Have You Turned Off Heating To Cut Bills?

Households typically lower their thermostat at this time of the year as the weather warms up, but subdued temperatures have meant many people have kept their central heating on to avoid the chill. However, those who are worried about their future energy bills might be facing cold conditions anyway, as they look for ways to reduce their heating costs.

Sky News has reported how more and more pensioners are switching off their heating and putting on lots of layers of clothing instead to stay warm.

One-fifth of retired men and women in the UK are already living in poverty, and with the cost of living expected to soar, this problem will only worsen.

Earlier this month, the energy cap was increased, which means households could spend up to £246 more on their gas bills every year, according to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU). For many people, this extra expense is not one they can afford, particularly as the price of food and petrol are also increasing at a rapid rate.

Doreen Moore, 74, is just one example of someone who is relying on an electric fire, closed doors, and drawn curtains to keep her home warm.

She told the news provider: “It’s depressing. And it’s getting worse.”

BBC News also revealed how some pensioners are staying in bed all day to stay warm, skipping meals to save money, and using hot water bottles for extra heat.

One way to reduce energy bills is to upgrade your boiler and make it more efficient to run. Find out more by calling us today.

Major Energy Firm Offers Free Energy Efficient Boilers To People On Low Incomes

A large energy company has offered a boiler installation worth £2,500 to people on low incomes to help them manage their energy bills more easily.

The scheme, offered as part of E.ON’s Affordable Warmth Scheme, offers the free standard boiler to people on a low income that are in receipt of certain benefits and are currently dealing with a broken or faulty boiler.

The criteria for which benefits qualify is somewhat specific but includes:

  • Universal Credit,
  • Other forms of income support for unemployed and low-paid staff, such as the Employment And Support Allowance and Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Carer’s Allowance,
  • Disability Living Allowance, Severe Disablement Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and other disability-related benefits
  • Several Armed Forces benefits, including the Armed Forces Independent Payment and War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement.

E.ON has noted that people do not need to be an existing customer of theirs to be eligible for the support, as it is part of a government scheme to help improve the energy efficiency of homes for people who are on low incomes.

It is also separate from a similar scheme known as the Green Homes Grant, which covered up to two-thirds of the cost of heating improvements that helped to boost the energy efficiency of a home or convert to a low carbon heating method.

This can include some forms of boilers, such as those which use biomass, as well as heat pumps that convert ambient heat in the air or from a ground source into heat to warm a home.

Once the Affordable Warmth boiler is applied for, E.ON will undertake a home survey to help identify areas where energy can be saved. Some of these works may not be covered under the scheme and the homeowner may have to pay part of the cost if they wish to go through with them.

When Should You Replace A Boiler Instead Of Repair?

The heating world is in a period of change and flux, with the potential for 2031’s central heating systems to look very different.

The government has previously proposed a staged transition away from gas boiler installation in favour of electric storage heaters, heat networks and hydrogen boilers for new build homes.

At present, whilst there are incentives for switching to renewable heat, there is no requirement to do so in the near future, which means that if you bought a boiler recently it should provide many years of comfortable, convenient heat.

However, if you are having issues or are worried about your boiler, here are some of the factors that will help you decide whether to repair or whether it is time to replace it.

 

The Problem With Age

Boilers last a long time, and whilst the average lifespan nears 10-15 years, they can potentially last for up to 25 years with care, regular maintenance and regular but not excessive use.

However, at around the ten-year mark, that efficiency can plummet quite dramatically, with a reduction of up to 30 per cent in their thermal efficiency, leading to more expensive heating bills.

Maintaining legacy boilers can also be increasingly expensive as parts and expertise get harder to come by, so if you are noticing that your boiler becomes less reliable over the years, it may be time to get a more efficient new model.

 

A Yellow Flame Or A Bad Smell

Whilst you often have a lot of time to mull over replacing a boiler if the issue is simply age, if you notice a distinct sour smell, or find that the bright blue flame has turned yellow, you may need to turn off your boiler and contact an engineer as soon as possible.

Both of these are a sign of carbon monoxide leaks or malfunctions, and if left on could put anyone in the home in danger.

 

Water Leak

Your boiler should never leak water. If it is, that is a sign of a broken valve or seal and can cause significant damage to your home or electrical systems if left unfixed.

When you spot a leak, switch the boiler off and get it checked.

Govt’s Grants ‘Not Big Enough Incentive’

The government’s plans to offer grants for low-carbon heat pumps to reduce the number of households using gas boilers do not go far enough, experts have warned.

Last month, the Heat and Buildings Strategy revealed people will be offered a £5,000 government grant to install low-carbon heating systems to replace their old boilers.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, worth £450 million, is being introduced as part of a policy to decarbonise heat and buildings, with funding of £3.9 billion being put towards this.

It hopes these grants, which can be applied for from April 2022, will encourage people to install more energy-efficient heating systems, which will be better for the environment and save them money on their household bills.

If enough people take up these grants, this will help the UK reach its target for all heating systems using low-carbon, or new technologies, to replace new boilers by 2035.

Speaking about the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Our new grants will help homeowners make the switch sooner, without costing them extra, so that going green is the better choice when their boiler needs an upgrade.”

However, some believe the government’s grants are not enough of an incentive to make a huge difference.

For a start, the grants will only fund 90,000 pumps over the next three years, despite there being 25 million homes in the UK with gas boilers, BBC News reports.

In addition to this, these pumps typically cost between £6,000 and £18,000. Therefore, a £5,000 deduction has been classed as “insufficient” to make them comparable in price to gas boilers, particularly for those with large properties.

There is also the cost of insulation and other home improvements that need to be accounted for to help people benefit from the change to heat pumps the most.

Dr David Glew, head of energy efficiency and policy at the Leeds Sustainability Institute at Leeds Beckett University, told the news provider: “Gas is actually relatively cheap to heat your home with.”

“Needing to insulate your house might cost you tens of thousands of pounds and you’re only going to be saving several hundreds of pounds, so the economics of that doesn’t really add up,” he went on to say.

A better alternative could be electric boilers, according to The Conversation. As all the electrical energy is turned into heat, they are far more efficient. What’s more, they do not create an extra noise and do not take up much space, unlike air-sourced heat pumps.

They are cheaper to install, do not typically require major construction work, and the cost of running an electric boiler is likely to fall in the future as renewable energy becomes cheaper.

The article concluded: “With electricity provided from renewable and low-carbon sources, a combination of heat pumps and electric boilers for domestic heating and hot water production will cover our energy needs in a sustainable and climate-friendly manner.”

 

If you are looking for a new more energy-efficient boiler in North London, why not give us a call today?

What Are Heat Pumps?

Our reliance on fossil fuels has been a major contributing factor to climate change, and it has become very important to find green alternatives for heating our households, especially with the installation of new gas central heating boilers to be prohibited by 2035.

To this end, the government has set out plans to offer £5,000 grants to help 90,000 UK households to install home heat pumps and other low-carbon heating solutions over the next three years, as part of its plan to cut the UK’s reliance on fossil fuel heating, reports the Mirror.

It is estimated that as gas boilers are phased out, heat pump installations could reach 600,000 a year in the 2030s. But what is a heat pump?

In the simplest of terms, a heat pump works like a reverse fridge. It extracts warmth from the air outside, the ground, or a nearby water source, then concentrates the heat and transferring it indoors. They look like a standard air conditioning unit.

As for why we need heat pumps, around 85 per cent of UK homes use gas boilers for heating, making it one of the most polluting sectors of the UK economy.

The fossil fuels we use for heating, hot water, and cooking account for more than a fifth of the country’s CO2 emissions, which means finding low-carbon alternatives are crucial for achieving the UK’s climate targets.

However, heat pumps cost far more than traditional gas boilers, starting at £6,000 for an air source pump, and at least £10,000 for a ground source pump. It is expected that these prices will significantly fall in the coming years as more are installed.

In the meantime, the government’s grant scheme should help bridge the difference.

 

If you’re looking for local plumbers in north London, get in touch today.

How Efficient Is Your Boiler?

On average, about 60% of UK domestic energy bills are spent on heating. With steep rises in the price of gas and the prospect of a long winter ahead, it makes sense to check up on the performance of your boiler. Older boilers will always be less efficient than more modern ones, but it’s still worth making sure it’s in good working order.

Have the boiler serviced

Boilers should be serviced every 12 months to check they are set up for maximum efficiency. As a rule, the hot water thermostat should be set at between 55°C and 60°C, and turned up during cold weather if necessary. If the boiler doesn’t have modern heating controls and thermostats, ask if they can be installed. 

If you live in rented accommodation, remember that it is the responsibility of the landlord to have an annual safety check carried out on the boiler.

Maintain the pipework and cylinders

Making sure that the pipework and radiators are kept clean and free of dust and corrosion can also help improve the performance and lifespan of the boiler. If you have an old hot water cylinder, top up the insulation to around 8cm to stop it losing heat. More modern cylinders have industry standard insulation built in.

Install room thermostats

By installing a thermostat which turns the heating off once the room reaches an optimal temperature, you will save a significant amount on your energy bills. Position the thermostat in an area where there is a free flow of air, and it is not artificially influenced by soft furnishings or other items.

Use a programming system

Most modern boilers have programmable settings, to allow you to control what hours the heat is on and off. Some can now even be integrated with smart devices which enable you to control the heating, lighting, and hot water remotely, so they are only on when they are needed. 

Looking for a new boiler quote in North London? Talk to us today.

Telltale Signs You Need A New Boiler

One of the most used and most important appliances in your home is your boiler, but like many of the most important tools in our lives, we only tend to notice it when it goes wrong.

However, with a lot of discussions surrounding hydrogen boilers in the news as of late, as well as winter coming up, there is no better time than now to take a look at your boiler and ensure it is still in good working order.

Most boilers tend to be replaced every 15 years, primarily for efficiency reasons, but there are cases where a fault is so significant or so consistent that repairing the issue is merely throwing good money after bad.

Here are some telltale signs your boiler installation is in trouble and it may be worth investing in a new one.

 

The Boiler Smells Bad

Your boiler should not smell at all, but if it is giving off a bad odour, you need to call a professional right away, as there could be a carbon monoxide leak.

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that ordinarily gives off no smell nor taste, but can cause serious illness and death if inhaled in significant quantities.

Generally, this is caused by a leak causing the boiler not to burn properly, particularly if it uses natural gas.

If your boiler has a pilot light that keeps blowing out, burns yellow rather than blue or you notice dark soot stains, these can also be signs of carbon monoxide leaks.

 

Puddles Appear Around Your Boiler

Whilst this seems self-evident, generally, if a leak has become so prominent it has caused puddles to emerge around your home, it is generally a sign that your boiler is beyond repair with internal parts that are starting to disintegrate.

This should be fixed not only because of the damage to your boiler but because of the potential structural damage to your home, which can be considerably expensive to fix.

 

You Hear Banging, Clunking Or Whirring

Boilers aren’t completely silent, but the main noise you should hear from your boiler is a constant hum so low you have to focus on it to truly notice it.

Bangs and other odd noises tend to be a symptom of mechanical damage, although to what extent depends on the noise.

Switch the boiler off and call an engineer.

Energy Firms Continue To Collapse

Energy companies in the UK are continuing to collapse as a result of increasing gas prices, affecting nearly 1.5 million people across the country.

Over the last couple of weeks, several energy providers have had to cease trading, including Green Supplier Limited, Avro Energy, People’s Energy, and Utility Point, among others.

According to Sky News, wholesale gas prices have soared by 455 per cent in the last year, with costs surging by as much as 250 per cent since January 2021.

By Monday September 20th, the cost of gas reached a record high of £183 per therm, while prices are normally around £40 to £60 per therm at this time of the year.

The subsequent collapse of several energy suppliers has led to millions of customers being switched to other providers. This means many could be paying for a more expensive tariff than the one they had originally signed up to.

This is particularly the case as providers cannot currently offer a competitive price, due to the ever-increasing cost of gas.

Customers of Green Supplier Limited have now been moved to Shell Energy; those who had signed up to Avro Energy will be on Octopus Energy tariffs; and British Gas will now handle those who had taken out plans with People’s Energy.

While this is unsettling for bill-payers, Ofgem’s director of retail Neil Lawrence said: “Their energy supply will continue as normal, and customer credit balances will be honoured.”

 

To help reduce your gas bills, consider getting a new boiler in North London that is more energy-efficient.

How To Have A More Energy Efficient Home

Energy efficiency is high on the agenda at the moment, as the world’s climate becomes hotter every year, and the devastating results of global warming can be seen with frightening regularity. Near the top of the action list is improving the efficiency of UK homes, which are currently responsible for 20% of the nation’s carbon emissions.

 

Insulation

A very simple step you can take is to ramp up your levels of insulation. This will stop as much heat escaping, meaning you can turn radiators down, or turn the heating off earlier. Not only will this make your house warmer and drier, but you will also save on energy bills.

Fitting your hot water cylinder with an insulating jacket will preserve heat, save you costs, and reduce emissions. Cavity wall insulation can stop as much as a third of all heat leaking from your home, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Houses built after 1920 but before 1990 may not have any wall insulation, so it pays to have this checked out.

Loft insulation is also essential, to save as much as 25% of your heat from leaking through the roof. The investment will soon pay for itself, and you can carry out the work yourself, unless you have a flat roof. Also consider applying draught-proofing strips around window and door frames, and draught-proofing the chimney.

 

Underfloor heating

The thought of converting to underfloor heating may seem like a very expensive way to save money, but you might be surprised at how affordable it is nowadays. It is also a far more efficient way to heat a home, because underfloor heating systems need much lower temperatures to warm a room to a comfortable level.

Not only that, you will have a lovely toasty warm floor to walk on when you get up on crispy frosty mornings, and your home will feel more spacious without bulky wall radiators!

 

If you need a new boiler quote in North London, get in touch today.

What Are The Benefits of Solar Panels In The UK?

We are all seeking more sustainable ways to live our lives and can make purchasing decisions on everything from food to electricity based on a product or company’s eco-credentials.

Solar panels are a great way to help reduce your carbon footprint, but what are the pros and cons of solar energy? Aside from reducing carbon emissions, solar panels will reduce your energy bills, increase your property value, helps protect you against rising energy costs, and you can even sell your unused electricity back to the national grid.

The downsides include high up-front costs, which might not be a wise investment if you’re about to move home, and they may not work on every roof. If you only have small electricity bills, you may not benefit from the returns on your investment for many years.

Let’s have a closer look at some of the advantages.

 

Solar improves the value of your home

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) found that energy-saving home improvements, such as solar panels, could increase property values by on average £16,000. Even if you’re planning on moving in the near future, you’ll earn back your solar panel investment and then some when you sell your home.

 

Independence Off The Grid

Solar panels will provide you with an independent source of electricity. The light from the sun cannot be monopolised or privatised, and the electricity generated belongs to you.

 

Reduces Electricity Bills

Your solar panels will contribute to some of your energy needs, which in turn will help reduce your energy bills. How much you will save will depend on the size of your solar panel system, and your energy usage.

Not only will you save on your electricity bill, but there is also a possibility to receive payments for the surplus energy that you export back to the grid if you generate more electricity than you use.

 

Renewable Energy

Switching to solar energy cuts your carbon footprint, as it is a green, renewable source of energy. Unlike traditional electricity generators, solar power does not release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants.

Estimates also show that solar panels for homes could save around one tonne of CO2 per year, which comes to approximately 25 tonnes over its lifetime.

 

If you’re looking for solar panels in North London, talk to us today!