Cheap ways to stay warm

By Staff Writer
Winter seems to have arrived in full force. Though South African homes were not built for the cold, and with Eskom’s power problems, heaters might not always be the best option.

Eskom recommends that you close doors to any unoccupied rooms while you have a heater on so that you don’t waste warmth on unused areas. This will also save you money as you will not have to heat as many rooms, but rather only the rooms you are using.

While Eskom has some good heat retention advice, the power provider can’t always be relied upon and there is a high possibility of load shedding this winter. So we have found some other ways you can keep warm.


If you are lucky enough to have a nice fireplace in your home, then this winter you are in luck. But, before you go ahead and get the fire started, make sure you have a professional come and clean the chimney.

There is nothing worse than starting a fire, and then having your house fill with smoked from a blocked chimney.

The warmth from a fire won’t stretch out all across the house, so make sure to close all the doors to rooms you are not using.
The same goes for if you are using a heater. Make the space that needs to be heated smaller, and thus warmer.

Also make sure to close all open windows, and block and places where a draft can come through, like under the door.

Don’t forget to clean your fireplace regularly to stop the build-up of soot and ash. If you do have small children in the house, then buying a fire grate is also a good idea.

You can get fire wood at Pick n Pay for R24.99. A box of ten matches costs R5.29 and firelighters should cost R12.99.

There is nothing quite like snuggling up on the couch with a warm blanket, and settling down for the evening. Blankets are inexpensive ways to keep warm, and can be used for everything.

You can throw a blanket over your bed to keep your warm at night, or just to add extra layers.

PEP stores, Pick n Pay, and Ackermans all sell blankets.
At PEP you can find a fleece blanket for R74.99.

Hot water bottles

You are going to have to boil the kettle multiple times in order to reheat the water, but having a hot water bottle can really keep you warm.

Retail store, Clicks, sells hot water bottles with a fleece sleeve for R39.99.

Alternatively, go for a hot bean bag, which performs the same job as the water bottle.

The bean bags (sometimes filled with rice) are simply placed into the microwave, and heated up. But, be warned, regular use of the bean bags can lead them to get a bit smelly.

This is because the substance inside burns a little from constantly going in the microwave.

Also make sure to test out how hot they are before you give them to your children, as they absorb a lot of heat.

If you want to make your own bean bag, it is relatively simple.

Thick curtains, carpets and washing

Thick curtains help to keep all the warm air in, says DIY Cape Town. If you don’t want to go out and buy new curtains, hanging thick blankets over rails, or some extra material will do the trick.
This is the same with carpets, especially if your house has wooden floors, or is tiled. The inexpensive way to carpet your house, is to go out and get some throw rugs.

These will keep the heat in, and you can place in the colder parts of your home.

Also, when it comes to your washing, make sure to hang it up inside, even if it’s not raining out. “This will pick up the humidity level in the house and raise the temperature significantly,” says DIY Cape Town.

It may sound like the exact opposite thing to do, but DIY Cape Town recommends that you switch your ceiling fan on low if you’re using a heater to help circulate warm air that’s risen to the ceiling.

This way less heat is wasted, and so there is less of a demand on your heater.

Even something like showering with the door open, says DIY Cape Town, can warm the house up a bit. Because a shower would be warm, and therefore create a lot of warm air, leaving the bathroom door open means that the rest of the house can enjoy that warmth too.


If you do want go the heater route, there are different options out there. At Pick n Pay for example, they sell a small heater for R129, which can be used to keep your feet warm, or just raise the temperature of the room a bit.

There are also element heaters which can keep you toasty. But be careful with little children around, that they don’t get burned.
Just remember that we are in for load shedding this winter, so heaters are not always going to keep you warm.

There are basic tips, and inexpensive ways for you to keep warm this winter, without relying too much on electricity.
Whatever you do, make sure to always stay safe: do not fall asleep with a fire still lit, or a heater on. It is dangerous for everyone in the house.

Make sure to keep windows and doors closed to keep out and cold drafts, and snuggle up. 

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