How to keep warm when the heating doesn’t work

You might have seen on my Instagram Stories that our heating is on the blink again. With it, the hot water, the oven, and the hob. Brilliant. Anyway, it got me thinking. More than once we’ve been in the position of not having heating, and I’ve seen it mentioned more than once on Twitter that others are in the same position.

We ran out of heating oil in February 2018, when the snow hit. That was THE coldest week of my entire life! Thankfully at the time that was the only thing that was affected, so we still had hot water and could use the oven – until the electric went, but that’s another story.

This time, we have gas. It shouldn’t freeze, but we’ve been told by our gas suppliers – we use bottles because of where we are – that the cold will change the pressure in the bottles and make it harder for it to vaporize and go up and out through the tube. So we have a bottle that’s half full, and can’t use it. *Insert crying face*.

I won’t bore you with more details, don’t worry! Here’s how we manage to keep warm when the heating doesn’t work.

Keep warm when the heating doesn’t work


It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised there’s actually a wrong was of doing this! To make this work, you need to use multiple thin layers, and not just a couple thick ones.Putting on a thick jumper will make a difference at first, but once the initial benefits wears off you’re back to being cold again.

With multiple layers you’re essentially giving yourself insulation. Between each layer, air will get trapped. That air will be warmed up by your body heat, and if you manage to get 2 or more layers going like that then you’ll be able to stay warm for longer.

Take it off or you won’t feel the benefit

Living the way we do, both of us go outside every day. Brad’s obviously out on the farm, and I go out for the chickens and our washing machine, tumble dryer, and freezer are in a shed.  I know we have all heard the saying “Take your coat off or you won’t feel the benefit” and it’s 100% true.

I notice a huge difference if I take my coat on and off when going in and out of the house. It’s an extra layer that works the same as I explained above, and when the inside of the house is quite cold you need to feel the difference of temperature to the outside to feel the warmth from the inside.


Putting them over your duvet, or using them while you sit on the sofa, blankets are a huge help in staying warm. I know we all notice a difference if we have blankets on the bed! I do reserve this for when it’s ridiculously cold, as it can actually get quite hot under a 13.5 tog duvet, 3 blankets, and a dog that refuses to sleep anywhere other than under the duvet when it’s cold.

Make sure your duvet is in good condition

We don’t spend huge amounts on our duvets, I think the most we’ve paid is £29.99 for a Silentnight duvet from B&M. Our last one was from Primark, and it lasted 2 years before it needed replacing – which isn’t bad for £20! The fluff can move around and leave patches of the duvet without any at all, meaning you get a cold spot in the bed. If you can, just buy a new one. It makes all the difference!

Stay dry

This goes for keeping the house as damp and condensation free as possible, to making sure your clothes are dry before wearing them, to drying yourself and your hair properly after a bath or shower. Moisture will cool surfaces down and will make you cold. It’s the same way as sweat works to cool you down in the summer.


A couple extras to think about…

Get a backup heater

When we had all that snow in February, we decided we couldn’t go any longer and we went to the garden center to get a space heater. It cost £20, I’m pretty sure it made the difference between keeping our toes attached to our body. I remember it being -5 at one point, and that was in the mud-room!

I know electric heaters can be very expensive, but if you’re in a position where it can and will affect your health then you need to do whatever you can. Having a smart meter will help keep an eye on the cost, and some of them can heat up a space in no time at all.

Open fire or log burner

If you’re in a position to, having one of these two options in your home, it will make a huge difference too. If you life somewhere rural you’ll probably be able to get a better price on wood too, and there are ways to make your own kindling from sticks you find on walks to making newspaper bricks.

Do you have any tips for staying warm?


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