Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Heating your house

Two Children Bring Home a Barrow-Load of Firewood for the Christmas Fire by E. Blume
Two Children Bring Home a Barrow-Load of Firewood for the Christmas Fire

As far as the heating challenge is concerned, we are in month 2 without central heating. The children have their incentive payments to consider and have adapted well to the new setup.

What follows is a practical list of short and long term solutions to cutting the need and the cost for heating :

The emphasis is on conserving energy ( reducing consumption) and maximising savings on the cost of energy.

Ensure that the house is insulated and that windows and doors are draught proof.
Place a thermometer in your main room and try and keep the temperature at between 65 and 70f or 18 and 21 Celsius.

I am not sure on the science behind this but heating for short periods all winter through makes the boilers work very hard and you just about heat the air and take the chill off.If you put your central heating on, put it on constant for 12 hours ( not at night) and then switch to timed in short bursts throughout the day ,the temperature will remain at a constant level and the boiler does not have to work hard to maintain the temperature. It requires experimenting with in your home with your particular heating system.

Dress adequately. Our teenage son often complains that it is cold but turns up in his shirt and flip flops. It is of course not cool to wear anything else...... Heat yourself first and then the room.

Woodburners are an effective method of heating large open spaces. Make sure the wood is dry and stockpiled over the summer months. The woodburner also heats the kettle on top so we no longer need to boil a kettle for that very important cup of tea. The air dries out quite a bit with the woodburner but drying clothes in the same room overnight tends to counteract that quite effectively. To heat several rooms with the woodburner we apply the principle that when you create an air current, the hot air goes up and cold air rushes in to replace it. We can heat the downstairs of the house quite effectively with the woodburner and the upstairs lounge by keeping the door at the top of the stairs open.

Heat the rooms you use. Our bedrooms are not heated, nor are the corridors. The bathroom is currently unheated apart from a towel rail as I dislike damp towels and that is probably the only room we really feel the chill. It also cuts down on the time spent in the shower.

Purchase your heating oil or gas in the summer if you are on liquid gas and oil. Shop around for the best price of gas and electric. We purchase a load of logs at the end of August and at the beginning of January which carries us through the winter. Our lean to conservatory in winter doubles up as the log store. We also are not too proud to use any cuttings from shrubs saved over the summer( they need to dry out) branches found on walks, fallen down trees and old kitchen cabinets that are going free on free cycle. ( You need a jigsaw saw or other type of saw to cut these up into smaller pieces).

No need to use a shredder for personal information. All such items can be scrunched up into small balls and make effective firelighters. Shop paper towels and toilet rolls are used in the compost bin but we also have a paper bin next to the fire for anything that is paper related.

The savings we are making are being used to improve insulation of both the house and ourselves, give a proportion to the children and save the rest. This year we will effectively insulate the roof based on the savings made of not using central heating throughout the winter. The only exception we will make will be the 14 days around the holiday season when we have guests.

When you visit other people's homes you need to dress down again. We went for supper at a friend's house and literally got too red for comfort. From this we noticed that we had acclimatised to a lower temperature and were finding a centrally heated home with open fire just too much.

If you cannot afford to heat your home, spend time in the library and other free public places as they get heated. The library is a good place to sit and read in comfort. Be warned that spending time in heated places will make you feel the cold when you get back home.

Take a walk each day to boost your circulation. When you come back from a walk in the cold air, you immediately feel warm coming home.

The important thing is not about depravation of heat but about finding what level of heat is sensible and healthy for you. If you are active and young you are less likely to feel as cold as a housebound elderly person who moves slowly and whose metabolism is slower. In essence it is about balancing your needs with the resources available. Many older people worry about the cost of heating their homes. The smaller the home, the more your money will stretch.


Anonymous said...

One economy you don't mention is that people who use oil for their heating should club together to bulk buy. This can provide a significant price discount.

Anne said...

Excellent point Thank You

timx said...

By the way, I didn't mean to be 'anonymous'!