Keep warm without putting the heating on: how to keep you and your house cosy without central heating

How to keep warm without having the heating on all dayHow to keep warm without having the heating on all day
How to keep warm without having the heating on all day | How to keep warm without having the heating on all day

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Simple solutions for staying cosy this winter without racking up the heating bills, from insulated curtains, hot water bottles, to the best theromstat

We are loth to condescend to you, as the nation faces ever-escalating electricity and gas costs, by saying “put an extra jumper on” or, even worse - “trying buying a new kettle, it’ll save you £10 on your bills.”

But the distressing fact remains that Ofgem has announced typical household energy bills will skyrocket in October - with further climbs expected next year. Naturally, people are looking to cut their electricity bills however they can.

And as the temperatures are due to drop over the coming months, heating the household is one of the primary electricity or gas drains.

So, what can you do to limit your outgoings and remain toasty?

(Some of these you may rightly dismiss as common sense, but we’d like to be thorough).

Ensure your heating is on intermittently throughout the day, not on 24/7 - use your timer to keep it off when you’re in bed, so it switches on half an hour before the household rises.

Make sure you have well insulated curtains/or blinds.

Double glazing costs a small fortune, so it’s far more cost effective to change your blinds or curtains to reduce heat loss.

Switch any curtains with thin materials for thicker fabrics or ones made with thermal fibres.

Make sure the floor is covered, too

Remember how your mum always told you you lost heat through your head, as a means to encourage you to put a woolly hat on when you left the house? Well, houses lose an estimated 10% of their heat through their property’s floor.

If you want to curb that, making your house more energy efficient, cover any solid hardwood floors with soft rugs to ensure the gaps

If you have suspended flooring - that is, it’s raised off the ground - it needs to be insulated with a batt of insulation or spray expanding foam, which a professional can install for you.

Cosy up with a good ol’ fashioned hot water bottle

Hot water bottles are good for shaking off a chill - the lush White Company option, £35, is covered with faux fur and ideal for helping keep you toasty.

Additionally, applying heat of more than 40C to the skin where an ache is felt blocks the body’s ability to detect pain, so it will alleviate any muscle discomfort associated with cold weather.

For a budget option, the Wilko hot water bottle will get the job done for £6.50, while if you want to invest in a hot water bottle you can wear - great for walking around, the This is Silk hot water bottle will keep you cosy on the move - for a pricy £74.99 (yes, we realised that suggesting an expensive hot water bottle during a cost of living crisis is a bit of a contradiction - but if it saves you turning the heating on all day, it could be a sound long-term strategy).

Keep the chill out with a draught excluder

You’ll likely heard a lot of chat of late about draught excluders - they are essential for keeping the house warm if you don’t have a properly insulated property. They will keep the cold air at bay and the warm air in the house.

You can buy cost effective, stylish draught excluders from the likes of Wayfair, or lovely velvet options from Dunelm.

Make sure you have thermals on under your clothing

Fleecy clothing may feel cuddly, but you need more than that to properly insulate your body if you’re trying to stay warm while working. Thermals, long johns, base layers – whatever you want to call them, there’s nothing like a warm layer worn next to the skin to help keep the chill of colder weather at bay.

We’ve covered our favourite thermals for women and men in the gallery below.

Once you have that crucial base layer to aid insulation, then seal it in with a cosy fleece - our favourite for men and women are in the gallery below.

Get cosy under a high-tog duvet

“A warm duvet? For winter? Ground-breaking,” you say and we hear you - but a high-tog duvet can stop you reaching for a comparably costly electric blanket. We rounded up our favourite cosy comforters in this article on the best duvet sets for winter, and there is a review posted below of our all-round favourite - the Simbra Hybrid Duvet.

Install a smart thermostat to cut energy bills

Obviously, many of us will still want to rely on heating to keep warm when the artic blasts hits. A smart thermostat tracks your movements and helps limit your usage but turning and and off based on your standard heating habits. Our favourite - the Google Nest - is reviewed below.

Google Nest Thermostat E

For those of you who plan on installing your own smart thermostat, the Google Nest Thermostat E would be a really sound choice. This smart thermostat is particularly easy to install and uncomplicated to set up, with no smart hub or specialist knowhow required.  

Nest is good for helping to cut your energy costs - it predicts when you want the house to warm up. Install it, and use it as normal - adjust the temperature when you’re too warm, or too cold.

Give Nest a week or so and it will start adjusting itself based on tracking your habits - so it will pre-warm your house as you are coming home from work, or shut the radiators off just as you leave the house in the morning. It sends updates about your energy usage, so you can track your habits and adjust to try and save energy wherever you can.

Remotely controlling the temperature via the connected Nest app is a breeze, and there’s also a handy option to control the thermostat by voice.  

One downside is that there’s only one smart assistant you can use to operate the Thermostat E: namely, Google Assistant. However, if you’re happy with that limitation, we think you’ll find the Thermostat E to be both highly effective and easy-to-use.

You will not require an engineer to set up. 

THE SIMBA Hybrid® Duvet

Simba are manufacturers of some of the finest mattresses on the market, so it comes as little surprise that they’re equally adept at making duvets that are great for keeping you comfortable.

This duvet is double-sided - one side has ‘Stratos’ fabric - initially created by NASA to help astronauts regulate their temperature at night.

The other side has a breathable 300-thread-count cotton - a breathable material. Cannily, these two materials envelope a duck down filling.

What you end up with, then, is a 10.5 tog, extremely toasty duvet that’s nevertheless breathable and luxuriant.

Opulent, toasty, machine washable, and available in four sizes - this is a seriously impressive winter duvet.

Icebreaker Merino Oasis top and leggings

Base layers are what Icebreaker do best, and they’re always some of the top-performing designs when we test out base layers.

£75 (top), £60 (bottoms)

If you want to invest in a great set of thermal underwear, our pick of the pack are their Oasis base layer top and their Everyday Thermal leggings.

Slip them on and the first thing you’ll notice is how deliciously soft their 100% Merino wool make-up feels against the skin.

The Oasis’ 200g weight is a good warmth to weight ratio for most outdoor adventures, and the Thermal leggings live up to their name, keeping you delightfully warm even on winter hikes and ski adventures.

Icebreaker’s merino layers are worth the spend, and will last you for years without losing their shape or their warming abilities.

The bottoms are available here.

Páramo Grid Technic Top and Long Johns

This set of quality, Columbian-made garments are what you need when the temperature really starts to plummet.

Favoured by mountain guides and outdoor instructors, these garments are constructed from Nikwax Paramenta G fabric which is woven into a distinctive gridded pattern for maximum wicking proficiency.

Worn under another garment and you’ll feel the immediate benefit from its warm fleece-like material, but more surprising is the high degree of wind protection it offers worn as a single layer.

We also love the extra long, thumb looped sleeves and high rise collar for maximum, neck to knuckle protection. The long johns also feature a handy ‘old-school’ fly pocket for rapid access should you get caught short in the cold.

Finisterre Hegen ¼ Zip Wool Fleece

One of Finisterre’s original products nearly 20 years ago was a fleece, so this new 1/4 zip Hegen option is likely to be popular, made with new GRS certified recycled wool and recycled polyester.

It feels sturdy, durable and like it could easily withstand a range of conditions and situations - it’s also one of the warmest fleeces we tested and comes in two earthy, attractive colourways too.

Fjallraven Övik fleece hoody

Swedish outdoor brand Fjallraven have applied their know-how to fleece and made a basic hoody into a seriously covetable jacket.

The Övik is made with recycled polyester, and has a deliciously soft brushed inner layer and a bobble-resistant knitted outer.

Zipped pockets and a well-cut hood make it easy to wear anywhere, and we found it one of the most wind-resistant models we tried out.

The Övik was not the most breathable fleece on test, but it is very warm – ideal for everything from casual winter walks to wearing down the pub, and this fleece is also thick enough to work alone as a jacket in warmer weather.