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Keeping warm

(147 Posts)
Luckygirl Thu 07-Oct-21 22:22:40

There was a lady interviewed on the news today who was very worried about the predicted rise in fuel bills - and I felt very sorry for her.

But I was perplexed by something she said about how awful it was that she had to wear a cardigan about the house. I cannot remember her exact words but it sounded as though she felt this was a cause for concern.

I can remember when I was still working I used to visit homes in the middle of the winter and people were dressed in T-shirts and I often thought about what their heating bills must be like. Their heating was turned up to a level where a T-shirt was sufficient.

When winter arrives, indoors I will be wearing: long-sleeved vest, long-sleeved polo neck, thick jumper, cardigan, and leggings under my jeans. I still have the heating on, but hopefully not as much or as high.

I think we will all need to accept the need to wear more layers indoors. I am lucky enough to be able to afford to pay my bills, so I do not share the anxiety that this poor woman had. But I suspect that there needs to be a change in how we heat our homes - some of the heat can come from clothes. It would also go towards saving the planet.

M0nica Sat 16-Oct-21 21:51:41

EmilyHarburn My daughter has one of those robes you link to. She is a wild swimmer all year round and has this on the bank so that as soon as she gets out of the water she can put a warm layer over her swimsuit and then get into the car and have a hot drink.

oodles Sat 16-Oct-21 12:39:44

Cashmere is lovely for light warmth. If you are a bit canny you can get affordable cashmere. If you ebay buy sometimes you can strike lucky, I've bought lovely scarves and jumpers cheaper than a new primark acrylic jumper. You have to be a bit dedicated though, but it's possible. I've bought random coloured cashmere socks on amazon, much cheaper than deciding you want blue ones. A good place to get warm cashmere stuff is turtle doves, they recycle old cashmere sweaters, they do wristwarmers and fingerless gloves and lok out for sales and offers, and go for random colours they can be a lot cheaper. They make a big difference, I got my first pair from a charity shop and loved them so much I got more. They do scarves, wraps, etc, bigger you go the dearer obviously. If you have an old jumper or cardi beyond repair or whatever, send to them and they will send you a pair, and use the rest for their scarves etc. The other bargain cashmere I had was in a bag left out in the rain just before Christmas one year outside a charity bin. I saw it was jumpers and thought that it would. Get chucked, it couldn't be put in the bin even if there was room and would probably spoil the dry stuff that was in there
I took the bag home and washed and dried the clothes, most. Of the stuff went to a charity shop after Christmas, it was nice stuff. But I kept a cashmere jumper.
Frozen pipes were a thing, if you were in a house with uninsulated Pipes it was a real possibility and they could. Do a lot of damage. Frozen pipes in the loft. Could bring a ceiling down, and at best ruin clothes, bedding, furniture. Lived in a room. In such a house from the 30s one winter. The wallpaper was brown stained and the landlord said a previous person had thrown a cup of tea at his wife
It wasn't, the pipes had frozen. It happened and soaked the bed, and the carpet, and anything in contact with the damp, the landlords brother gave me some money for the electric to help dry it out, and said it had happened before and he'd try and get landlord to lag the pipes so it would t happen again. False economy not to lag as you needed a plumber and to dry out where it was wet. Old lagging was strips of sacking stuff, now it is foamy stuff that is really easy to fit. If you have pipes in the loft and the loft is pretty well insulated, the loft will be cold and pipes need lagging.

Dehumidifiers are great too as they can take the chill off a house, if you ever dry clothing inside using a dehumidifier can cut down on the amount of heat needed, and it is much cheaper. A relative who lives in a stone house on the top of a cold hill in the North finds that using one means much less heat needed, even if you don't have clothes drying, as you breathe out damp all day, back in the day with no central heating and single glazing jack frost came in the night and froze this moisture into pretty patterns on the window.

Blondiescot Tue 12-Oct-21 18:51:57

For anyone who loves a hot water bottle, Costco are currently selling long length ones with lovely soft fluffy covers. Bought one yesterday.

GillT57 Tue 12-Oct-21 18:49:06

We love our air fryer, bought on a whim from the middle of Lidl, just £29.99. Great for battered fish, scampi, chips, quick dinner cooked in 10-15 minutes, the time it takes even a fan oven to heat up.

Aldom Tue 12-Oct-21 18:29:46

Hi MOnica, Thank you for the info. re Air fryers. Interestingly I regularly do potatoes that way, but using the oven. I've considered an air fryer in order to save on electricity. I'll do some research. smile

Shandy57 Tue 12-Oct-21 18:15:00

My best friend sent me a Tower air fryer, it's fantastic, very quick and only one little pan to 'wipe' clean. The very old electric oven the seller left takes about ten minutes to heat up, I've eaten a lot of biscuits by the time it's reached the right temperature!

M0nica Tue 12-Oct-21 18:11:49

Jan I just went into Currys and bought the cheapest, on the basis that if it was a waste of space I woldn't have wasted much money.

I bought a small one, which works well for two. I dice potatoes, spray them with oil and they are cooked in 15 minutes. If you want to be posh, they are known as pomme parmentier. I also heated two slices of quiche, cooked fishcakes and heated other things.

I am still exporing what else I can do with it. It cost me £20 in the sales.

Aldom Tue 12-Oct-21 18:00:16

Which air fryer do you recommend, please MOnica?

M0nica Tue 12-Oct-21 16:25:02

Ah, the joys of a new house. Yes, heat pumps work best with underfloor heating. This is the problem. 99+% of housing is not new and under floor heating requires the whole of the ground floor to be dug up. If you have a newish house (like our brand new extension, there is a only a few inches of concrete before you reach the underfloor insulation, how you retrofit under floor heating in those circumstances I am not sure.

A good replacement for an electric oven for most warming processes is an air fryer. Yesterday I reheated some slices of quiche from frozen, They are ideal for things you want to reheat but go soggy in a microwave like bread rolls.

effalump Tue 12-Oct-21 14:26:39

I'll probably still wear a t-shirt as I've felt as though I carry my own personal radiator ever since going through menopause.

However, this winter I will leave my heating on just enough to stop any pipes from freezing and I now have inherited a cupboard full of fleece blankets from my dear old mum. I'm also trying not to use the electric oven unless I'm batch cooking for an entire week.

SueDonim Tue 12-Oct-21 13:27:01

I think you’ve said you have a very old house, so I can imagine the chill winds that come down a massive old fireplace! grin

I was chatting to a local couple who’ve built a new house recently. It has an air source heat pump (too expensive to drill through granite for ground source!) and a wood burner. Downstairs is underfloor heating and they said they dithered about putting radiators upstairs, in the end deciding not to and hope for the best. It’s turned out that they really don’t need upstairs heating because with the tip-top insulation and heating downstairs, the whole house is comfortably warm.

They thought they’d need the stove as back up but it’s really now just a decorative item. The air source units are supposed to work down to minus 15. This area had temps of minus 17 last winter and daytime temps of minus 11 but the two units kept working away merrily even though they were covered in ice!

I guess the thing with this new technology is that we’re learning all the time. 👍

M0nica Tue 12-Oct-21 09:48:59

We were lucky, we have a great big open fireplace (so you can imagine the drafts and, yes, the rain!) so fitting a stove was simple and having the chimney closed down to just the flu made a lot of difference.

Shandy57 Mon 11-Oct-21 20:36:44

We had two woodburners, two open fires and an aga downstairs at the station. There were two open fireplaces upstairs, two were blocked off. We had been put off by scaffolding costs to have the unused chimneys capped but I wish we'd found the money, when it was a downwind the draft was freezing and when it rained it used to plink plonk onto the grate, especially bad in my bedroom.

MamaCaz Mon 11-Oct-21 20:28:30

We have an open fire, only used occasionally, but block the chimney when it's not in use, to prevent heat loss.

SueDonim Mon 11-Oct-21 20:03:48

We looked into installing a stove but the tsunami of work that would ensue made it out of the question. sad The antique fireplace is a centimetre too low for the safety regulations. That would mean ripping it out (and I’d hate to do that because it’s unusual and I love it) and also the hearth. We’d then have to make good the walls and replace the fireplace, hearth and the nearly-new carpet.

Financially, it didn’t make sense and would mean a lot of waste so it couldn’t be justified.

M0nica Mon 11-Oct-21 15:21:09

One of the many reasons we replaced our open fire with a stove was the heatloss up the chimney. With a stove the chimney is blanked off entirely, except where the flue from stove to chimney goes through.

SueDonim Mon 11-Oct-21 15:15:49

Noise, not house!

SueDonim Mon 11-Oct-21 15:15:15

Speaking of chimneys, I can thoroughly recommend a Chimney Sheep.

I use one in my chimney when we don’t have the fire (which is mostly only at weekends) and the difference is extraordinary. You know when you buy something, thinking that really, it’s just a gimmick? Well, this isn’t a gimmick, it works! Our chimney is also placed so that up the wind makes so much noise that it times we can’t hear each other speak. This cuts out 90% of house too.

And no, I don’t have any connections to the company, I’m just a happy customer.,

M0nica Mon 11-Oct-21 15:08:31

Hetty58 Most old houses do not have thick walls. Look at all those 19th centtury terraces and semi detached houses, to be found in almost every city , town and village in Britain. Look at all the Georgian and earlier houses Many Gerogian houses have very thin walls, so do most of those quaint village houses with their undulating walls and roofs. Many of those have walls that are only inches thick.

When we moved in to our current home, in places the external walls were only 2 inches thick, one whole exterior wall was only 4 inch thick, the thickness of one brick. Many older houses were built before chimneys were common in houses (like ours) and the chimney and breast are a later add on, usually built on an outside wall. .

We are lucky our huge chimney was built in the middle of the house, but it only becomes any kind of heat sink when we have the stove burning for 4 days or more. The last time that happened was when we were without gas for 10 days, Normally it is a Sunday afternoon only stove. Anyway, any advantage of the chimney is mitigated by the thin exterior walls and single glazed windows, although we have put in some internal wall insulation and do have some double glazed windows.

Look at all those really old stately homes, like Hardwick Hall, all glass and thin walls. My immediate reaction when I first visited was: 'This house must be absolutely freezing in winter'

Yes there are old houses with thick walls and heavy chimney breasts, but they are the minority.

EmilyHarburn Mon 11-Oct-21 14:49:22

I expect to wear a few layers in winter in doors. Often an an extra gilet or now I have a marvelous microfiber beach robe. an expensive one but these would be OK. its nicer than a blanket as it comes with me as I make a drink during the commercials

Gabrielle56 Mon 11-Oct-21 11:54:57


I'm with Riverwalk as I dislike wearing a lot of clothes indoors in winter although I do wear more and often have a knee rug in the evening. We chose to buy a new build house for the efficient heating and insulation. We chose not to purchase the fire place option with additional gas fire as we thought that was wasteful. The thing I hate is having to wear socks but it will be necessary in the next few weeks I'm sure.

Well you pays yer money , yer takes yer choice! We moderate our heating, usually no higher than 22c and were brought up with indoors icicles etc etc. But because we're ok with wearing winter clothes winter- we're able to spend on other stuff, like a luxury new hybrid car, 5star breaks, really good food etc. So I much prefer a higher standard of living as opposed to dressing like I'm on a beach in middle of winter and crippling bills!

Hetty58 Mon 11-Oct-21 11:07:35

M0nica, old houses with their thick walls and hefty chimneys have so much thermal mass that they just don't suffer from rapid fluctuations in temperature.

Cool in heatwaves and warm in cold snaps - lovely. I'm making some old fashioned solid wooden shutters for the downstairs loo, as I know it's only chilly in there, at night, due to heat loss through the window.

Hetty58 Mon 11-Oct-21 10:42:32

Shandy57, the 'pipes freezing' situation sounds familiar. Of course, there's only one pipe left in the loft now, since the boiler was changed - and no tanks either. The insulation is above the pipe (not below) so it will never freeze.

Whitewavemark2 Mon 11-Oct-21 08:26:55

Our night temperature is set at 15c

M0nica Mon 11-Oct-21 07:29:37

Pipes only burst if the indoor temperatures fall below 0 degrees for hours on end, which shouldn't happen in any house with CH, and would be highly unlikely in a house built as recently as 1988.

We live in a house built in 1467, which we have insulated as much as we can. We have a froststat setting on our CH which automatically turns the heating on if the internal temperature falls to 15 degrees. To the best of my knowledge, no matter how cold it is outside, the indoor temperature has never fallen that low, even though the heating is off for 8 hours overnight and 6.5 hours during the day.