Keeping warm in winter

Keeping warm in winter

If you are worried about rising fuel costs, not heating your home properly could cause you to get cold-related illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia

On this page, you can find a list of ways that could help you have a warmer home without worrying about your fuel bills. 

Staying healthy during winter 

A cold home could affect your health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.  

Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. 

The chances of these problems are higher if you are vulnerable to cold-related illnesses because:  

  • You are over 65  
  • You are on a low income (so can't afford heating)  
  • You have a long-term health condition such as heart, lung or kidney disease  
  • You are disabled.  

To keep warm and well during spells of cold weather: 

  • Make sure you are receiving any benefits you are entitled to such as the Warm Home discount, the Cold Weather Payment and the Winter Fuel Payment.
  • Draw your curtains at dusk and keep your doors closed to block out draughts  
  • Have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible to keep your energy levels up.   
  • Wear several light layers of warm clothes (rather than one chunky layer) 
  • Keep as active in your home as possible 
  • Wrap up warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside on cold days 
  • Keep your bedroom at 18°C (65°F) and main living room at 21°C (70°F).  
  • Heat the living room during the day and the bedroom just before you go to sleep if you can’t heat all the rooms you use. 

Prepare your home for winter 

  • Insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes. 
  • Make sure that your loft has at least 10-11 inches (270 mm) of insulation. Any home with 4 inches (100 mm) or less should have it topped up. If you have wall cavities, make sure that they are insulated too. You might qualify for financial assistance to help with this. 
  • Service your boiler to make sure it's safe and working properly. Always use a Gas Safe Registered engineer. Some older and disabled people can have their gas appliances checked for free if they are on the priority services register with their supplier and meet the criteria. Ask your gas supplier for more information. 
  • Clear drain gratings and get the chimney swept. 
  • Ensure that ventilators in rooms where they are used are not blocked. 
  • Make sure your smoke alarm is working. Fit a carbon monoxide detector if you don't have one. 
  • Make sure you know where the mains water stop valve (main stopcock) is so that you can turn it off in an emergency. 
  • Check that electric fires are properly guarded. 
  • Check that flexes on electrical appliances are undamaged and adaptors are not overloaded. 

Winter grants and discounts 

Warm Home Discount

You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2020 to 2021 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

Find out more about Warm Home Discount and if you qualify for the discount on Gov.uk.

Cold Weather Payment

You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits when your local temperature is either recorded as, or forecast to be, an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days.

Find out more about Cold Weather Payment on Gov.uk.

Winter Fuel Payment

You could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 July 1953.

You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).

Find out more about Winter Fuel Payment on Gov.uk