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How to live without heating - save £000s

HertsLad Posts: 284 Forumite
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edited 24 February 2022 at 4:10PM in Energy
I am sorry to read Martin Lewis say he fears people will die because a lot of people cannot afford heating. I agree but regard it as sad. The Government, Councils, charities and other public bodies could do a lot more to advise people on what to wear so many of those people should be able to stay perfectly warm without any heating at all. For me, the choice between eating and heating is a no-brainer. The priority should be eating because it's essential to keep warm. But the main message from these bodies and organisations is to warm your home to 20C, as if everyone can afford it.

I haven’t heated my house for more than 11 years. My approach is to keep myself warm, rather than heat the house - not even a single room. I estimate I have saved up to £1000 per year.  As prices are now rising more sharply than ever, I estimate the saving will soon increase to £1500 per year. My house typically goes down to 2C during any cold spells between December and February. Today, on 10 February in Hertfordshire, it is 11C. The normal range over winter is around 4C - 8C. I am perfectly comfortable and toasty warm because I am wearing enough clothes with good insulation properties. The more clothes you wear, the lower the temperature you can withstand. It should be obvious but is it?

The common suggestion to put on a jumper is nowhere near enough.I had to work out for myself what I need to wear. It didn't seem wholly intuitive. For example it's important to insulate legs as much as one's torso. I learned from hearing and reading what polar scientists and explorers wear to withstand temperatures down to -30C or colder. I figured 2C in my house is relatively warm, and so it proved to be. The colder it gets, the more layers I wear. None of the clothing is restrictive so I can move around almost as freely as when wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the summer.My favourite clothes are two polyester base layers (one over the top of the other, for both legs and top), a pure wool jumper, and a thinsulate jacket plus a thinsulate lined hat and down-insulated trousers. Everything needs to be long sleeve so I regard 'body warmer' gilets as a joke, together with anything made of acrylic. Nothing I wear is very expensive at all, especially when compared to the cost of heating. It would almost certainly be cheaper for the Government to hand out packs of clothing, rather than make cold weather payments.I never need to wear gloves indoors, even at 2C. Neither do I need an electrically heated foot warmer, all night electric blanket or anything like that.The inside of my house has never reached freezing point. I sometimes leave out small dishes with water, to check if they freeze over. It's never happened.Special measures may be needed to prevent burst water pipes in the loft.

I tried heating one room originally but discovered zero heating is far more convenient because whenever you leave a heated room, you start to get cold, e.g. to go to the kitchen.

I make only two exceptions: (1) I use an electric blanket to pre-warm the bedding for 20 minutes and (2) I use a fan heater in the bathroom but only for about 10 minutes at a time. I sleep under two 13.5 tog duvets, one on top of the other. 

Government backed studies suggest low temperatures can lead to increased blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks. My core temperature is perfectly normal so I hope I'm not at risk. Neither do I seem to have suffered any ill effects from breathing in cold air. I can't possibly say if my approach will be right for you. Probably not, if you have children or suffer from certain medical conditions, for example. Only you can decide.


  • wild666
    wild666 Posts: 2,136 Forumite
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    I only have the heating on when family are down otherwise I use a hot water bottle. The thermals I wear under fleeced jogging pants keep the lower half warm on the thermal top with a T-Shirt over it and a fleeced dressing gown is all I need to keep warm. 
    Someone please tell me what money is
  • GingerTim
    GingerTim Posts: 2,076 Forumite
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    edited 10 February 2022 at 1:13PM
    Has Ray Mears just given away his MSE username?
  • EssexHebridean
    I'd hope Ray Mears would at least be sensible and responsible enough to understand that just because HE chooses to do something, it's not a good thing to give as general advice to everyone! 
    🎉 MORTGAGE FREE (First time!) 30/09/2016 🎉 And now we go again…New mortgage taken 01/09/23 🏡
    Balance as at 01/09/23 = £115,000.00
    Balance as at 31/12/23 = £112,000.00
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  • markin
    markin Posts: 3,854 Forumite
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    edited 10 February 2022 at 1:18PM
    A bit extreme, you must have a well insulated home for it to always be +2c, If you didn't cut the gas off you could just use the frost setting at 6c and be far more comfortable, and as you get older you could even go up to 12c!
  • GingerTim
    GingerTim Posts: 2,076 Forumite
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    I'd hope Ray Mears would at least be sensible and responsible enough to understand that just because HE chooses to do something, it's not a good thing to give as general advice to everyone! 
    Amen to that! More seriously, this sort of 'advice' is actively dangerous to some people and I'd be inclined to delete it.
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