Thursday, 14 November 2013

Have YOU Turned Your Heating On Yet?

Well have you? Have the dark nights and frosty mornings prompted you to light the fire or turn on the central heating? Or, like me, are you still stubbornly refusing to give in to the chill and simply donning extra clothes and digging out that trusty old hot water bottle? - Although in our case 'trusty' isn't the word as 'old faithful' sprung a leak a few nights ago when hubby was using it to ease his back pain (thankfully it was wrapped in a towel at the time, preventing him from being scalded by the hot water) and we've had to invest in a new one this week.

Throughout October, as it began to get colder and the evenings became quite chilly, I adamantly insisted I wasn't putting the central heating on (our only form of heat) until the calendar turned the page and November was well and truly here. Of course with November's arrival I moved the goal posts, scared by the rising gas prices, and vowed it wasn't going on until December. When December rolls around who knows.... will I be brave (or daft) enough to say lets wait until January?

To be honest with you I haven't been cold. Not really. Chilly, yes, but not properly cold. I certainly haven't sat here shivering of an evening and once I'm in bed, snuggled up under the duvet I'm actually quite cosy. My husband's felt the cold more, but I invested in a £3 fleecy throw from ASDA and since he's had that to tuck around his legs, or even sometimes wrap around his shoulders like a big cosy shawl, he's been as warm as toast. It's certainly proved cheaper than feeding the hungry gas meter. I think I'll get another one.
We close the curtains as soon as it starts to get dark, keeping as much heat into our south facing lounge as possible, and have a draft excluder at the door. We focus on keeping that one room as warm as we can. We both have thermals from our working days. I worked outdoors all the time and quickly learnt the trick of layering, and hubby often had to work outdoors too so we invested in decent thermal garments because a) we could afford to and b) they were worth their weight in gold. They still are. We haven't worn them much yet, we'll appreciate them much more when the temperature really drops.
Early nights and late mornings are another way we stay warm. That's not as lazy as staying in bed late sounds, honest, although it feels quite decadent sometimes. Emails, letters, sewing projects etc can all be done just as easily in bed and warm under the duvet as they can up and about and shivering in a chair. Winter just means a bit of a rethink of our routines. I might not like doing things this way but I know when we finally have to give in and start putting extra money on the gas meter that money has got to come from somewhere, and the thing most likely to be hit is the food budget. I'd rather not do that, so I'll use every trick in the book to keep us warm for as long as possible without increasing the gas company's profits.
I'll often go for a brisk walk if I'm starting to feel the chill, up the hill to the cliffs and back is enough to warm me up for ages. It's just a shame that isn't an option for my husband too. I'd love to be able to go for a long walk with him but he can't manage it at a pace to warm him up and the pain is just too much when it's cold and damp.
I haven't yet resorted to wearing gloves and hats around the flat, but there's a first time for everything. I'm not ruling anything out.


  1. I'm afraid the heating is on here, just an hour in a morning and again at teatime. Doors and curtains are closed early and snuggle quilts and hot water bottles are used. I am keeping a check on our gas and electricity useage weekly and its amazing how a bit of extra heat soon gobbles up the units, its pretty scarry!!

  2. Like you, I'm going to try to hold out with using any sort of heating for as long as possible. I haven't been really cold yet, and I've found that layering, and snuggling under a fleecy blanket in the evenings is sufficient at the moment. My hands seem to feel cold more than anything, but I've got plenty of wool to knit myself some fingerless gloves. I'll knit them long though - as near to my fingertips as possible - as I have Heberden's nodes on my fingers which are painful at times.

  3. we have the gas fire on during the evening but are holding off as much as possible with the heating.

  4. This will be a very silly question but since I live in the States it really isn't something that I know. Do you actually place money into you electric and heat meters or do you pay on-line? The state that I live in does not allow for heat or electric to be turned off from Oct-Apr but once those months are gone you better pay up all the money owed. I am on a budget billing plan that is offered.

    Sorry if I seem stupid but it has just been perplexing me as that is not how heating and electric work in Wisconsin. Oh and yes the heat is on in my flat because the temperature has been dipping into the teens at night. I do use a digital thermostat to keep the temps low when its only the cats in the house during the day.

    1. Sorry Shelly, I thought I'd already replied. I think my mind must be slipping ;)
      It's not a silly question at all. If you aren't familiar with it, it must seem a rather odd way to do things.
      Not everyone pays for their gas and electricity this way, only those with pre-payment meters. These meters are generally used when people have got into debt as a way to help them manage their bills but increasingly landlords have them installed in rental properties whether the tenant wants or needs one or not.
      You have a card or key that you take to a local shop to top up with cash, and then the meter is charged with the credit when you put the card/key in.
      Most meters are set with an amount of 'emergency credit' (usually around £5) but if you use that it has to be paid off the next time you top up before your supply is reconnected.
      As far as I know none of the electricity companies allow the electric to run out during the hours of darkness, even if you've used up all your credit and emergency you're ok until the next morning for that first night. Before they started doing this there had been some tragic fires caused by people lighting candles when they'd run out so something had to be done.
      It's not an ideal way of paying for services, and often you end up being on a higher tariff because of it (those least able to pay, end up paying the most) but at least it means I get no big bills.

    2. That makes sense to me. Thanks for painting the picture.