Heat well

Try to keep a temperature of 21°C in the main rooms. Your bedroom should be kept above 18°C overnight. You may also want to use a hot water bottle OR electric blanket (but not both!).

Dress well

You should always remember to wrap up warm and put on a good coat, scarf and gloves when you leave the house. You lose a lot of heat through your head so remember to wear a hat or headscarf. Also to stay warm in-doors wear several layers of thin clothes, to trap the heat, and slippers (make sure that your slippers have a good grip and are not showing signs of wear and tear).

Eat well

Food is a vital source of warmth, so try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day and remember to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. In the winter months this will help ward off any illnesses.

Keep moving

Moving around is good for your health and generates extra body heat, so any exercise will help keep you warm. No matter what time of year it is you should try to do some light exercise each day.

Stop smoking

By stopping smoking you will boost your health for the winter, reduce your chances of a heart attack and improve your body's circulation.  For help use Smokefree.

Your health

People are more likely to fall ill with cold or flu in winter. Those who are more fragile or vulnerable such as older people, very young or people with existing health issues are more likely to have problems such as heart attacks, stroke, and pneumonia. It is important to take care of yourself, your family, and keep an eye on your neighbours when the weather turns cold.

Those with respiratory problems or people over 65 are entitled to a free flu jab and should call your local GP to arrange this for you.

Keep safe and look out for neighbours

If you have an older neighbour or relative, keep an eye out for them in the winter and make sure they are safe and well.

Keep your bills down

Winter is when many people turn up the heating and have more lights on around the house. By following a few useful tips you could keep the costs down.

  • Draw the curtains at dusk, close doors behind you, keep windows and doors closed when the heating is on (although if using a gas heater make sure the room is ventilated with a flue).
  • Switch off lights when leaving each room
  • Make sure your loft has 250mm (10inches) of loft insulation
  • Fit foil behind radiators to reflect heat back in the room
  • Don't overfill your kettle – only put in the water you need
  • Switch off the TV- standby uses nearly as much power as when it's fully on
  • Your hot water tank should be set to around 60°C
  • Wash clothes and linen at 30 or 40°C (modern detergents perform better)
  • Take a shower– it uses less water than a bath
  • Contact your energy supplier as they may be able to give you a discount
  • Insulate your home - Reduce heat loss from your home, fit draught proofing

Get financial support information about Winter fuel payments.

Water, heating and burst pipes

Before very cold weather comes make sure that you know where your mains water stopcock is and that it works just in case your pipes freeze and crack.

Make sure that tanks and pipes are well insulated, that means wrapped up with cloth or fibreglass. Always make sure that your home is insured in case the contents are damaged by flooding.

If you do have frozen pipes do not use your hot water until they have fully thawed and try to clear any airlocks that may also be preventing water flow. If you're unsure of anything then call in qualified help before attempting anything yourself.

Protecting against carbon monoxide

Each year, more than 50 people in England and Wales die of carbon monoxide poisoning because of badly installed heaters and cookers. The best way to prevent any accidents is to have all gas and fossil fuel appliances and flues serviced regularly.

We strongly advise leaseholders and private tenants to organise annual servicing of their appliances by a Gas Safe Registered gas engineer. It is also a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors. For more information use Gas Safe Register.

What else can I do?

If you are in rented accommodation and have no heating or faulty heating contact your landlord in the first instance, if the problem remains please contact us.

If you are a council tenant and you have problems with your heating system, please contact the housing repairs team on 01395 517458.

If you are a private home owner, elderly or know a friend or relative who is elderly and need further advice please contact us. Or visit Age UK or NHS Choices winter health.