Push Back the First Day that You Turn the Heating On

Living alone makes me more aware that I am completely responsible for my 50 square meters.  In my old flat heat came from the grannies above and below, so I rarely needed to turn on the heating in my own room except when it hit below minus 15 degrees centigrade outside.  Now I control all heaters and I am not yet feeling the love from the neighbours, but maybe they are also eco conscious.  Here are ways to push back the day that you turn on the heating for the first time this winter.

1)      Putting more layers on is like your own personal triple glazing. Instead of warming your whole environment you trap your natural heat acting like your own hot water bottle.  When I get up to about 4 t-shirts, 2 jumpers and a dressing gown I consider turning on the heating.

2)      Bolt the Windows.

  • Put thick thermal curtains up.  Thanks again Gran for improving my thin curtains with some insulation material.
  • Try not to cover radiators with curtains as that really does not make any sense.
  • Replace your windows.  Double glazing was yesterday.  You can now get triple or even quadruple glazing.  For Reasons why see point 2.
  • Check that the gap between the frame and the window is tight.  Did that today.  You can buy sticky back insulation that you just stick to the frame of the window improving the connection.
  • Draw curtains at dusk.  Partly due to shorter days, but also a weaker sun the chance for the atmosphere to warm up during winter is decreased. Long nights also mean that it has longer to cool.  Drawing the curtains means that you trap the won heat from the sun during the day in your flat.

Turn down the heating. Image courtesy of oilburnerguide.com


3)      Get a flatmate.  It does not only make heating your flat more economical but provides an extra human radiator. The closer you get the higher the energy savings.

4)      Check your insulation.  Many old buildings have inner cavities that are easier to fill up with insulation.  Even old houses without cavities can have the insulation bolted on outside.  A lot of this type of insulation has recently been going up in my city.

5)      Get draught excluders or even make one yourself. That was my weekend activity.  All you need is a piece of fabric that you sow into a rectangle.  Turn it inside out and fill with rice, lentils or even better save the calories for fueling your engine and instead use scraps of material that you may have lying around.

6)      Eat seasonally.  Eating southern grown salad cools the body partly due to the high water content, but also due to the foods tending to be lower in fats that are needed during the winter in higher doses.  Therefore stay seasonal.  I am a great believer in James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis that world is a single organism.  Therefore the planet produces the foods that keep the animals warm in winter and cool in summer.

7)      Air briefly. Now some of my female friends have complained that my flat smells stale, but that is only because I am economical with fresh air.  That is not really true.  Two quilts are on my bed so that I can keep the window open when I sleep, but if you are sensitive to the cold or to high heating bills consider airing for short bursts.  Also getting a flow going, i.e. by opening opposite windows, is more effective.  Make sure that your heating is off otherwise your radiator will go into overdrive.

8)      Don’t get used to it being boiling warm. The simplest way is not to get used to heating.  Your body is effective in regulating its temperature.  By increasing the environmental temperature you are reducing the body’s need to adapt.

Follow these tips and you will have a warmer, more economical and greener Winter.

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