It used to be that any self-respecting person would have to say “Bah Humbug” upon receiving a few lumps of coal in the stockings on Christmas morning. But for those of us who keep a close on the heating at home, I’d honestly welcome it in droves if we had a traditional fire to heat up the house.
While Christmas is a time for giving, it’s also a time for saving. If you’re going to be entertaining a lot over the festive period, or you’re planning on leaving the house as little as possible, you’re going to have the heating on a lot during Christmas. And that means you’ll be burning through fuel at a rate you usually don’t.
Having a toasty house is great but wasting energy and not being practical with home heating isn’t an excuse. So, without having to resort to any great lengths to make sure everyone is toasty when at home, here are some practical tips and warnings on how to keep your home warm this Christmas.
Turn all your radiators on NOW
Does Christmas around your way mean every room has someone sleeping in it? A horrible sleep on Christmas Eve can lead to a grumpy Christmas Day for some, especially if the room is freezing. Now is the time to go switch the heating on and turn every radiator on to make sure it’s going to heat up as hoped.
If you have an en-suite or two in your guest rooms, double-check the heated towel rails that rarely get used just to double-check that the top rungs heat up. For radiators that need to be bled, a small set of radiator key is less than £4 in B&Q, so add it to the list when you’re next out shopping.
Get the gauge right
The last thing you’d want on Christmas morning is the boiler struggling with everyone getting in and out of the shower. Winter is prime boiler breakdown time, and in many cases, it stems from weak pressure in the system. Just like radiators, go and have a quick check of the pressure gauge on your boiler to make sure it’s sitting at the ideal level and isn’t currently struggling to run.
Turn the thermostat down
Does your house feel like a tropical paradise at this time of year? When the heating has been on for a few hours, are people taking off their Christmas jumpers and feeling the intensity from the heat?
Then you’ll want to have the thermostat turned down, so it’s toasty and not sweltering. Everyone is prone to turning it right up at Christmas but keeping it around 20° will be fine. If you live in a home that uses an older boiler with a water tank in one spot and an overflow tank in the roof, double-check that you don’t have the pressure level on the boiler set too high.
When your boiler is working at full pelt, if it’s generating too much hot water, it can let off steam in your roof space, which in turn can lead to condensation and small puddles of water forming, which then leads to leaks coming through from the roof. It all sounds like the perfect Christmas nightmare scenario, so stick to the rule that you should keep things down.
Don’t burn wrapping paper!
After everyone has opened their presents, you’ll think it’s fine to crumple it all up and throw in the bin by the fire to use later on, but it’s a very bad way to keep warm.
You know how wrapping paper can feel smoother than regular paper? The ink on it can be very flammable but gives off fumes that no one should be breathing in. If you’re throwing anything in the fire to keep it going over Christmas, yesterday’s newspaper is always the best bet.
Finally, check your CO alarm
Not so much a home heating tip, but an important one nonetheless if you use gas, oil or wood at home. Check all your carbon monoxide alarms work. If you’re asking “wait, what do they mean alarmS?”, you should have a CO alarm in any room where you use fuel, and that includes the cooker too.