October’s a good time to be thinking about how prepared we all are for the colder weather before it arrives.
There are a number of things to consider and practical measures that we can all take to make sure we stay warm and well.
It’s a good idea to track your energy use and understand how much you’re using at different times of the year. This can help in managing your energy bills (gas, electricity, LPG, oil, wood etc.). Making sure you’re on a good deal is also important. Switching gas and electricity providers is much easier these days.
Now is also the time to check if you’re eligible for the £140 annual Warm Home Discount and, if you’re of pensionable age or have any vulnerability (e.g. disability or ill health) to sign up for the Priority Services Register.
LED lights can help reduce your bills, particularly if you are still using halogen or old-fashioned light bulbs which can cost ten times as much as LEDs. Using a slow cooker and a microwave can also reduce the cost of cooking.
Dealing with damp is essential. Damp air takes longer to heat and will cost more, and mould is dangerous for your health. Always ventilate well. Seek advice if you think you have structural or plumbing problems causing damp.
Stopping your heat escaping is key to staying warm. Draught busting (e.g. door and window strips, thermal blinds, chimney balloons, floor board strips) can make a big difference. Check that you have enough insulation in the loft, cavity walls are filled, pipes are lagged and radiators on external walls have reflectors. Underfloor and solid wall insulation could also be options. You may be eligible for help with insulation.
An efficient heating system and suitable heating controls that you understand are most important. Central heating boilers should also be serviced at least once every two years.
If you don’t have a central heating system, there are some schemes available across West Devon to help with first time central heating as well as broken or very inefficient heating systems.
If your home is suitable, solar panels on the roof can help reduce electricity bills and can help with hot water with the right sort of tank and a solar diverter. Eligible households with electric heating may be able to get a system at a reduced cost system.
If you’d like to talk through any of the above points, and/or would like some help, you can get in touch with Tamar Energy Community (TEC). TEC is your local community energy organisation and provides independent advice and support to help and guide you.
TEC’s Warm and Well service is available across West Devon and S.E. Cornwall and TEC works closely with West Devon Borough Council and others across the area.
TEC is able to offer free home visits across West Devon through LEAP (Local Energy Advice Partnership) to a wide range of households. This home visit will look at all aspects of energy in your home and includes installation of a number of free easy measures including up to 10 LEDs.
You’ll also find us at the Tamar Energy Fest in Butcher’s Hall on Saturday Nov. 23rd (10:00 to 15:00).