Heating and energy guides

We are making your homes warmer boiler

We are dedicated to making South Cambs homes warmer. 

We have:

  • set up over 2,000 solar panel systems 
  • installed more than 350 air source heat source pumps
  • improved over 450 homes with external wall insulation

These are just a few of the energy saving measures that have been introduced into South Cambs homes.  They have reduced energy consumption, improved efficiency, and reduced Carbon emissions in South Cambridgeshire.

LEAP energy service

LEAP is a telephone advice service, helping people who meet their criteria by offering energy tariff comparisons, installing simple energy saving measures (such as LED lightbulbs and radiator reflector panels), and giving referrals to more complex energy saving measures.

You can book an appointment with LEAP by visiting the LEAP website, or by calling their freephone: 0800 060 7657.

Want to learn more? Read the LEAP leaflet. [PDF, 0.3MB]

Return to top of page

Air source heat pumps

Air Source Heat Pumps operate like fridges in reverse - they take in outside air, compress the air to heat it up, and transfer the heat into the water of your home's heating systems. As they pull heat energy from the outside air they don't need as much energy to run, and can be up to 300% efficient (for each Kilowatt of energy used, 3 Kilowatts of heating is produced).

These systems operate on low water temperatures and run slowly, working best when run constantly with set day time and night time temperatures.

However, these pumps take 4 hours to make any temperature change, so it's best to use a timer to control this heating system. For example, if you go to bed at 10pm, set your heating to change to a lower temperature at around 7pm to give enough time for your room to cool. If you get up at 7am you can set the heating to change to a higher temperature at 6am, so your home is warmer when you wake up.

Return to top of page

Storage heaters reading in an armchair

Storage heaters are floor standing and fixed to internal walls. They store energy overnight, when tariffs are cheaper. Most storage heaters have 2 controls on them: input and output. 

  • Input controls how much energy the heater stores overnight to be used the next day
  • Output controls how much heat is given out during the day

Start by setting the input to 6 and if it feels too high, adjust the setting down slightly, or the opposite if too cold. Any changes you make to your input will take 24 hours to have an effect.

Turn off your output at night, when you are away from home, and when the room is not in use to save energy. 

Return to top of page

 

Dimplex quantum storage heaters

Quantum Storage Heaters have intelligent controls that are more advanced than regular storage heaters, and are easy to use. Quantum storage heaters hold on to heat better and lose less energy when not in use, they can simply turn down the heating when you don't need it. When you want to warm up your home, a built-in fan pushes hot air out from a vent near the bottom. Make sure the vent is given plenty of space as blocking it with furniture could create a fire hazard.

The built in controls can be used to program when the heater will warm up your home and when it stores up heat. You can save energy in the summer by turning off the heater, but in colder months it is best to leave the heater powered at all times so that its "intelligent charging" works best.

Find out more about getting the most out of your heater from the operating instructions and by viewing instructional videos from Dimplex UK.

Return to top of page

External wall insulation

More than 500 solid wall homes have been fitted with external wall insulation, also known as EWI. This is generally maintenance-free, though there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your insulation:

  • Keep all rooms warm to prevent condensation forming.
  • Use trickle vents and windows to circulate air in your home.
  • Give wall vents plenty of space and avoid blocking them.
  • Try to create less water vapour to prevent damp and mould.
  • EWI can be cleaned with a soft bristled brush
  • If you think your EWI is damaged, call 03450 450 500 so it can be inspected and repaired where necessary.

Find out more about your External Wall Insulation in the aftercare guide [PDF, 0.2MB]

Return to top of page

Solar panels solar panels

Solar panels have been installed on over 2,000 South Cambs homes. Here are some useful tips on how to get the best out of them:

  • Use appliances during the day, when the sun is shining.
  • Make sure power hungry appliances, such as your washing machine, are used when the sun is at its strongest, between 11am and 4pm.
  • Timing devices can be used to have home equipment running during the day even if you are away from home.
  • In the early morning and late evening, solar panels will generate less electricity. You can still benefit from this by using low energy devices like TV's and games consoles.
  • Use one big appliance at a time so you are not using more electricity than the panels are producing so you don't get charged for it.

Find out more in our PV user guide [PDF, 0.6MB].

Return to top of page

Oil buying advice

Pay less for your oil delivery and order at least a week in advance. Giving 2 to 3 weeks' notice can get you an even better price. Using a monitor, such as a watchman, can help you figure out when your oil is running low and understand when you should order oil.

Oil prices can change considerably throughout the year and it is worthwhile comparing prices for availability. The minimum order volume is 500 litres.

There may be an Oil Buying Group near you. By joining one you can save more off of your price per litre, and may be able to have a smaller amount delivered instead of ordering in bulk.

Check with local suppliers for the best price, and check prices online if you can. Many domestic suppliers offer better prices on their website for a 2-week delivery timescale. Some examples of suppliers and comparison sites are:

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. You may be able to pay in instalments or set up a direct debit plan instead.

Learn more from our oil fired heating guide [PDF, 0.3MB].

Return to top of page

Useful Tips

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: thermostat

  • Lower your thermostat by at least 1 degree, but try to keep the heating to at least 16°C.
  • Turn down thermostatic radiator valves in rooms that aren't used often.
  • Monitor and compare your energy usage when the heating is on a timer (for a week or two), and then when it is always on 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.
  • Try to get the highest energy efficiency rating that you can when buying new home appliances. Ratings of A or higher are the best.
  • Consider changing to more efficient LED lightbulbs.
  • When filling up the kettle, measure out and heat up only the water you need.
  • Turn off lights in rooms not being used.
  • Turn off appliances, rather than leaving on standby.
  • Check you are getting the best deal from your supplier. Switching energy supplier could save you money on your bills. We are partnered with Green Energy Switch who can help you find the best green tariff for your home.
  • 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 your storage heater is working at its best, call Mears on 0800 085 1313.

Return to top of page

Useful Contacts

Useful contact numbers for information, or help with switching energy supplier:

Age UK Advice Line:

0800 055 6112 - open 8am-7pm, 365 days a yearA woman making a phone call

Gives free confidential advice and reliable, up to date information for older people and their families, friends, and carers. Age UK can help with topics such as:

  • "What benefits can I claim and how do I claim them?"
  • "Can I afford to retire?"
  • "I am worried about a planned hospital stay, how will I cope when I leave?"
  • "I need advice on choosing the right care home."
  • "I am feeling lonely, can I talk to someone?"
  • "How can I keep my home warm?"

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:

0800 001 4706

Turn2Us:

Turn2Us 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.

U-Switch:

Call U-Switch on number - 0800 688 8557

Compare The Market:

View Compare the Market's 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 (66) 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 asset & compliance team.

Return to top of page

Related Information

Was this web page helpful?

Feedback form

Your feedback
Your details
Recaptcha