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Central Heating Advice

Central Heating Advice

In Britain, we typically switch our central heating on in October and use it daily until March or April. This coincides with the clocks going back and the drop in temperature. This can be a difficult and worrying time for some of us financially, but there are ways to combat these troubling times. Such as Winter Fuel Payments. These payments are usually £100 – £300 (tax-free) and are in place to help those of us who were born on or before 5th November 1953 to cover the extra cost of keeping warm over the colder months. You may also be entitled to a rebate of £140 each year under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. You will be eligible for this scheme if you get either Pension Credit Guarantee Credit only or Pension Credit Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. If you do not qualify under these groups, you should ask your electric supplier what other help may be available to you.

For those of you who find yourself not eligible for any financial support to ease the strain of winter, there are some basic changes that you can make to your home to help keep the cost under control, and therefore more money in your back pocket.

 1. Use your curtains

Heat from the sun is free so make the most of it. Open your curtains and let the sunlight in during the day to make use of this free heat. When it gets dark, shut your curtains, which act as another layer of insulation and keep warmth in your rooms. You should also make sure you don’t have any draughts or poor seals so that the warm air can stay in and the cold air stays out – this also helps to reduce condensation.

2. Move your sofa

It might feel great to have your favourite seat in front of the radiator, but it’s absorbing heat that could be warming your home. By moving it away from the radiator, hot air can circulate freely. The same goes for your curtains or drying clothes – keep them away from the radiator so that you can get the most out of your heat source.

3. Use timers on your central heating

The Centre for Sustainable Energy advises that programming your boiler to turn the heating on a little earlier – such as 30 minutes before you get up in the morning – but at a lower temperature is cheaper than turning it on just as you need it at a higher temperature. This is because a boiler heats up at a constant speed whether you set your thermostat to 20°C or 30°C. But don’t make the mistake of leaving your heating on low all day – because then you’re just paying for heat when you don’t need it.

4. Turn down the dial

This may seem a little counter-intuitive, but bear with me. The World Health Organisation previously recommended a minimum temperature of 21°C in the living room, but Public Health England revised this to 18°C in 2014. And research shows that turning your thermostat down by 1°C could cut your heating bill by up to 10%. So keep the dial at 18°C, save money and avoid the negative impacts of a cold home.

 5. Dress appropriately

It may seem obvious to some, but all too often a heating engineer is called to a property because the resident reports that they are “feeling chilly” whilst standing there in flip-flops and shorts on a cold January morning! One of the best and simplest ways to keep the heating temperature low and feel comfortable is to layer-up what you are wearing. Make use of those winter socks, slippers and jumpers.

 If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills and keep your home warm, remember that you’re not alone. 1 in 5 of us is in debt to our energy supplier with this number on the rise. Help and advice is always available to somebody who seeks it. I’ve listed below some contact numbers and addresses.

 For more information on the Winter Fuel Payment call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre. Their helplines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Telephone – 03459 15 15 15 

Textphone- 0345 606 0285

For more information on the Warm Home Discount scheme, call the helpline on 0345 603 9439 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or see GOV.UK for a list of suppliers offering the discount.

Fuel Poverty Action:

Email -info@fuelpovertyaction.org

Website www.fuelpovertyaction.co.uk

Citizens Advice:

Website – www.citizensadvice.org.uk 

Adviceline – 03444 111 444

Email – Visit the website above to send an email to your closest office.

Adviceline’s available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. It’s usually busiest at the beginning and end of the day. It’s not available on public holidays.

Advice sourced from Ofgem, The Centre for Sustainable Energy, Fuel Poverty Action and The World Health Organisation.

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