We are here for you this winter
Winter can be tough. If you find yourself struggling to pay your energy bills, or you are keeping the heating off to save money, then get in touch with us. We will do all we can to support you through the difficult months. Our dedicated team can help you keep your home warm and signpost you to the local and national help that is available.
Support available from your Energy Network Operator
Winter is the time of year that sees the most demand for electricity and gas, and is the time when the UK’s energy network may be more likely to be disputed by adverse weather conditions. In the event of the weather or other circumstances disrupting your supply of electricity or gas, help is available through your Energy Network Operator. Energy Network Operators are different to your energy supplier (that is us!). They manage and maintain the wires, pipes and infrastructure that delivers gas and electricity to your home.
The services they offer include:
- Advice on preparing for storms and bad weather.
- Advice on free priority support services to people with additional needs.
- A postcode finder to get the details of your local operator.
- Advice on what to do if there is a power cut.
- Advice on who to call in emergency situations (e.g., if you smell gas).
- Advice on compensation that may be available in the case of power cuts or gas supply issues.
You can find out more detail here: https://www.energynetworks.org/customers/be-winter-ready/
Making your home ready for winter.
There are some practical, low cost or free things you can do to make your home ready for the winter:
- Advice on preparing for storms and bad weather.
If your radiators feel cool on top, or they have ‘cold spots’, even though your heating is on, it may be that you need to bleed your radiators. This does not need a specialist. Bleeding radiators makes your home warmer and can help reduce the cost of your energy bills. It does this by removing air pockets which reduce the pressure in your radiator so you don’t need to turn the heating up as much. A handy guide to bleeding radiators may be found here: https://heatable.co.uk/boiler-advice/how-to-bleed-a-radiator
- Reducing your boiler flow temperature
If you have a Combi boiler you can improve its’ efficiency by setting the ‘flow temperature’ dial setting to 60°C. (The flow temperature dial is different from the thermostat). This can save up to £60 per year on your bills. It won’t noticeably reduce the temperature of your home, although it may take longer to warm up.
- Reduce your hot water tank temperature
If you have a heating system with a separate hot water cylinder (instead of a combi boiler), you can turn down the temperature of the cylinder itself so that water is not heated unnecessarily. You’ll usually find the control for your hot water cylinder one third of the way up the tank. The temperature should not be reduced below 60°C, as legionella bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease can survive and grow in warm water stored below 60°C.
- Insulate your hot water tank
If you have a heating system with a separate hot water cylinder: A hot water cylinder jacket, available in most DIY shops and online, reduces the amount of heat the cylinder loses and keeps water hot for longer, making them more efficient and cheaper to run. The pipes that run to and from the tank can also be insulated, using foam tubes. These can also prevent your pipes freezing in extreme temperatures.
- Find and fix drafts
Fixing drafts is one of the quickest and easiest ways to stop heat escaping and save on your energy bills. Fixing drafts can save the average household up to £50 per year. Block unwanted gaps around windows, doors and floors that let the heat out, but make sure you do not block any intentional ventilation, such as extractor fans, underfloor grilles or airbricks, wall vents or trickle vents.
- Radiator reflector panels
Installing radiator reflector panels are a low-cost option that can help make your heating more efficient and reduce your energy costs. Fixed behind your radiators, they reflect heat from the radiator back into the room, instead of letting the heat out through an external wall. They can produce the most benefit when installed on uninsulated solid walls. You only need to put reflector panels behind radiators on external walls.
Making your home more energy efficient
There are some things you can do in the longer term, to make your home warmer, using less energy, for many winters to come!
- Installing a SMART meter
Rebel will install a SMART meter free of charge. SMART meters can help you manage your energy use efficiently. Households with SMART meters may also be eligible for the demand flexibility service, which offers the opportunity for customers to save on their bills by using less energy at peak times: https://www.rebelenergy.com/demand-flexibility-service
- Upgrading to more energy efficient appliances
Electrical appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, fridges, freezers and TVs have an energy efficient rating of A to G. ‘A’ being rated the most efficient and ‘G’ being rated the least. Upgrading from a ‘C’ rated appliance to an ‘A rated’ appliance can save up to 25% of the energy used. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a new, free energy efficient appliance under the ‘Let’s Talk Energy’ scheme: https://www.rebelenergy.com/lets-talk-energy-scheme
- Roof and Loft Insulation
Homes can lose up to 25% of their heat through the roof. This can be cut dramatically by installing insulation in your roof, which can save the average household up to £270 per year. You may be eligible for reduced cost, or even free insulation through the government’s great British insulation scheme: https://www.gov.uk/apply-great-british-insulation-scheme
- Cavity wall insulation
Most homes built after the 1920s have a cavity in their external walls. Cavity wall insulation, which can often be quick and hassle-free to install, can save the average household up to £300 per year. You may be eligible for reduced cost, or even free insulation through the government’s great British insulation scheme: https://www.gov.uk/apply-great-british-insulation-scheme Older homes built with solid external walls can be insulted, but at considerably more expense and effort.