By - posted on August 16, 2013

Heating

For most of us, improving our heating systems could save us a considerable amount of money, as heating and hot water typically accounts for the biggest share of household energy usage. The majority of homes are heated using gas, electricity, LPG  or solid fuel, such as wood or coal. Gas is usually the cheapest heating fuel for homes with a connection to the gas network.

Ways to improve the energy efficiency of your heating system:

  • Switch to a gas or renewable heating system
  • Replace an old boiler with a modern condensing boiler
  • Replace old storage heaters with new fan assisted versions
  • Install heating controls so you can better control the times you use your heating
  • Maintain your current system (e.g. servicing the boiler, bleeding radiators and flushing sludge from the system)

Replacing an old gas boiler

You could benefit from replacing your boiler, and may be able to get help to pay for it.

If you have an old boiler, then replacing it with a new efficient boiler could reduce your heating bills. Replacing a G rated boiler, for example, will cost around £2,300, but could save you £310 per year*.

Old boiler rating Old boiler efficiency Annual saving* Annual Carbon Dioxide saving*
G 70% £310 1,200 kg
F 70-74% £205 810 kg
E 74-78% £155 610 kg
D 78-82% £105 430 kg

*Source: Energy Saving Trust (2013). Savings calculated for the installation of an A rated condensing gas boiler and heating controls for a typical three bedroom semi-detached home.

If you don’t currently have a gas connection, then you could consider connecting to the gas network, or installing a renewable heating system.

If you receive certain means tested benefits then you may be eligible for assistance with the cost of a new boiler if your current boiler is not working. Our trained advisors can help you to find out whether you may benefit from a boiler replacement or gas connection and give you some more information about funding options.

Storage heaters

Storage heaters are a great option for households that use electricity to heat their homes. The heaters work by storing heat from electricity at night and gradually releasing it when it’s needed the following day. By using an Economy 7 tariff, with storage heaters and an immersion hot water tank, you can store cheaper (off-peak) electricity over night and then use it during the day when electricity is more expensive (peak). We have more information about storage heaters and how to use them most effectively here.

Heating safety

  • Ensure that anybody working on gas appliances is on the Gas Safe register
  • Ensure that your boiler has a gas safety certificate (legal requirement for landlords)
  • Fit a Carbon Monoxide alarm
  • Fit and regularly test smoke alarms in your home (see the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service website. Free home safety checks are available for some vulnerable residents)
  • Regularly sweep your chimney if you have an open fire or stove
  • Vulnerable households may be eligible for additional assistance (sometimes including free gas safety checks) via the Priority Services Register. Contact us or your utilities company for more information.

What To Do If Your Heating Breaks

Keep yourself warm

  • Put on extra layers of clothes; several thin layers will keep you warmer than one thicker item
  • Drink regular hot drinks and try to make sure you have at least one hot meal a day
  • Keep as active as possible; even when you are sitting down arm and leg exercises can help your circulation
  • If you are sitting still for a long period of time, fingerless gloves, thermal socks, a blanket and a hot water bottle will all help to keep you warm

Temporary heating

  • If you have alternative heating, such as a gas fire or wood burner, use these to warm a room
  • Concentrate on heating the rooms and times of day when you most need to keep warm and well
  • Portable electric heaters can be convenient but may be expensive to run; try to choose the best type of heater for your needs, for example fan heaters are good for fast short bursts of heat, whereas oil-filled radiators take more time to heat up but will keep the whole room warmer for longer
  • Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket while you are sleeping, instead of trying to heat the whole room

Hot water

  • If you have an immersion heater, you can use this to heat your water, but use it sparingly as it can be an expensive option
  • Other self-heating appliances, such as electric showers, washing machines and dishwashers, should still work
  • Alternatively you can use pans on the hob or kettles to boil water for washing

Draught-proofing

  • This can be done at any time but it is particularly important when your heating isn’t working, because it can make your home feel much more comfortable
  • We have draught-proofing DIY guides on our website or you could contact a Handyperson Service to do this for you
  • Make sure you draw your curtains to help keep heat in and towels or rugs could be used as temporary draught-excluders

Repair or replace?

  • Is your boiler/heating system still covered by a warranty or do you have insurance? If this is the case contact the relevant organisation to see what they can do to help
  • Alternatively, ask a local accredited heating engineer to look at the boiler/heating system to identify whether a repair or replacement is necessary and ask them for a written quote for the work
  • If your boiler is very old, you may save money in the long run by replacing with a modern, efficient boiler rather than repairing it
  • If you can’t afford the repair or replacement, then depending on your circumstances, there may be funding that can help you – contact us to find out if you qualify

Give us a call

Contact us to find out about funding or for more advice and information about keeping warm.

Keeping Warm and Well [237 KB]

Keeping Cool and Well [239 KB]