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I can't afford to heat my home
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# 1
buckaroo
Old 23-08-2008, 10:14 PM
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Default I can't afford to heat my home

I have recently moved to a 4 bed, rented house that has oil central heating.

I have come to the conclusion that I can't afford to use oil, I am a single parent and I would struggle severely to put 500 litres in the tank.

I am currently heating my hot water with the immersion heater on the occasions when we need a bath.

I've been looking at other ways of keeping the house warm and was thinking of buying some sort of electric heater. I am considering a halogen heater, as these seem fairly cheap to buy and give out a fairly instant heat. I am slightly worried about the safety implications though with 4 kids running around.

I'd appreciate any suggestions on keeping my house warm this winter. I've already purchased warm pyjamas, dressing gowns and slippers for the kids but any other tips would be great.

TIA.
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# 2
Fidget21
Old 23-08-2008, 10:19 PM
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I don't know if this helps at all but my parents have oil fired CH, they filled their tank once and then pay a monthly amount to the company supplying the oil who then come round on a regular basis and keep it topped up. This allows them to budget for it and it is always a set amount rather than having to find the money to fill it every time. Have you looked into this at all?
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# 3
Barneysmom
Old 23-08-2008, 10:22 PM
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I'm sorry I can't help re the electric heaters, but if you can the thickest curtains you can find, or sew 2 pairs together, it keeps out some of the draught.
We've been using an old fashioned down filled bedspread thingy on the settee, but it's just about worn out. My mom gave me her old king size quilt that she'd taken to the cleaners, and we'll use that this winter when we're sitting watching telly. It's so cosy to snuggle under
I got some velvet curtains very cheaply from the charity shop, though I mostly make my own as it's much cheaper.

Hot water bottles are ace, and they are not just for in bed.
When you get out of the bath, don't empty it straight away, as the heat will keep the bathroom warm for a good while.
If there's anything else comes to my mind, I'll let you know xxx
Barney is my border collie.
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# 4
buckaroo
Old 23-08-2008, 10:39 PM
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I have considered the budget accounts for oil, but I don't have the money to purchase the first lot of oil upfront. I've looked at boilerjuice and they have quoted me £300 for 500 litres. I've also looked into how long that is likely to last me and it seems not very long! I can only afford to put by £50 a month towards oil and I don't think that is anywhere near enough.

I've tried to reuse the curtains from my old house to save some money and they are thin canvas type material. I'll certainly keep my eyes peeled for some winter weight ones.

I'm trying to convince myself that if I can keep one room warm, we'll be ok. My living room is huge and I think trying to heat that will be a waste of time, I'm thinking we may have to camp out in one of the bedrooms.

Fortunately we've got plently of blankets and 2 of the kids already have hottie dogs that I can heat up in the microwave, will have to purchase a couple more of those.

Good idea about the bath, the bathroom does warm up slightly when the immersion is on, so hopefully bathtime won't become a totally miserable existence!
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# 5
Magentasue
Old 23-08-2008, 10:39 PM
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Thing is with four kids in a 4bed house, that's a lot of halogen heating if it gets really cold. There are people on the gas and elec forum who do as you are planning but I don't think many are families.

You are probably committed to renting the house now, but maybe a smaller house with gas CH might be more practical for the future? For the coming winter, I'd have thought fidget's advice was worth looking into.

When I was a child, we didn't have CH and got round it with heaters but we all spent most of the winter in the sitting room. A heater was put on in the bathroom and everywhere else was cold. All the time. And damp.

This year, we moved into a similar house and heaters and a dodgy immersion heater resulted in a horrendous electricity bill. I would seriously consider moving as many kids as possible into the bedrooms rather than spreading out into all four. Electric blankets are even lovelier than hot water bottles if you can beg or borrow.

Definitely, leave the bath water - in fact as you get out, put a child in and get everybody bathed in quick succession. One bath would probably do all of you with a bit of topping up. Have to admit we do this all the time.

Freecycle or charity shops for old heavy curtains for any windows that don't have them. Close them early to keep the cold out - almost as good as double glazing. And, as Barney'smum says, sitting under quilts in the evening works. If you bring down a couple of the kids' duvets they'll warm up in the room.
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# 6
dux001
Old 23-08-2008, 10:41 PM
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It sounds so crass, but get lots of thick wooly jumpers. I can (in theory) afford to heat my home, but I object to the costs of doing so, so I am very mimimalist with it.

I've got some wonderful thick jumpers and they really do work. You soon warm up. You don't need as much heating as you think you need.

Good luck!!
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# 7
sara1880
Old 23-08-2008, 10:48 PM
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I use a calor gas heater and find this very cheap and very very good at putting instant heat into a room, one bottle lasts me ages, i have GCH but i chose to use calor heater as it irritates me heating a whole house when i mainly live in tow of the rooms and the kitchen heats itself. if you did decided to try this way out just make sure the kids understand not to go to close to it.
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# 8
Barneysmom
Old 23-08-2008, 10:54 PM
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I forgot about the calor gas ones, they are ace
i used to have one in my old house, and I'd have it on while I was in the bath, then wheel it into the bedroom for half an hour to take the chill off (and the ice off the window!).

That polythene stuff on the windows is good too, and bubble wrap on the windows that don't matter much about view-wise.
Barney is my border collie.
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# 9
buckaroo
Old 23-08-2008, 11:02 PM
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Magentasue - we only moved in just over a month ago. I have been desperate to move for ages, I was living on a large, very rough council estate and really wanted to get out. This house is perfect for us, it is near the kids school, near their friends and near my family, unfortunately I just didn't consider the cost of heating the place when I came to see it.

We already share the bath water as much as possible, so that isn't a problem.

I've been looking on ebay for woolly jumpers and will also check charity shops.

I have considered a calor gas heater, but was worried about condensation. I had one years ago and it seemed to make the room quite damp, maybe they've improved since then?

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I think it is going to be quite a shock for the kids this winter, our old house was a mid terrace and was naturally quite warm, they aren't used to dressing up in socks and slippers but hopefully they'll see it as a novelty!
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# 10
Magentasue
Old 23-08-2008, 11:11 PM
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I used to use calor gas heaters and loved them for the heat output in a cold house but they are horrendously expensive compared to gas CH. They also cause a lot of condensation - bad enough in itself but a disaster in an otherwise cold house. ALso, in a recent thread, it was suggested they are dangerous. I really wouldn't use them with children in the house:
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/....html?t=247646

page 37
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# 11
Francesanne
Old 23-08-2008, 11:19 PM
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I was brought up in a house with no central heating, no storage heaters, no double glazing and none of us froze to death. We had a parafin heater in the bathroom in the winter but that was almost useless. It actually makes you pretty hardy and never suffered with too many colds. Just dress the kids in plenty of layers and make sure they have a hot meal and plenty of hot drinks when it's really cold. Depending of the ages of the children you could use hot water bottles in their beds. I can't bear a hot bedroom and never have my storage heater on because I wake up with a headache if it's too hot.
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# 12
Spendless
Old 23-08-2008, 11:31 PM
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Hi - I stumbled on your thread by chance, and whilst I can't give you much advice, I wanted to say that I spent a majority of my childhood living in a house with no CH. As kids we always had a dressing gown and slippers and would wear these over PJ's. We'd make sure we took these into bathroom with us, too cold to be wandering round house with just a towel.The upstairs was so cold in winter that mum and kids dressed in the living room in the morning - a habit I find hard to break even now with my own kids . We had hot water bottles too, though I find duvets much warmer than the old sheets and blankets.

Hope that helps - even a little.
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# 13
Magentasue
Old 23-08-2008, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesanne View Post
I was brought up in a house with no central heating, no storage heaters, no double glazing and none of us froze to death. We had a paraffin heater in the bathroom in the winter but that was almost useless. It actually makes you pretty hardy and never suffered with too many colds.
Hmm, can't say it worked on me!. As a family, we were always getting ill. And nobody who knows me would call me pretty hardy. I hate being cold and my brothers have grown up the same. That said, as children, we just accepted it as the way it was. Just like spendless said, we used to dress in front of the (only) gas fire in the living room. When my children were babies, I'd always take them downstairs to for changing their nappy and getting dressed. Never thought of it as a throwback to those childhood mornings, but I suppose it was.
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# 14
Poppycat
Old 26-08-2008, 3:14 PM
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I was the same too, it didn't do me any harm. The main concern though in a very cold house is damp, mould

I remember the days living in a 1970's, in a 1950 concrete pre-fab shivering in bed. the only heat was a 2 bar electric fire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesanne View Post
I was brought up in a house with no central heating, no storage heaters, no double glazing and none of us froze to death. We had a parafin heater in the bathroom in the winter but that was almost useless. It actually makes you pretty hardy and never suffered with too many colds. Just dress the kids in plenty of layers and make sure they have a hot meal and plenty of hot drinks when it's really cold. Depending of the ages of the children you could use hot water bottles in their beds. I can't bear a hot bedroom and never have my storage heater on because I wake up with a headache if it's too hot.

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# 15
woofwoofwoof
Old 26-08-2008, 4:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckaroo View Post
I have considered the budget accounts for oil, but I don't have the money to purchase the first lot of oil upfront. I've looked at boilerjuice and they have quoted me £300 for 500 litres. I've also looked into how long that is likely to last me and it seems not very long! I can only afford to put by £50 a month towards oil and I don't think that is anywhere near enough.
I have oil central heating and pay £50 per month by direct debit. You should be able to buy less than 500 litres 'to get you started', once you've done this £50.00 should be ample. We run the heating for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. The hour in the morning heats up the water and takes the chill off the air (the hour in the evening is just so I can annoy the OH ). Can you and the kids not take short showers? If the children are little, what about a baby bath you'd use less water and need to heat less. Also, if you do go down the direct debit route don't forget to phone around a few suppliers before you order the next load of oil and your supplier should match the cheapest price - ours does. By the way, good luck and happiness in your new home
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# 16
sscrabble
Old 28-08-2008, 11:37 AM
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I am a 55 year old bloke living alone have moved into a three bedroom semi that has gas central heating and is double glazed. There are no fires or anything in any of the rooms. I will spend all my waking hours in the kitchen diner and am just trying to plan ahead. What would my best and most cost effective plan be for winter - to turn all my radiators off except the one in the kitchen, and leave that on 24 hours? - or get some kind of electric heater ( and if so what type?) - or put the oven on and leave the door open or use the gas lights on the hob? Water is not a problem as it is a combi boiler.
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# 17
Steel
Old 30-08-2008, 12:03 AM
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Could you afford to get a secondhand wood burner from ebay and get it fitted?

They kick out loads of head and will burn waste wood, which you could get for free from carpenters?
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# 18
Skintmama
Old 01-09-2008, 10:04 PM
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Buckaroo - It does seem dreadful that the oil prices are putting people in your situation. I am trying to keep our consumption down but will still use some as necessary.

A few thoughts: If you have neighbours who are buying oil, combine your delivery with theirs as it brings the price of a 500 litre order down. It is best for everyone to shop around now as on the day of ordering there can be a difference of several pence per litre between oil companies.

If you are going for the no heating route (I'd suggest though that you try for an hour a day to air and take the chill off) then make sure you open the windows as much as possible on dry and sunny days to avoid dampness and allow air to circulate. I speak from soggy Devon!

I find an electric radiator useful as it has a thermostat, so can keep my large sitting room warm when we do not have wood for a fire, without making too much difference to our electricity bill.

Bodywarmers are great, as they keep me cosy without feeling restrictive or bundled up.

I run a bath a little ahead of time to warm the bathroom up and leave it as previously suggested but with the window open a touch.

Having one warm room to retreat to makes all the difference between feeling okay and being miserable, so I hope you are able to manage something for you and your family.
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# 19
Skintmama
Old 01-09-2008, 10:09 PM
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sscrabble - I would have thought that an electric radiator would suit you best as well as dressing warmly. It is a dry heat so won't give you problems with condensation. I also think it sensible to occasionally run your gas central heating in the very coldest weather to make sure all is in order and prevent damp problems.
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# 20
Gangstabird
Old 01-09-2008, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sscrabble View Post
I am a 55 year old bloke living alone have moved into a three bedroom semi that has gas central heating and is double glazed. There are no fires or anything in any of the rooms. I will spend all my waking hours in the kitchen diner and am just trying to plan ahead. What would my best and most cost effective plan be for winter - to turn all my radiators off except the one in the kitchen, and leave that on 24 hours? - or get some kind of electric heater ( and if so what type?) - or put the oven on and leave the door open or use the gas lights on the hob? Water is not a problem as it is a combi boiler.
Get a calor Gas heater, as you are a bloke living alone, it would be perfect for you. Don't forget to put a china bowl of water on the top, to stop condensation, no idea how this works but it does.
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