The Energy & Utilities Alliance (EUA) has drawn more light around fuel poverty in the UK. With the unusual late season cold snap, also know as The Beast From The East, giving a chill across the UK, not once, but twice in recent weeks, has only given rise to the issue of keeping warm.
Millions are still living in cold homes and suffering from a range of mental and physical issues as a result. No one in a developed country such as the UK should be living in fuel poverty, which means they can’t keep themselves warm. But the truth is many are.
Research from the EUA reveals insufficient policy is not only failing to help the situation, it is also making it worse. Statistics show that cold homes kill over four times as many people as road and rail collisions, and almost four times as many people from drug misuse. Around 28,500 excess winter deaths occur each year, where the majority of which can be attributed to cold homes.
Five Tips on Keeping Warm (For Free):
Despite the various issues surrounding cold homes and fuel poverty, which is a complex matter, there are some quick and easy tips you can take on board, to help keep you or someone you know, warm for little or no cost.
1. Keep Body Warmth Close – Putting on a warm, snug hat, which covers your ears will instantly make you warmer. The same goes for wearing layers of clothes. Keep clothes fitted to your body and ensure you use layers. It is a great way to keep warm.
2. Keep Moving – Not only is this good exercise it also keeps you warm and promotes improved circulation. It’s also a great way to get chores done! So next time you are feeling cold, move those books, clear out the spare room – or anything which needs doing.
3. Rugs and Drafts – These are two things, which can really keep you warm, but few realise how much. Bare floors can make you cold – solve this problem with a rug, it will be far warmer on your feet too. A draft excluder will help keep cold, drafty air entering the room and subsequent lowering the ambient room temperature.
4. Block Off Rooms – If possible, block off bedrooms and keep your activity, candles, etc. in one room so that you’re only trying to heat a couple hundred square feet. The blocked-off rooms will act as an extra buffer against the cold outdoors. When you do go in those rooms, be prepared for a shock of cold.
5. Avoid Smoking – While it might make your chest feel warmer, it will cause the blood flow to your hands to be reduced! One puff lowers the temperature of your fingertips by 1-3F in just 3 minutes. That’s definitely not the best way to keep warm! Avoiding smoking is of course better for your health, and also for your wallet or purse.
While the above are free ways to keep warm, in terms of heating products, namely wood burning stoves, gas and electric fires, it is encouraging to see in recent years manufacturers, including Charlton & Jenrick have made significant leaps forward in producing fires that cost less to run, are more reliable, and really help owners keep warm for less. Advances in fire design is helping to reduce fuel poverty, although much more is needed to help the nation. In 2018 we should not be encountering fuel poverty.