In winter, we tend to dust off our gas heaters and turn up the underfloor heating, which makes our electricity bills high and our wallets light. South African homes are also designed to keep cool in summer months with large windows, tiled floors, and open verandas for entertaining; which can make it even more difficult (and pricey) to heat our homes in winter. However, by making some clever adjustments and using what you have, you can beat the worst of the chill as we get through the last of the colder months, and keep your heating bills down.
1. Use The Sun
The sun is by far one of the most affordable ways to heat your home. Take advantage of this natural heat by keeping your curtains open during the day and allowing the light to filter in. Once the sun has set, close your curtains or blinds immediately to trap all the warm air inside the room. Your curtains act as another form of insulation that is already available – so make sure that you use them.
2. Don’t Wait… Insulate
“As cooler days and nights approach, it’s important to check your home’s insulation,” says Orlando Luis, CEO of Brights Hardware. “Adding to, improving, or fixing your ceiling insulation will help to keep everyone warm. There are a variety of affordable insulation products available, such as rolls of thermal roof insulation or sisalation, which is a reinforced aluminium foil insulation material. There is also Kraft paper, reinforced synthetic fiber and polyethylene.”
3. Check Windows For Draughts
After having withstood months of harsh sunshine, heat, and dry conditions, our homes will now be exposed to the cold, damp and (sometimes) wet weather that the season brings. “These extremes, coupled with general wear and tear, can cause damage and deterioration to our homes, so preventative maintenance is key to not only getting your home ready for winter, but also keeping it in good condition and maintaining its value,” says Orlando Luis.
Cracks in window frames can be a key escape point for warm air, so check windows for draughts by running your hand along the edge of the frame. If you feel cold air, you can patch the hole with putty or a form of sealant. It won’t cost much and it will ensure that your windows stay insulated.
4. Shut It
Installing shutters in your windows and doors will not only make your house feel like a Grecian villa, but it will also keep the heat in! These eco-friendly shutters from Taylor Blinds promote thermal insulation and energy efficiency because they let light and heat in during winter, and keep the harsh sunshine out in summer.
5. Trick The Eye
The clever use of colour can instantly turn a cold room into a cosy haven. Add elements of grey to your bedroom, or combine it with white for a colour block effect. If you have a monochrome room, make a statement by adding accessories in contrasting colours like ochre or coral. “Grey in all its shades is still big news right now and you’ll find this colour taking centre stage across duvet sets, quilts, scatters, blankets, and curtains in a variety of designs,” explains Stacey Nel, Volpes’ Marketing Manager. Grey is an extremely versatile colour that can make a dramatic and moody statement in monochrome plains, but it also mixes easily with more classic colours such as duck egg, midnight blue, naturals, and white.
Alternatively, opt for a more dramatic statement with midnight blue. “A wide range of deep blue hues, reflected in modern stripes, stunning florals, geometric prints or timeless plains will make a real impact,” says Elbe Truter, Volpes Buyer. If midnight blue on its own is too daunting, there’s no better colour mix than sandy naturals, crisp whites and other shades of blue in a pretty floral or bold geometric design.
6. Invest In A Door Snake
One of the most affordable ways to heat your home is to use a door snake. Whether you make your own or buy one, it’s an easy way to keep heat in and cold air out. Quite a bit of energy can be lost through the gap underneath a door and by placing something in front of it; you can prevent cold air from entering.
If you don’t want to buy one, use items that you have around the house to make your own. A simple door snake can be made from an old sock, or an old pair of jeans and some sort of stuffing – even lentils or rice can work. For step-by-step instructions on how to make your own, click here.
7. Add Layers
Quilts and throws are great for adding a layer of comfort, texture and colour to your bedroom decor. Try these options:
- Mix things up with a versatile, reversible quilt with coordinating prints you can chop and change.
- Let a plain shimmer soft throw peek out from under a chunky blanket at the end of your bed.
- For a more modern look, try the same layering technique in the middle of your bed. Don’t forget to add some scatters to complete your look.
8. Keep Doors Closed
Closing the doors of any unused rooms is an alternative way to keep warm air in. If you are using a heater in the lounge, closing any interleading doors will mean the heater won’t have to work as hard to keep the room warm, and you can turn the temperature (and your electricity costs) down.
9. Cover It Up
Your home loses a lot of its heat through the floor, especially if most of the rooms are tiled. An easy way to heat your home without using electricity is to cover up the floor with a rug or carpet. Splash out on a lovely shaggy rug or opt for a cheaper alternative. Either way, you’ll find it will make a huge difference to the overall temperature in your home.
Compiled by Food and Decor editor, Claire Badenhorst