Ready, steady, bake and other ideas on how to warm up your home

Baking can help warm the house and there's a treat at the end of it. Peony apron from www.sophieallport.com
Baking can help warm the house and there's a treat at the end of it. Peony apron from www.sophieallport.com
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by Sharon Dale

Leeds, Ripon, Bradford, York and Wakefield are among the top 12 coldest cities in the UK, according to new research by Contura.

Perth in Scotland takes the top spot with an average winter temperature of 0.4 deg.C but Leeds and Bradford are joint second with 0.6 deg.C. Ripon is seventh with 0.8, York is ninth with 0.9 and Wakefield is in 12 place with a winter average of one deg.C.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in the UK was a bone chilling -27.7 deg.C in Braemar in 1982

Phil Wood, UK manager for wood-burning stove brand www.contura.eu, says: “The cold snap is really starting to set in and with two thirds of Brits admitting to being caught out by severe weather, the top of everyone’s to do list should be to ensure that they are both heating their home as efficiently as possible and taking steps to keep the heat in and the cold out.

From bleeding the radiators to enjoying some baking, Contura has compiled its guide to ensuring a warmer home this winter:

Warmth on draught: A very simple, yet effective step is to use draught excluders. Filling in the gaps around your windows and doors will not only help you retain heat in the home but can also help you to save on your heating bills. Make sure to think beyond doors and windows – cat-flaps and letterboxes also let draughts in.

*Boiler MOT: When was the last time you had your boiler serviced? A regular boiler service will give you peace of mind that your boiler is both safe and operating efficiently. And if your boiler is over 10 years old, you should consider replacing it for a newer, more efficient model. The last thing you need is your boiler breaking down in the middle of a cold snap.

Embrace DIY: If the top half of your radiator feels cool to touch, trapped air may be preventing the hot water rising and therefore heating correctly. Bleeding a radiator is actually very straight-forward. Firstly, ensure your heating is off and radiators are cool to touch. Open the radiator valve with a radiator bleed key, which can be bought for as little as £1 from any hardware shop; you’ll hear air hissing and as soon as you see a drip of water, close it up again.

Thermal feng shui: Call it what you will but perhaps it’s time to reconsider your living room layout… It can be tempting to position the sofa in front of the radiator so that you ‘feel the benefit of the heat’ but in reality, your sofa is just soaking up all the heat. Move it.

*Get crafty: A piece of thin card covered with foil and placed behind your radiator (foil facing the radiator) will reflect the heat back into the room, rather than heating the wall. I

*Consider using an App: Use Hive, Nest or Honeywell, which enable you to control your heating from your phone. An App will allow you to switch the heating on or increase/decrease the temperature.

Follow Sweden’s lead: In Sweden winter temperatures can reach as low as -30C and wood-burning stoves are one of the favored ways to help keep the home warm and welcoming. They are 60 per cent more efficienct than an open fire. Invest in an Ecodesign ready stove which will reduce carbon emissions by 90 per centcompared to a traditional open fireplace.

Ready, steady, bake: Think about all of that lovely heat generated by the oven and, rather than letting it go to waste, once you’ve finished cooking leave the oven door ajar to allow the heat to drift into the room.