It’s safe to say that the cold weather is here, but not to worry, as we have our warm, cosy homes to keep us comfortable throughout winter. However, a recent survey of 1,000 people, carried out by iCount, reveals that some households are having to choose between heating their homes or feeding the family – due to financial restrictions.
Find out more about some of the sacrifices that UK households are making and what can be done in order to start living a comfortable and healthy lifestyle. If you, like many others, have concerns over your finances and are missing out on your basic rights because of it, there are plenty of ways to eradicate these winter worries.
Limiting the heating can impact your family and your home
As part of the survey, individuals were asked when they tend to turn their central heating on, and the results found that October and November were the most popular months to do so. The survey also discovered that almost three quarters of households left it as long as possible before turning their heating on; even after they had started to feel the cold. In fact, 20% of households are waiting until December to March before choosing to warm up their home, when temperatures are at their worst!
Although putting on a jumper might help to keep you warm, other family members might feel the cold more than you. Elderly relatives are especially prone to colder weather, as are children. So the next time you feel the chill, they will probably be feeling it even more. Heating the home plays an important part in keeping you and your family happy and healthy. Whilst it might add a few more pounds onto your energy bills, a happy, healthy family is paramount.
It’s not just your family that are affected by the lack of heating, but your house too. Without heat during the winter months, walls can gather damp which, left untreated, can result in costly repairs.
Top Tip: Make sure your home is always at least 18°C, to help keep the home nice and dry.
Do your heating choices cause friction in the family?
As mentioned earlier, different people feel the cold at different times and to different extents during the winter. The chances are, your heating decisions could be affecting other household members. In fact, iCount’s research found that nearly half of household experience some form of disagreement or argument, due to heating decisions.
It seems that women are able to stand the cold for longer than men, with 72% of women waiting much longer until they turn the heating on, compared to 65% of men.
Heating or eating seems to be a drastic but real-life decision
It was astonishing to discover that a third of households in the UK are regularly having to choose between enjoying good quality meals or having the heating on in their home. Because of their finances, decisions on whether to pay extra for heating bills or provide nutritious meals are affecting families health and happiness.
Making the decision to heat or eat should never be an option, as both are essential in keeping your family safe. Instead, why not start introducing a few of the helpful tips below into your day to day routine? While it might take some time to see a difference, they can drastically improve the cost of your bills and allow you some financial stability, all whilst enjoy a warm home and some hearty winter food.
Helpful tips to enjoy food AND heating
- Reduce your water usage by running the taps only when needed
- Alternate between quick showers one day and relaxing showers the next
- Keep a large jug of water in the fridge, rather than using the tap every time you want a drink
Simple changes like these could save litres of water every minute, not to mention a lot of money off your water bill. By saving money on other bills, you can make room for a little increase in your energy bills, to compensate for the additional heating required in Winter.
Invest in home accessories that could insulate and help keep your home warm. Draught excluders, thick curtains with lining, reflector panels on radiators and even a thick woolly rug, can all contribute to a warm home and lessening your reliance on the central heating.
Have your boiler serviced at least once every year, to make sure it is working as efficiently as possible and to reduce the costs of heating. Always make sure your boiler is serviced by a registered engineer, to avoid any danger of being stung by a rogue trader!
Don’t forget to keep an eye the cost of your energy supplier and its competitors. It’s so easy to switch from one to another. You could save yourself a stack of money in the long run by doing so.
Make a weekly food plan, consisting of the meals and snacks that you and your family will eat that week. This will give your shopping a more structured approach and saves you from the temptations of buying anything and everything that you like the sound of. You can also use the online comparison tool, My Supermarket, to see which supermarket has the best prices for your favourite foods. This will help save you plenty of pennies to put towards heating costs this winter.