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Parent's Housing

I'd appreciate some advice on dealing with this situation both practically and diplomatically.

I've recently moved home to my Mum's house as I couldn't afford to stay in London. I'm living as a lodger, paying rent, my share of bills etc, she doesn't cook/clean etc for me, so very much on lodger status (which I want).

My problem is that it is bitterly cold here. When she puts the heating on (generally just for a few hours morning and evening) she will not turn the thermostat above 16 degrees. She says she cannot afford anymore, but a) this is not true and b) I have offered to pay a higher proportion of the heating bill. Part of the problem is that she is stuck in the 1950s (I don't mean that in a too cruel a way, but she keeps going on about the good old days before central heating) and also she is very severely obese and I'm sure this keeps her warmer.

There are mould spores and mushroomy type things growing in the house which I'm sure in part is due to the temperature. This worries me a lot as I am allergic to moulds.

I have only been back from holiday a few days, but I can already feel my chest starting to grump, and I can really feel the effect of the cold, particularly overnight. My Mum doesn't understand asthma at all. There's little point trying to teach her as she doesn't 'believe in medicine'. I left home at 18, so she hasn't seen me with severe asthma.

How do I convince her to turn the heating on/up without a massive argument? I'm willing to pay more, so that approach doesn't work. :( I can feel my asthma going downhill and I'll be at the docs/hosp before long if I don't find a solution.

7 Replies

If you cannot live there because of the conditions and because your mum has a problem understanding your asthma, have you thought of going to council emergency housing or some sort of housing list or at least phoning them to see whether because of your health you would qualify. Also it might swing it a little more if you got a letter off you gp. Or have you thought of moving altogether another house/apartment. I know they are not cheap in London as i had a family friend living there.

Please take this as just a thought - i don't know but it may be worth a try

Please shout at me if this has not helped!! - rants welcome


Everyone thinks our flat is cold and our thermostat is set to 19! I would think that being overweight your mum won't feel the cold as much as you do!

Have you tried the slightly different tack of making the house more efficient? It is more efficient to have the heating on low all the time not just for a few hours a day. There are lots of grants available for insulation etc. Also getting the boiler serviced, and checking its at the right pressure and bleeding radiators all helps.

Can you at least get a little electric heater for your own room? If the room is drafty small things like thermal linings for the curtains can make an enormous difference.

Hope you can convince her to change a little!


While obviously it will do nothing about the damp / airborne mould spores, etc., I wondered whether you have thought of buying a Slanket for keeping your body warm? The flat I live in during term time is owned by the school I work for and until it was refurbished last summer, I also had an issue with damp/cold (but mine was because of ill-fitting windows and an ancient heating system).

For keeping myself warm, I bought a Slanket and it was exceedingly efficient: they're huge, thick fleece blankets and the sleeves mean you can keep snug and all of your body covered while reading/working on your laptop, etc. I also used to pop it on my bed and that way could have the top bit of fleece over my head/face to warm up in the night if necessary. Ultimately, it does sound as though to need to find somewhere that's warm and dry but this might at least keep you a little warmer in the interim? I bought mine from Amazon but they're all over the Internet (the proper Slanket branded ones are far bigger/cosier than the other brands)


When I lived in a really cold house (as a student) I used to spend most of my time in bed with a hot water bottle. Sorry, it's not much help - hope u get it sorted soon.


Hi Ratty, welcome back from your travels.

bless you for all the trouble you seem to be having and i wish there was something constructive that i could do to help.

would she let you hire/buy a dehumidifier (they are electric) at least in your room to help to dry out the place where i would guess you spend most time? this would help with the damp, but they work best if they are left on all the time - they dont use much power really. also i found that they warm the air up so it would help with the temperature in your room.

i agree with others that you yourself need to stay as warm as possible to keep you from getting more poorly as inner coldness lowers our immunity.

bless you. hope you find the words to explain things to your mum more easily and hope that she is receptive when you try. take care. ><>


Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I do like the idea of staying in bed!!

I've bought a little electric fan heater which actually seems to work really well. I don't know if it's going to add lots to the electricity bill though? :S Though if it does, I'd rather pay the extra and be warm. I also bled the radiator - that was fun as it didn't want to turn then suddenly went and squirted everywhere - oops. I've got some turkey length kitchen foil (bargin post-christmas price) which I'm going to try and attach to the wall behind the radiator to reflect the heat back in - any tips on attaching it if anyone's tried would be appreciated.

We're predicted a really cold night tonight, so I'll get to test my 'home improvements'. And if I get bored this weekend, I may try sewing myself a bear suit to keep myself warm!!


Radflek is a company that produces their own version of the tin foil behind the radiator solution: I've just installed their panels behind the radiators in my cottage because the property is too old for cavity wall insulation and I'm doing all I can to preserve energy.

Their method of installing is to slide on binder slides (like the old poster hangers from the 80s/90s) with some hanging over the end of the foil, then you roll the 'foil' over them and simply balance the protruding slide binder on the radiator wall bracket behind the radiator. I'm sure much the same method could work if you rolled up some dowelling/garden canes, etc. in the foil.

Otherwise, buy the Radtek pack - I got ours form Amazon and it was reasonably priced - or you can buy directly from their own website, I think.


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