Six vital checks to prepare the home for winter and slash energy bills
Martin Lewis provides advice on making showers energy efficient
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The energy price guarantee came into effect on October 1, pushing the annual price of energy for an average household up to £2,500. But, while winter approaches and the cold sets in, it can often have an adverse effect on appliances, which won’t be a welcomed expense on top of rising costs. Here are six checks to prepare the home for winter – and even knock money off the energy bill.
Checking radiators should be one of the first things to do, and it’s probably the easiest. Energy experts at BOXT said: “To start with, make sure you switch on all your radiators.
“Once your home is heated, you’ll then be able to carefully check your radiators for cold spots.”
Radiators can sometimes have air trapped in them, which prevents hot water from circulating properly, making the heating system less effective and efficient.
BOXT experts continued: “Bleeding your radiators [link] preventively at least once every year should prevent that problem.”
Check the boiler type
Depending on the efficiency rating of a boiler and the type of home it’s based in, energy experts at BOXT said people could save up to £840 a year on energy bills simply by upgrading to a new A-rated boiler – without having to change the way it’s used.
The experts said: “The savings you see could be even greater if you add smart home technology like a Google Nest Learning Thermostat to help programme your boiler as efficiently as possible.
“Combined with an upgraded boiler could see savings of up to £1,150 per year on your energy bills.”
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Service the boiler
For people who haven’t had their boiler serviced this year, BOXT experts suggest it might be a good idea to do this as soon as possible.
They said: “Not only does an annual boiler service ensure your manufacturer’s warranty remains valid, but it also provides you with the peace of mind that your heating system is working as it should be.
“Once you have a service, the Gas Safe registered engineer will let you know if something is wrong with your boiler. They’ll be able to spot an issue even before anything damaging to your system has happened.”
Check boiler pressure
Examining the boiler pressure level is a must as it can provide a good idea of what state the central heating is in.
BOXT experts said: “If the gauge is in the red zone (too high or too low), then your hot water and heating might cut off and it could cause damage to the boiler.
“If the pressure is too low then you can top it up yourself, you just need to know which method your boiler uses for repressurising.”
If the pressure is too high, the experts suggest bleeding the radiators to relieve some of the pressure in the system.
They continued: “If this doesn’t work or you are regularly experiencing high or low boiler pressure, then it’s worth getting an engineer out to take a look at what’s causing the problem.”
In addition to the wall, roof and floor insulation, insulating the water tank and radiators is a quick and easy way to improve efficiency, according to BOXT.
They said: “With options such as a hot water cylinder jacket, which you can fit yourself and only costs around £15, you can quickly start making improvements. Insulating or improving the existing insulation of your loft space can be especially effective in keeping your house warm.”
Insulate the pipes
To avoid the problem of burst pipes in freezing temperatures, people can take precautions to insulate them wherever they can. This is also known as pipe lagging.
BOXT experts said: “The insulation will minimise loss of heat through your pipes, ensuring that the water keeps flowing as it should to prevent a major boiler breakdown or a burst pipe.”
According to resident heating expert Matthew Jenkins from MyJobsQuote, Britons should focus on lagging pipes in the airing cupboard, pipes running from the boiler, central heating pipes, and hot water pipes.
While calling out a professional could cost around £75, Mr Jenkins provides three key tips to solve the issue without help.
Step one: Measure how much pipe is needed to cover before buying foam pipe insulation, which can be found in DIY shops.
Step two: Cut the foam pipe insulation to the length required and split it open lengthways on one side – this should be pre-cut when the insulation is purchased.
Step three: Place the foam pipe insulation around the pipe using the pre-cut split. On the corner, use two separate pieces of insulation and tape them together to secure them.
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