is using the most energy. They also take away the hassle of having to send meter readings manually to your energy supplier, but still keeping your bills accurate.
- Take simple steps to keep warm. For example, closing your curtains when it begins to get dark will better insulate the home; have at least one hot meal a day; keep active in the home; and use items such as draught excluders and tape to reduce draughts from doors and windows.