Experts from Hampshire share their tips on keeping costs down and avoiding energy waste
TURNING the heating off, servicing boilers and swapping lightbulbs are all things people are being urged to do in the face of rising fuel prices this winter.
The advice has been issued by firms in and around the Portsmouth area as energy companies struggle to stay afloat amid a surge in wholesale gas prices in the UK.
Utilita, an electricity and gas supplier that started in 2003, runs energy hubs giving their customers advice in eight UK town centres including Gosport.
It started a campaign called Energy High 5 earlier this year to show households how to save up to £163 per year by making five simple and free-of-charge adjustments to their energy usage.
Robert Tait, chief energy efficiency advisor at the Utilita Energy Hub in Gosport, said: ‘It’s time to pack away the sun cream and start thinking about adding some extra togs to the duvet – yes, autumn is fast approaching. No need to panic, though, as we share some smart ways to stop your energy costs mounting during the colder months.
‘Our data tells us that our customers start to crank up their heating during the last week of September, so we’ve got a few weeks to think about ways to create a comfortable and cosy home, without going higher than 18-21 degrees – the healthy home temperature.
‘By avoiding cranking up the thermostat and maintaining a happy heat, you can save as much as £80 a year – other savings can be made too – go to utilita.co.uk/campaigns/energyhigh5.’
He said that as well as turning the heating off when out, turning lights off in unoccupied rooms could save £14 and using a 30C wash instead of 40C / 60C could also save £9.
He also said that avoiding using standby mode would save £30 and unplugging inactive electrical items would save a further £30.
This advice was backed up by Steve Simmonds, from Hampshire Technical, a plumbing, heating, electrical and renewables firm.
He said: ‘It is going to be tough for energy suppliers this winter - there’s no doubt that bills will rise.
‘My advice is to prepare before. September and October is the start of our heating system work, where people start to get prepared. Leaving things until November or December when the cold snap is here is costly.
‘People often forget about heating until it really matters but it’s important to get your boiler serviced so that it’s working at its best and most efficient.
‘Other things people can do is to think about swapping their boilers but obviously that can be expensive. Smaller things that people can do now to save themselves money include changing thermostats to more accurate ones, or a smart thermostat, that can save a lot of money, or simply changing your light bulbs to LED ones. Small things can make a difference, and a small outlay now can save money for years to come.’
Marc Smith, managing director of Gosport-based GHS Heating and Plumbing, also urged people to get ready for the rise.
He said that smart thermostats were a great way to save cash.
Marc said: ‘Putting in a smart thermostat is a lot more affordable than it has ever been. For £80 you can get one put in and then it can adjust the heat to match your lifestyle.
‘Other easy wins are to add valves to your radiators so you can adjust the heat or turn them off. Even just simply checking that they are working, or giving them a little tap to free the pins, can help.
‘There is another product that has been winning awards called Endotherm which thickens the water in radiators, helping them stay hotter for longer. Money invested now in these types of things will pay off within two years.’