WINTER: Keeping Your Home Warm

Age UK have just published a great new guide called “Winter Wrapped Up” which is full of tips to get your home ready for the cold weather and reduce your risk of common health problems.

  • Below is a excerpt from it – to download the full guide, visit the AGE UK website
  • Our own guide to coping with winter is also a useful source of information

Keeping your home warm

Most of us spend a lot of time indoors in winter, so it’s important that you are comfortable and safe there. And it’s essential that you keep your home warm. Low temperatures increase the risk of flu and other respiratory problems and can raise blood pressure. Blood pressure takes longer to return to normal in older people once they are cold, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The colder your home, the higher the risk to your health.

  • Keep your main living room around 70°F/21°C, and the rest of your home heated to at least 64°F/18°C. We have included a thermometer in the middle of this guide for you to pull out and keep. You can use it in your living room (ideal temperature 70°F/21°C) and in your bedroom (ideal temperature 64°F/18°C) to keep your home at a safe temperature. You may want your main living room to be warmer than this, and if you feel cold, turn the heat up regardless of what the thermometer reads.
  • Get to know how the timer and thermostat on your heating system work. If it’s very cold, set the timer to switch the heating on earlier, rather than turning the thermostat up to warm your house quickly. If you have individual thermostats on your radiators, make sure they’re set at the right temperature in the rooms where you spend time. For more information about how to understand your heating controls, see our free guide Save energy, pay less.
  • Close the curtains at dusk and fit thermal linings if you can to keep the heat in.
  • Put guards on open fires, and be careful not to hang washing too close to the fire.  15 Winter wrapped up
  • Don’t block up air vents, as fires and heaters need ventilation. Good ventilation also helps to prevent condensation.
  • Keep your bedroom window closed at night when the weather is cold. The coldest time of the day is just before dawn. Breathing in cold air raises the risk of chest infections, heart attacks and strokes.
  • Test your carbon monoxide alarms. You should have one fitted in each room that has a gas or solid-fuel burning appliance, as there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if air vents become blocked. If you’re a private tenant, your landlord must install carbon monoxide alarms for you.
  • Contact your local Age UK for a benefits check and advice on any other financial support you may be eligible for (in Scotland, contact Age Scotland). If you’re having difficulty paying your heating bills, contact Charis Grants who can direct you to grants to help with utility debts.
  • If you feel cold, turn the heat up regardless
    of what the thermometer reads.

Useful Winter Contacts

Age UK
provide advice and information for people in later life through our Age UK Advice line‚ publications and online. Age UK Advice: 0800 169 65 65 Lines are open seven days a week from 8am to 7pm.

Charis Grants
Directs people to grants to clear utility debts owed to certain
energy providers.
Tel: 01733 421 021 –

Cinnamon Trust
Charity for older people and their pets. They have volunteers who may be able to walk your dog for you in icy conditions.
Tel: 01736 757 900 –

Citizens Advice Consumer Service
A consumer advice and complaints service.
Tel: 0345 404 0506 –

Energy Saving Trust
Provides free advice on saving energy.
Tel: 0300 123 1234 –

Free 24-hour service that provides flood warnings by phone, text or email.
Tel: 0345 988 1188

Gas Safe Register
You can check if an engineer is on the register by visiting the website.
Tel: 0800 408 5500 If you suspect a gas leak, call 0800 111 999
The government website of services and information that includes advice on taking care of yourself in winter.

National Flood Forum
Offers support and representation to communities and individuals at risk of flooding.
Tel: 01299 403055

NHS 111
Free NHS 24-hour helpline for advice on urgent but non-life threatening symptoms.
Tel: 111 –

NHS Choices
Provides web-based information about NHS services, healthy living and health conditions.

Winter Fuel Payment helpline
Tel: 03459 15 15 15

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