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Winter Heating Tips for the Elderly


The home is supposed to be the place where we can escape the cold during the winter and keeping your home warm during the winter months is important for physical and mental health.

Elderly people are particularly susceptible when the temperature drops so we’ve put together some winter heating tips for the elderly to help you stay warm this winter.

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What are the Risks of Cold Weather?

If the temperature in your home drops too low, 8°C according to the NHS, you’re putting yourself at risk of:

  • Hypothermia
  • Flu (in the UK, anyone over the age of 65 is eligible for a flu jab)
  • Stroke
  • Pneumonia
  • Depression
  • Dementia

The final two are mental health conditions which can be forgotten or altogether unknown effects of cold weather.

10 Winter Heating Tips for the Elderly

To protect yourself from the cold weather this winter keep these winter heating tips in mind. Some will require a heating engineer while others are adjustments you can easily make yourself or with the help of family and friends.

1. Keep the temperature to at least 18°C

The NHS recommend keeping your home at 18°C, preferably all night long if possible. For the living areas you might want to keep the temperature closer to 21°C with 18°C being ideal for bedrooms.

You can set the temperature of your home at any given time using a thermostat or you can schedule the heating to come on at a certain time.

Modern smart thermostats are much like traditional thermostats in the sense that they’re used to set the temperature of the central heating but, as the name suggests, they’re much smarter. Features of some smart thermostats include:

  • Knowing when the home is empty to avoid the heating going on when nobody is there to enjoy it
  • Adapting to how you use the central heating to make sure it’s the temperature you like at the right time of day
  • Take control from anywhere using a smartphone or tablet device

Some smart thermostats, such as the Nest Thermostat E, don’t even need fitting to the wall, allowing you to keep it close by for when you want to add an extra degree or two.

If you’re interested in upgrading your thermostat, compare The Best Smart Thermostats to find the right one for you.

2. Draw the curtains when it gets dark

Keeping the curtains open on the sunny side of your home during the day will allow heat from the sun into the home during the day (as well as plenty of natural light too). Once the sun goes down, the windows can allow heat to escape or be letting draughts into the property so closing the curtains is essential. Remember to open them up again the next day!

It can also be a good idea to have thermal lining added to the back of your curtains or blind which acts as an added layer of insulation to keep the heat from escaping.

3. Have double glazing installed

If you have old single-pane windows, then curtains will only help to a point. Replacing windows with new double or triple glazing will act as an extra layer of insulation to prevent the cold from getting in and the heat from escaping.

4. Keep draughts out

Draughts are the last thing you want in winter. A draught will reduce the effectiveness of your central heating system, meaning that you have to keep the central heating on for longer which will increase your bills.

The tiniest of cracks and gaps, even keyholes, can let draughts into the home and stop you feeling the benefit of the central heating. Adding draught excluders to the bottom of doors and covering keyholes are tiny changes that can keep draughts from getting around your home.

5. Insulate your home

We mentioned how double glazing is an effective insulator but there are many other forms of insulation that all play a key part in keeping your home warmer for longer:

  • Loft insulation
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Floor insulation
  • Hot water cylinder insulation
  • Central heating pipe lagging

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6. Move large furniture away from radiators

We rely heavily on our radiators over the winter period so it’s important you’re getting the most out of them. One simple way of making them more effective is by moving any large pieces of furniture like sofas or tables well away from them.

This is important because a radiator with a sofa directly in front of it will be heating up the sofa rather than the room – which is of no benefit to anyone.

Moving furniture away from the radiator allows the air to get a hold of some of the heat and spread it around the room.

7. Place rugs on wooden flooring

Not only can wooden floors be cold on your feet, there can be gaps between the panels which heat can escape through. Doing this will help to reduce the amount of heat able to escape your home and give the added bonus of giving the room some extra flare.

8. Arrange a boiler service

Knowing that your boiler is in a condition to safely and efficiently heat your home during the colder conditions will put your mind at ease when winter comes around. The best way to do this is by having your boiler serviced during the summer.

While you might want to forget about your boiler through the summer, it’s the best time to arrange a boiler service for a number of reasons:

  • Ensure your boiler is in top condition ahead of the winter
  • Heating engineers often offer lower rates during the summer

Find out Why You Should Have Your Boiler Serviced.

9. Bleed the radiators

If you’ve noticed cold patches on any of your radiators then bleeding the radiators will release any trapped air and allow the hot water to circulate around the whole radiator to efficiently heat the room.

While bleeding the radiators is something that can be done yourself don’t let that put you off contacting a heating engineer to do this for you.

10. Find out if you’re eligible for any grants or schemes

The added reliance we have on our central heating during the winter will see your energy bills rise as a result. To help you through the winter, there are several grants and schemes available which help to keep them down:

  • Warm Home Discount
  • Cold Weather Payment

The Warm Home Discount is a one-off annual energy bill discount of £140 for eligible UK customers. Those eligible are homeowners receiving the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit, known as the Core Group, as well as homeowners receiving Universal Credit, income support or have a household income of less than £16,000 per annum, known as the Broader Group.

Cold Weather Payments are dependent on the weather. If the average daily temperature in your area is 0°C or below for 7 consecutive days or it’s forecast to be, then eligible customers, which includes anyone receiving Pension Credit, can get a £25 payment to help with heating costs.

Concerned About the Warmth of Your Home?

If your home isn’t warming up or if you’re having to keep your central heating on for a lengthy period of time for it to have any effect then it’s we highly recommend contacting a professional.

Using Boiler Guide, you can get free quotes from heating engineers based in your area who will be able to identify ways to keep your home warmer. Getting quotes from more than a single heating engineer will allow you to compare quotes to ensure that you find the most competitive price.

Need central heating advice?

Find professional heating engineers in your local area

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