Ready for winter?

As everyone knows, the long range weather forecast is rarely worth the paper it is printed on, so whether they are forecasting big freezes or the mildest winter since records began is really fairly immaterial. But it is worth doing a bit of work around the house to winter-proof it, especially following the reasonably mild weather that the UK has enjoyed this year so far.

heat loss diagram

Draughty windows

You can easily lose a lot of heat out of an ill-fitting window and you can just as easily stop the loss. There are various films you can attach across a window, taping it down and shrinking it to fit with a hair dryer but most people would agree that it looks totally hideous and it is a bit of a moot point whether you save that much when you allow for wastage and the cost of the hairdryer in the first place! The very best way of stopping draughts from windows is to draw the curtains and this works in all but the room you use in the day – it might be a bit gloomy in there, it’s true. If draughty doors are your problem, some draught excluder will soon stop the loss of warm air and a hall runner pushed up against the bottom of a front door will make a huge difference to the whole house.

Stripped floorboards can cause cold rooms

Stripped floor with stripe rugs

Stripped floors look lovely and many people have done just that but if you don't also take care to caulk between the boards you can lose an unbelievable amount of heat that way. If you live in a rented property and the landlord is unwilling to do the job or let you do it, you can stop most of the loss with some thick shaggy rugs, especially in front of sofas and near doors. If you are buying traditional rugs, buy the biggest size you can afford and run them under furniture to make the savings in wasted heat even better. And don't forget the hallway, where even an inexpensive carpet runner can keep drafts to a minimum.

You feel warmer with warm feet

Obviously being warm or cold is not all about psychology, but it is also true that if you feet, hands and head are cold you feel much more shivery all over. A thick modern wool rug by the bed so you sink your toes in it first thing in the morning will make you feel warmer from the offset, so you start the day right.