Concern for households in West Sussex cutting back on essential heating needs this winter
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A new survey by consumer group Which? found nearly half (46 per cent) of UK households did not turn their heating on when it was cold last winter. Nearly nine in ten also revealed they are trying to cut back on their energy usage again this year.
The survey also found that four in ten (41 per cent) households are reducing how much they use the oven whilst a third (33%) are having fewer baths or reducing the length of showers in an effort to lower their energy usage.
In response OFTEC, which runs a registration scheme for off-grid heating technicians, has issued a winter checklist to help households in West Sussex reduce their energy costs without resorting to turning down the temperature. The advice includes:
1. Check your radiators. Bleeding your radiators helps them work more efficiently by letting out any trapped air inside which can leave ‘cold spots.’ You can do this yourself using a radiator key. You can also turn off radiators in any rooms you aren’t using and, in your main rooms, check they aren’t being blocked by furniture which reduces their effectiveness.
2. Have your boiler serviced. It’s easy to forget about your boiler but having a regular service is important to check everything is working correctly to avoid costly emergency repairs. It will also help to improve efficiency as the system is optimised during the service. Remember to use an OFTEC (for oil) or GasSafe (for mains gas) registered technician as they are regulated and follow strict safety and professional standards.
3. Adjust your heating timers. Many of us change our heating timers over summer but forget to put them back for winter. Make sure your house is only warming up when you need it to, particularly if you are out of the house during the day for work.
4. Check your fuel levels. If you’re one of the 21,000 households in West Sussex using oil heating, check you have enough fuel in your tank. Leaving it until the last minute could result in higher costs for emergency deliveries so the advice is to buy early.
5. Apply for financial support. If you are struggling with your heating needs, it’s important to check your eligibility for financial support. The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1st November to 31st March. If you receive certain benefits, and the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast, to be 0˚C or below over seven consecutive days, you may be eligible for £25 a week for each seven-day period of cold weather.
6. Check for draughts. Older homes are often very susceptible to draughts, increasing heat loss, wasting money and making the house more uncomfortable. Simple solutions are readily available and can be an extremely cost effective way of keeping your house warmer.