Keeping cosy this winter

Are you worried about keeping your home warm this winter? With persistent headlines about rising bills and the recent energy crisis, it is a concern for many Fifers.

Cllr Judy Hamilton, Convener of Fife Council’s Community & Housing Services Sub-Committee, thinks that now is a good time for people to familiarise themselves with useful heating advice and know where to go for help during winter, if they need it.

She said: “For too many people, having their heating on as much as they would like just isn’t an option. If you are struggling with the rising cost of heating your home Cosy Kingdom may be able to help. This council-funded free and impartial service is open to all tenants and homeowners and has already helped over 5,000 Fifers.

“They offer fantastic advice on how to get the most from your own heating system and low-cost practical ways to save energy in your home. They can also help you to understand your bills, make sure you're claiming any help you are entitled to or offer debt advice. They can even speak to energy companies on your behalf if it's something you have trouble doing.”

You can get in touch with Cosy Kingdom by phoning 01592 807930, email info@cosykingdom.org.uk or text 'COSY' then 'YOUR NAME' to 88440.

Judy added: “Unfortunately switching energy provider for a better deal just isn’t a tactic that’s available to most people right now because of the energy crisis. Good fixed-rate deals on gas and electricity prices are very hard to come by. However, if you have never switched or have not compared your tariff in a long time, there may still be cheaper options available to you.

“The current situation makes it especially important that concerned householders are also aware of ways to save energy in their home. By avoiding unnecessary heat or energy loss, it will hopefully help to contribute to cosier homes this winter. The small savings add up and saving energy makes your money go further.”

Cllr Hamilton with Cosy Kingdom's Bruce McCall

Ways to save energy include:

Turn off lights and appliances when you're not using them: Appliances such as your kettle, toaster, TV and phone charger can still use up energy when you're not using them. Switch them off at the plug to ensure energy is not wasted.

Avoid overheating your home: Heating your home so much that you need to open windows is not energy efficient. Instead, you should programme your heating to come on and off as you need it, reduce the thermostat by 1°c and set your thermostatic radiator valves between III (3) and IV (4) to self-regulate your heating. If you like to have your heating on continuously throughout the winter, you should be able to leave it on low. Keep doors closed between rooms. Open curtains during the day and enjoy the sun’s free heat.

Don't waste hot water: If you are only making one cup of tea, don't overfill the kettle. The smaller amount of water you try to heat, the less energy you will use. Only put the washing machine on when you have a full load of washing. Spend one less minute in the shower and replace one bath a week with a short shower - the savings all add up!

Move furniture away from radiators: By moving your furniture away from radiators and keeping doors shut, you can prevent heat loss and allow the heat to circulate better. It’s also better to dry wet clothes outside, where possible, or on a clothes horse in front of your radiators to let the heat out. Try not to cover your radiators with clothes as it could use up more energy to generate the same amount of heat. And keep doors shut to prevent heat loss.

Keep cosy: Use a hot water bottle to help keep cosy and wear slippers around the house. If your feet are warm your body will feel warmer too.

Cllr Hamilton concluded: “It’s predicted to be a difficult winter for many, and nobody should have to choose between heating and eating. The council is here for everyone in our community, with a range of support available to anyone in need.

“If you do need help, we have welfare support officers working across Fife. They can help with advice on crisis and community care grants, foodbanks, community pantries and so much more.”

Visit our ‘heating advice’ and ‘money advice’ sections for more information.