The colder months are drawing in, the days are getting shorter and most of us are spending more time at home than we bargained for. Making sure that your home is ready for this cold spell can help you stay warm and healthy as well as save a little on those winter bills!
There’s lots to look forward to in the winter; from those cosy nights, to catching up with loved ones (even if it’s not quite how we expected!) However, keeping our homes warm is a really important part of enjoying this time of year and staying healthy. We’ve rounded up some tips to help you through these months.
Get assistance where you can
Keeping the home at a recommended base temperature of 18°C might not be possible for everybody, but it’s worth checking if you are eligible for help during the winter. Here are some schemes you can have a look at:
Warm Home Discount Scheme: This is a £140 one-off discount from an electricity bill for this winter (2020/2021). Pensioners get the payment automatically (if your supplier is part of the scheme) and those that get certain benefits are eligible also. Check if you’re eligible here.
Winter fuel payments: Those born before 5 October 1954, can receive a one-off payment up to £300. Some pensioners born after that date may also be able to apply for a discount by clicking here.
Help lines: If keeping your home warm this winter means you have to make tough choices between your basic needs, you may be able to get help by going to these websites or calling these help lines:
England & Wales: Simple Energy Advice or call 0800 444 202
Scotland: Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282
Northern Ireland: NI Energy Advice or call 0800 111 445
Working from Home
For some people, the office is a long-ago memory, with many now working from home. More devices being plugged in for longer and the kettle boiling from waking to sleeping means that heating and electricity bills will likely be higher this winter. The good news is that there are some options for help out there:
- Request from your employer £6 a week tax free allowance. This isn’t guaranteed, as it’s up to your company to decide if they want to pay out
- If you have been told to work from home even one day this year, you can claim tax relief on £6 a week from the government here. Just enter the date that you started working from home and submit your application
- If you are self-employed you can still claim this, but it will be a bit more complicated. You will need to enter this as part of your self-assessment form
This year has been almost entirely focused on the nation’s health. So, what can you do to keep especially healthy this winter?
Get Your Flu Jab: If you are over 65, pregnant or have an underlying health condition like asthma or diabetes you will be able to get a free NHS flu jab. For anybody over 12 who wants to protect themselves it shouldn’t cost more than £8. This is available through your GP, participating pharmacies or you can also buy it privately.
Keep moving: There are free home workouts available online for any ability or age. Getting the blood pumping regularly will get you warmer but also improve your mood. Here are a few from the NHS and of course, we couldn’t mention home workouts without giving you some from lockdown hero, Joe Wicks!
Stay in touch: Although it’s not the whole picture, one of the biggest impacts on how we experience the winter is our state of mind. Even though we may not be able to spend time with our neighbours and loves ones, a twenty-minute phone call to anyone you love can also have a big impact – and probably make them forget about the cold for little stretch of time!
We’re wishing you the best for this winter and hoping you all stay healthy.
The HomeSwapper Customer Support team are always on hand to give advice and tips on how to get the most from HomeSwapper. They deal with Swappers every day and have a unique insight and view on the thousands of successful swaps that take place on HomeSwapper.