3 Staying warm

Safe and efficient heating will help your relative be as comfortable as possible. Here are ways to help ensure that they keep warm.

  • Service the gas appliances – fires, ovens, boilers and central heating systems – regularly, employing a professional who has been certified by the Gas Safe Register.
  • Consider using plug-in electrical heaters with low surface temperature (LST): this type of heater reduces the risk of burns if it is accidentally touched or in the event of a fall. Creda NOBO is one company who manufactures heaters like this (see this page on their website).
  • Thermometers can help to ensure that rooms do not fall below a certain temperature. For living rooms, the recommended temperature is between 18 and 21°C. For other rooms, the recommended temperature is not less than 16°C.
  • It’s important that the home is suitably warm before getting out of bed in the morning. If using central heating, set the timer on the system so that the heating comes on every morning for at least one hour before your relative wakes up.

Your energy provider or heating (boiler) engineer may also be able to provide good advice on keeping the home warm.

Central heating

  • Try to ascertain the optimum way to run the central heating system. For example, it may be cheaper to keep the heating running constantly at a lower level rather than turning it on and off. Again, your relative’s energy provider or a good heating engineer should be able to help with this.
  • Programming central heating systems can be challenging, so if your relative is purchasing a new boiler or thermostat, consider one that is simple and intuitive to operate. Choose display units that are easy to access and read.

Gas and electric fires

  • Gas or electric fires can not only add warmth to a room, they can give a feeling of cosiness not possible with central heating. However, they must always be switched off when people are not around.
  • If purchasing a new electric or gas fire, ensure that the controls can be reached without bending, and that the fire has an automatic ignition system. Some modern fires have the controls placed on top – and there are even certain models that can be operated by remote control.
  • Ensure that the fires and their controls are in good working order. For example, if the ignition system does not automatically light, have that part replaced. This will reduce the need to bend and to light the fire with matches.

Using the controls

  • Knob turners are simple products intended, as their name suggests, to help with turning knobs – for example, on the gas fire or boiler. Knobs can be difficult to turn if they are small or stiff, or if they need to be pushed in and turned simultaneously. Some knob turners also have a longer handle that provides additional help with controls that are difficult to reach. A range of these devices is available to buy from the Disabled Living Foundation’s website.