After a mild November and December 2015, the UK weather is back to form for January 2016 with many parts of the country experiencing snow and most of us battling frost in the mornings. Follow these essential tips for keeping warm, and make the most of what little warmth we will have for the next few months.
In January 2016, it was reported that the wholesale price of our most common fuels have dropped considerably. Nevertheless, that’s no reason why you should not do all you can to maximise energy and heat efficiency – it’s good for your bills and for the environment.
Keep interior doors closed: It’s amazing how much of a difference it can make to the overall temperature in your home by closing doors and using a draught excluder. Your heating will circulate better and you won’t need the temperature set quite so high.
Turn the heating down / off at night: Many sources advise that you turn your thermostat down to 55F / 12C at night. The insulation in your home will keep a decent average temperature overnight and if it drops below this, your heating will come on briefly to warm up again. During the day, you can put the temperature up again.
Only light the rooms you use: Winter is dark and sometimes we keep more lights on than we need to create a warmer, homely atmosphere. By keeping lighting minimal and using sidelights rather than main room lights (with energy saving lightbulbs) can reduce the costs of winter.
If you suffer rheumatism or arthritis in cold weather, and many people do, you may find these conditions flare up in colder weather. Exercise is good for us at the best of times: it’s good for circulation, for building and maintaining muscle mass, and for our bones. It’s important to get out in the sunshine, so that your body can absorb vitamin D. Vitamin D helps strengthen bones and improves your mood, so your walk to the supermarket is better for you than you might believe.
There are many simple exercises for older and less mobile people – a chest stretch is good for maintaining the upper body’s flexibility and strength. You can also march your feet while sat in a chair; this is ideal for anybody who sits for most of their day. Simple leg lifts are also useful for balance. The NHS website has a great range of exercises for older people to help stay in shape.
Take Care of Your Vehicle
Thanks to the cold, breakdowns are more common at this time of year; the most common type of breakdown for which the RAC and AA are called is battery failure. The main reason for this is the extra load we put on batteries from lights and heating, affecting its ability to recharge. When a car will not start and the problem is not the battery, it could be that the cold has thickened the lubricating oil, making the spark plugs and the battery struggle.
The need to keep your anti-freeze topped up cannot be overstated, and although this is the case regardless of the age of the vehicle, it is true that older cars will suffer more in the cold. Get an oil change and change the sparkplugs if you haven’t had them replaced in the annual service. These three elements alone will help your vehicle perform reliably in winter, saving you money in the long term.
If you own a mobility scooter or powerchair, you should look after this just as you would a car. Read our blog post on keeping your scooter in top condition over the winter months, or you can find a range of accessories to keep you warm under mobility scooter accessories.