This week, we remind people of the importance of staying warm.
Staying warm can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
That’s why it’s important to ensure you keep up to date with the weather and the forecasted temperatures, as well as keep your home at the correct temperature and wear enough clothes to stay warm.
It’s also important to think about how you can cut down on your energy costs.
If you have reduced mobility, are aged 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, the advice from Public Health England is that you should heat your home to at least 18C. It’s a good idea to keep your living room at 21°C and your bedroom at 18C temperature all night if you can.
You can also use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but not at the same time – to keep warm while you’re in bed.
Other advice includes wearing lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and help to maintain body heat – and wear shoes with a good grip to prevent slips and falls when outside.
Before the colder weather sets in, it’s also a good idea to find out if you could be saving money on your energy bills.
With award-winning energy provider Fairerpower, a partnership formed between Cheshire East Council and OVO Energy, you could save more than £200 a year on your bills.
Fairerpower can be contacted by calling 0800 408 6701 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information can be found at www.fairerpower.co.uk
Here are some top tips from Fairerpower for saving energy:
When you boil a kettle, use only as much water as you need;
Cover pots and pans when you’re cooking – they’ll boil a lot faster;
Defrost your freezer regularly;
If you’ve only got a small amount of food to heat up, using a microwave rather than a conventional oven could save you energy;
Wash your clothes at 30°C – it can be just as effective unless you’ve got a very dirty load;
Only run your washing machine or dishwasher with full loads;
Avoid tumble drying;
Replace old light bulbs with energy-efficient ones.
Of all the things you can do to save energy, improving your home’s insulation will have by far the greatest impact. Here are some easy, quick fixes:
Fitting cavity wall insulation can cut around £115 off your heating bill each year;
Get draught excluders for external doors, windows and letterboxes. It’s also worth tackling gaps between skirting boards and floorboards;
Double-glazing keeps the heat in, and also reduces noise and condensation;
Close your curtains as soon as it starts to get dark, to lock in the heat.
The Council’s care and repair service provides support to older, disabled and vulnerable people to improve their homes. The service includes accessing urgent works grants for home repairs such as heating and insulation, and helping to organise the works. For more information, phone 0300 123 5017 (select option four).
Energy Projects Plus also provides a telephone advice service on 0800 043 0151 (or 0151 637 3670 from a mobile) for Cheshire East residents, offering a wide range of advice on energy efficiency, information on insulation grants and offers, switching energy suppliers, managing fuel debt, renewable energy, and much more. More details can also be found at www.epplus.org.uk
To keep up to date with the weather, tune in to the Met Office’s weather forecasts on radio and television. Severe weather warnings are also issued on the Met Office website, through their Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/metoffice) or you can ring their 24-hour weather desk on 0370 900 0100 or 01392 885 680.
For further winter-related advice, please visit: www.facebook.com/cheshireeastcouncil and www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/winter
Residents can help friends and neighbours who do not have internet access by downloading and printing off information from the website and giving it to them.