Carbon Monoxide Awareness
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels including gas, oil, wood and coal. Sources can include cookers, heaters and fireplaces. You can’t see it, taste it nor smell it, but CO can kill quickly without warning.
Our useful leaflet gives information and advice about symptoms of CO poisoning; how to prevent CO poisoning and what to do if your CO alarm sounds or you suspect a leak.
Mains Gas Advisory Guide
The Future of Gas: What’s the truth behind the headlines? If you heat your home with mains gas, do you need to start thinking about replacing it now?
Our useful guide gives information and advice about the government’s plans to tackle the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions that come from our homes, especially heating, and mostly by gas boilers. We all need to think about how we heat our homes, but there is time to act without rushing into hasty decisions.
Heating – Simple Guides for Householders
Storage heaters are basically a well-insulated box filled with ceramic bricks to “hold” the heat provided by an electric element running through the centre. They “charge” or absorb and store heat at the times when they can take advantage of the off-peak or cheaper rate electricity. Their controls can be adjusted to release heat throughout the following day.
Using Heating Controls Effectively
Taking control of your heating system can help you make the most of the heat in your home and manage how much it costs.
Energy Advice – Simple Guides for Householders
Saving Energy and Money
Condensation and Mould
Damp housing can lead to the growth of mould (and mould feeding mites) on walls and furniture. This not only looks unpleasant, with the potential to cause considerable damage to wallpaper, wall surfaces, window frames and furniture, but it can also affect the health of the householder.
All properties need to have a certain level of ventilation to let fresh air in and reduce condensation and mould, but gaps in the wrong places can lead to cold draughts and heat loss. To draught-proof your home you should block up unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out.
Secondary glazing offers an alternative to householders who don’t want to or are unable to replace their existing single-glazed windows with more energy efficient double glazing. It provides some of the benefits of double glazing in terms of helping to prevent heat loss, providing sound proofing and sealing draughts, but at a reduced cost and level of disturbance than installing new windows.
Low Energy Lighting
By replacing a traditional light bulb with an energy saving light bulb, which lasts around ten times longer than a traditional bulb, you can make savings of around £40 before it needs replacing, so across a typical home the savings can quickly add up.
Understanding Your Electricity Meter and Bill
You should read your meter regularly to make sure that your bills are accurate and you’re not running up a large debt or credit. Electricity meters are fitted with either mechanical, digital or dial displays, measuring the amount of electricity used in Kilowatt Hours (kWh).
Understanding Your Gas Meter and Bill
You should read your meter regularly to make sure that your bills are accurate. Gas meters are fitted with either mechanical, digital or dial displays, measuring the amount of cubic feet or cubic metres used. If your gas use is shown in cubic feet it will be converted into metres by your supplier to calculate your bill.
Tariffs, Payment Options and Switching Suppliers
If you have never switched supplier, or changed tariffs, you might be able to save money by finding a better deal. All suppliers are now obliged to tell you if they have a better tariff available to you, although they won’t tell you if there is a better offer elsewhere.
Priority Service Register
Gas and electricity suppliers are obliged to offer a range of FREE services and additional benefits to support their most vulnerable customers. The free services listed in this guide are available to all mains gas and electricity customers who meet the eligibility criteria.
Insulation – Simple Guides for Householders
Without loft insulation as much as a quarter of the heat you pay for could be escaping through the roof. Loft insulation is one of the most effective ways of achieving a warmer home which is cheaper to run and more energy efficient.
Cavity Wall Insulation
Homes built after 1920 generally have cavity constructed external walls, made of two “skins” separated by a hollow space, or cavity, between them. Cavity wall insulation fills the hollow space, keeping the heat in and saving you energy.
Solid Wall Insulation
If your property was built before 1920, it is likely that it was built with solid stone or brick external walls. If these walls are un-insulated you could be losing up to a third of your property’s generated heat, wasting money and energy.
Renewable Energy – Simple Guides for Householders
Solar Photovoltaic Panels (PV)
The South West is one of the best areas of the country to install solar photovoltaic (PV) due to its sunny climate. Solar PV is a renewable energy technology which can help reduce your carbon footprint, save money on your bills as well as generating a small income through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).
Solar Thermal Panels
Sunlight can easily be used to heat domestic hot water and in some cases, can also be used to heat your home. The solar collector absorbs heat from the sun. Fluid (usually antifreeze) passing through the panel/tubes is heated and then fed (usually by a pump) to a hot water cylinder.
Generating Electricity from Wind
Wind turbines harness the power of the wind to generate electricity; the stronger the wind, the faster the blades turn, producing more electricity. The wind turns the blades which are connected to a rotating shaft which passes into an electricity generator where the electricity is generated.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
Ground source heat pumps use pipes buried in the ground to extract heat for use in radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water in your home. They use around a third less electricity for heating than other forms of electrical heating, delivering heat at lower temperatures over much longer hours than a conventional boiler, although if properly controlled it can switch on and off with the heating requirements of your home.
Air Source Heat Pumps
Air source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) absorb heat from the outside air for use in radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water in your home. They use around a third less electricity for heating than other forms of electrical heating, delivering heat at lower temperatures over much longer hours than a conventional boiler, although if properly controlled it can switch on and off with the heating requirements of your home.
Hydro-electricity converts the potential energy stored in water held at height into kinetic energy (or the energy used in movement), turning a turbine to produce electricity. Improvements in small turbine and generator technology mean that ‘micro’ (under 100kW) hydro schemes are an efficient means of producing electricity.
Wood Fuelled Heating
Wood fuelled appliances are best suited to properties without access to the mains gas network. The cost of buying wood fuel is usually comparable to oil or bulk LPG, and the costs of running a wood fuelled appliance should be less than bottled LPG or electric heating systems.
Electric cars or Electric Vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly common on our roads and although they currently cost more to buy and a comprehensive charging network is still being developed, they already offer cheaper running costs and reduced CO₂ emissions.