Meteorological autumn began on the 1st September, and with chilly nights not too far ahead, it's time to think about keeping your house warm. Cosy thoughts about hot chocolate and slippers aside, how do you keep warm – and keep the heating bills down?
Fuel saving specialists Firemizer have come up with some handy tips for keeping warm; luckily, they're a bit more sophisticated than putting on an extra jumper.
Cook plenty of hot food
Hot food keeps you warm longer – and proper, from-scratch slow-cooked food is absorbed by body over a longer period of time than fast food, making you feel fuller. It is also easier to cook for more than one evening if you are using a big casserole. Slow-cooking also pays off on really cold nights when turning the heating on would've been inevitable; instead of cranking up the radiators, let the stove heat your home as your dinner is simmering away.
Swap lamps with candles
Re-introduce the romance of candles into your home and see your electricity bill go right down. A well-poured candle with a regularly trimmed wick can give off a surprisingly bright and steady light, and in a small room, a large candle can even add a bit of heat. It goes without saying that lit candles should never be left unattended; also, if you have a pet, be careful with strongly scented candles containing essential oils, as they can harm animals. Choose plain wax instead.
This tip is as old as the hills, but still relevant: switch off lights when leaving the room; switch off appliances you're not using, especially as you are leaving for work in the morning; turn off plugs that are not in use. It all adds up, trust us.
Re-discover the heat-regulating properties of wool
Everyone associates cold weather with cosy, woolly clothes and covers, and with good reason. Of all natural materials, wool possesses the most impressive thermal regulating properties, keeping you cool when it's warm and vice versa. Different types of wool rate differently on their ability to keep you warm, with alpaca wool being the best, due to the hollow structure of its fibres. If you love your cashmere, be wary of cheap options, as they are lower in quality and are often produced without any animal welfare standards.
Cold in bed? Consider using a wool-filled duvet; wool is just as warm to sleep under as feather and down, but it won't let your body overheat. It's cheaper than down, too.
Heat only the areas of the house you are using
Heating the whole house up when you are only using the living room is a waste of energy and money. Using a thermostat can help you keep your heating bills down, as can using thermostatic radiator valves so you can set different temperatures in different rooms. You can also use them to quickly turn off the radiators in areas of the house that don't need heating.
Be clever about burning fuel if you have a fireplace
If you are a lucky owner of a fireplace or wood-burning stove, consider the efficiency (and environmental impact) of your fuel use. A Firemizer can improve the efficiency of your wood burning by 38 per cent, and limit emissions by an impressive 72 per cent. A panel of mesh made from steel alloys, it works by spreading the fire evenly in your fireplace or stove, making better use of the wood, and making your fire feel warmer. A Firemizer costs £19.99 and lasts for an impressive 500 hours.