Heating and Energy guides
We are making our tenants homes warmer.
Find information on the ways in which we are making our tenants homes warmer, as well as finding user guides on how to get the most out of your heating system.
To date, we have installed:
- Over 2,000 solar panel systems
- over 150 air source heat source pumps, and
- improved over 450 homes with external wall insulation
among a number of other energy saving measures.
Tenants have seen their fuel costs drop significantly from these improvements.
Air Source Heat Pumps
Air Source heat Pumps need to be on constantly as they run "low and slow".
It takes 4 hours for the system to make any change (heat up or cool down), so if you want to control the heating using a timer you will need to take about 4 hours off the time you go to bed, or get up in the morning.
For example, if you go to bed at 10pm you will want the heating to go off round 7pm, so not getting too cold. If you get up at 7pm you will want the timer to come on at 3am, so it's warm when you get up.
If you need help using your Air Source Heat pump, you can have a look at the User Guide.
Dimplex Quantum storage heaters
Quantum is designed to be a responsive heating system that optimises energy use.
The heater releases heat in two ways:
1. A small amount of heat is dispersed by 'natural' convection and radiation from the heater case
2. Most of the heat is released using the built-in fan that pushes hot air out from a heat outlet at the bottom of the heater
This makes better use of the stored energy as you can 'turn down' the heater when are out or do not need it.
External Wall Insulation
The planned programme has now finished and of the 531 solid wall properties we own, we have been able to insulate 501 of these; either with internal wall insulation or external wall insulation.
We will be looking to pick up the remaining 30 properties that haven't been completed, due to a variety of reasons, in the future.
For after care, have a look at our External Wall Insulation Aftercare guidance.
You can end up paying more for your oil delivery if you need it quickly, so try to give at least a weeks notice.
If you have a monitor (for example a Watchman), or you can work out when the oil is running low, give 2-3 weeks notice so that you can get a much better price.
The minimum oil order you can place is 500 litres, this works out on average £280 (at 56 pence a litre). Usually if you place an order of more than 700 litres you can get a couple of pence off the price per litre.
Always check to see if the village you live in (or any neighbouring village) has an Oil Buying Group as not only will you save a couple of pence off the price per litre, but there may be the chance to get a smaller quantity delivered. You can buy small drums of oil for emergency usage but you will be paying at least £25 for a 20 litre drum/barrel.
Call around local suppliers for the best price. If you have internet access, check prices online as many domestic suppliers have prices on their websites and offer better prices for a 2 week delivery timescale.
The best time to buy oil is during the warmer summer months when demand is lower.
If you can't pay in full, have a chat with the supplier as there may be a way you can pay in installments.
Photovoltaic (or PV) panels have been installed on over 2000 of our tenants homes.
Here's some useful tips on how to get the best out of them
- Use your appliances during the day, when the sun is shining
- Make sure the higher wattage appliances are used later in the day when the sun is at it's strongest (between 11am and 4pm)
- make the most of timing devices on equipment if you are out during the day
- Use one big appliance at a time so you are not using more electricity than the panels are producing - otherwise you will get charged for it
You can find more information in this PV user guide for tenants.
Useful contact numbers for information, or help with switching energy supplier:
Age UK Advice Line:
0800 055 6112
Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year
Gives free, confidential advice and reliable, up to date information for older people, their families, friends, carers and professionals. For example:
- Do you know what benefits to claim and how to claim them?
- Worried that you can’t afford to retire?
- Anxious about a planned hospital stay and how to cope when you leave?
- Need advice on choosing the right care home?
- Feeling lonely or tearful, you can most definitely call for a chat.
- Home heating help
Age UK Cambridgeshire
03006 669 860
Citizens Advice Bureau
03454 04 05 06
Cold Weather Payment
03456 000 723
(£25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March; automatically paid if you are eligible)
My Home Energy Switch
08000 014 706
Offers information about benefits people are entitled to, and have a search tool to help people where they may be entitled to grants depending on their personal circumstances, background and needs.
08006 888 557
a guide to switching energy suppliers.
Winter Fuel Allowance
03459 151 515
(The date changes every year as it is made to households with someone over Pension Credit age (65) on or before 5 November each year. Most payments are made automatically between November and December for those that are eligible (you get the State Pension, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit), and you will receive a letter telling you how much you will get and an estimated payment date).
For more information or if you have any questions, contact the Warm Homes team on Warm.Homes@scambs.gov.uk
Energy bills can be a struggle during the colder months, especially with rising energy prices.
With this in mind, we've put together this list of useful tips to help out:
- Turn down the thermostat by at least 1 degree, but try to keep the heating to at least 16oC (60oF).
- Thermostatic radiator valves - you could turn these down to 1 or 2 for rooms that aren't used very often.
- Consider monitoring usage when the heating is on a timer (say for a week or two), and then when it is on constantly but at a lower temperature, you may be surprised by your findings.
- If you have Storage Heaters, make sure you are on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff.
- When buying new appliances for the home, try to get the highest energy efficiency rating that you can; A rating of A or above is best.
- Consider changing light bulbs to LED bulbs as they use a lot less electricity.
- Fill the kettle with the amount of water needed for the number of cups.
- Turn off the lights in rooms not being used.
- Turn off appliances, rather than leaving on standby.
- Check you are getting the best deal from your supplier; consider switching energy supplier to save some money on your bills (you can use any internet search engine, or services such as uSwitch, or talk to Citizen's Advice who will be able to assist you to find the best deal).
- Consider getting a smart meter from your supplier, make sure you give meter readings at least once a quarter.
- Draft-proofing doors and windows using thicker curtains (double up with an old pair or using a thermal lining) or rolling up old clothes or towels and tying at both ends, is a cheap and easy way to reduce heat escaping. Just remember that air needs to flow in and out of your home so it stays fresh and dry. Make sure you don't block or seal any intentional ventilation.
- Portable fan heaters use more electricity than storage heaters; they may make you feel warmer but you will still notice your electricity bills are higher. It's always best to look at the energy usage (wattage, or kilo-watt) of the appliance you want to use in addition to the heating system in place, or instead of (for example an oil filled radiator). If you don't think that the storage heaters are working at their best, call Mears on 0800 0851 313.
For more information check out 10 Ways to Save on Energy Bills
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