WINTER is upon us, but as the cost of living crisis deepens, many Brits are looking to turn off the heating to cut expensive energy bills.
The average bill has risen to £2,500 a year since the Energy Price Guarantee came into effect last month.
But if you’re a large family that uses a lot of energy, your bill is likely to be even higher.
Aside from layering up and sipping hot beverages, are there other ways to stay toasty and warm at home?
We asked mum-of-three Lynsey Hope, 41, from West Malling, Kent, to turn off the heating for a week and find alternative ways to keep warm instead.
Lynsey said: “I work from home and have three children who all watch TV, play on smart tablets and we cook, clean and do laundry a lot.
“Our energy bills are through the roof, so I’m very interested in finding ways to save a little money.
“Turning off the heat until it gets really cold can help – but I don’t want to freeze!”
Below, Lynsey reveals how she’s fared after turning it off for seven days:
The temperature has already dropped and usually my heating kicks in when the temperature at home drops below 17C.
I have a cold house so even in October it fell under that.
This week I turned off the heating. When I first woke up in the morning, it felt particularly chilly.
I ran downstairs, made myself a warm cup of coffee and sat on the sofa under a £79.99 Lakeland electric blanket.
The blanket has worked wonders and is great for curling up on the sofa in the morning or watching TV at night.
The kids all snuggled underneath it when they woke up.
I spend most of my day working at home in the office, so there is no point in heating the whole house.
After a little research I have invested in a halogen heater which is said to be among the most energy efficient you can buy.
I tried one from Wilko which only costs 13.6p an hour.
It was only £23 but did a really great job of keeping my home office warm.
The rest of the house felt cold, but that didn’t really matter.
Although the office felt pleasantly warm yesterday, my hands were super cold.
There are many gadgets out there that promise to warm up your hands.
I’ve tried some Amazon rechargeable Ocoopa hand warmers, which are £23.99 in an early Black Friday sale.
I would have thought this was a bit of a gimmick but they did a great job.
I’ve found them handy to tuck into robe pockets in the evenings, or sometimes use them between typing to warm up.
A good buy for €24.
In the evening I snuggled up under my heated blanket again.
In fact, I even had it wrapped around me when I worked at my desk during the day. It’s very soft and cuddly.
Another problem I had is drying clothes, which takes forever when it’s cold outside and you can’t put them on a warm heater.
So I decided to invest in a heated tumble dryer which cost £39.99 at Aldi. This was a real game changer.
Where clothes took 48 hours to try on, this will dry most items overnight.
It costs about 7p an hour to run so not cheap but it’s a good investment.
One of the biggest issues on Monday and Tuesday was how cold it was to go to bed. It was freezing.
Today I turned on an electric underblanket for an hour before bed. That worked wonderfully.
I set it to an hour around 9:30pm and when I went to bed the sheets were cozy and warm and I fell asleep straight away.
I used the Silentnight Yours and Mine Dual Control electric blanket which costs £45.
This only costs 1-3p an hour depending on which setting you choose, so it’s a lot cheaper than turning on the heating.
I used hot water bottles to keep my three children Jacob (8), Olive (5) and Ivy (2) warm.
I filled them up and put them in their beds about an hour before bed.
I noticed that they all fell asleep much faster than the day before when it was cold.
My youngest Ivy was still waking up during the night so I’m thinking of ways to keep her room warmer overnight.
It’s even colder today, only 10 or 11 degrees outside.
My toes were like ice at home so I decided to try something to keep my feet warm and stumbled upon this Beurer foot warmer.
I felt a bit silly tucking my feet in while working at my desk, but it has a cozy fleece surface and kept my feet warm.
You have to remember you’re in it or you might trip when you get up and try to walk away.
It’s quite expensive at £41 at Argos, but the good thing is that you can move it around really easily.
I often kept it under my desk during the day and put it on the sofa so I could use it while watching TV at night.
It only costs about 3p an hour to operate.
During this experiment, the coldest part of the week for me was getting out of the shower.
My bathroom feels particularly cold and it’s really uncomfortable – I’ve been so tempted to reach for the thermostat and this is only going to get worse as the temperatures continue to drop.
I’ve been researching possible solutions all week and started installing a draft excluder next to the bathroom door as the heat remaining in it seemed to escape fairly quickly.
It’s so cold that my towels often take more than 24 hours to dry, so I dry myself with a cold, wet towel as well.
Instead of turning the heat on I stuck my towel in the tumble dryer for ten minutes before I needed it so it was nice and warm when I came out and wrapped up.
This really worked, but tumble dryers are also pretty energy intensive so dry and heat your towel for ten minutes, it’ll cost you around 38p.
That sounds like quite a lot, so I also bought a microfiber towel for my hair to dry it faster.
This was great too and seemed to absorb the water quickly and I warmed up much quicker after using it.
Thermal clothing sales have skyrocketed as people worry about rising energy bills.
If clothing can keep you warm enough to turn off the heat, that sounds like a good investment.
I bought some thermos at £16 each from M&S and wish I had bought these earlier in the week.
Not the sexy stuff to wear but these really helped keep me warm no matter how cold it was outside.
They were stretchy and comfortable and in fact I got too hot chasing the kids while wearing them.
Incredibly, you can also buy heated scarves like one from Menkind for £19.80.
It was also helpful to wear this when it was particularly cold.
It’s definitely the hands, feet, and neck that get cold most often, so I definitely felt more comfortable keeping those parts warm.
It’s USB powered, so you can even plug it into a power bank for some warmth on the go!
Keeping the children’s rooms warm was one of the biggest challenges this week.
When they are cold, they keep waking up at night and then nobody is happy.
I’d rather turn on the thermostat.
I didn’t want to pay for large heaters in every bedroom as that would clearly cost a bomb, so I tried a £19.99 plug-in heater from Coopers of Stortford instead.
I found it surprisingly strong and did a great job of warming their small spaces.
It’s energy efficient too, costing just 17p an hour, so you can have it on for two or three hours in the evening and it won’t break the bank.
There is a timer if you don’t want to leave it running overnight.
I spent the day in my thermals and felt quite warm even though it was cold outside.
The electric blanket definitely helped me fall asleep without freezing.
Living without heating is hard.
My house is cold anyway and since I work from home most of the time I don’t like sitting around with chattering teeth.
However, we are all concerned about rising energy bills and need to find ways to reduce our central heating expenses.
What I learned from this experiment is that there are many gadgets and gizmos that can make you feel more comfortable at home.
My favorites were the M&S thermal clothing and the Lakeland electric blanket.
I will be using them daily throughout the winter.
I have no plans to live without heating, but using some of these products will definitely help me turn the thermostat down a bit.
According to The Energy Saving Trust, turning down just one degree can save you up to £100 a year, so they’re definitely a good investment.