HOW TO STEER CLEAR OF BLACKOUTS (& BIG ENERGY BILLS) THIS WINTER

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With winter creeping in, we all know what to expect; temperatures are starting to drop and the days are growing darker. It’s because of this that the majority of UK households turn up their thermostats and increase their use of every-day home appliances. Though this might help to make the winter months more bearable, it also leads to soaring bills and a waste of energy.

This year there has been a lot of talk in the media about potential winter blackouts, sparking panic in households across the UK. After two nuclear plants and a gas-fired plant were recently shut down, British energy analysts have warned that there is a risk of power shortages if the National Grid cannot cope with the imminent high energy demand.

In light of this, our Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, has unveiled a set of contingency measures that are designed to reduce the pressure on the National Grid over the winter months. As part of these emergency measures, factories will be paid to ask staff to work overnight, hotels will be compensated to turn down refrigerators, and large energy companies will be compensated to generate their own power.

Although the National Grid has guaranteed that there will be no blackouts this winter, that doesn’t mean to say that we homeowners can’t do our bit to help conserve energy as the winter weather starts to kick in. Here are some practical tips that Zenith Home customers find useful when trying to conserve energy and keep their bills down:
Time your central heating

Setting your home’s central heating timer is a simple and easy way to save on your energy bills. I suggest fixing the heating to turn on for a couple of hours when you wake up in the morning, and then for a couple of hours again in the evening. There’s no point wasting money on heating throughout the day when no-one is at home to reap the benefits.

Don’t overfill the kettle:
Being British, we love nothing more than a warm cup of tea, but we have a habit of overfilling the kettle when we’re making a fresh brew. We are always reminding our customers that the more water boiled, the more energy used, so be sure to only fill the kettle for the amount of cups you need.

Secure your home’s heat:
When the temperatures drop during winter, our homes can feel cold and draughty and the natural response is to turn up the central heating. At Zenith Home we like to remind our customers that there are a number of ways that they can conserve heat and energy without turning on the heating.

External wall insulation (EWI), for example, will dramatically reduce the amount of heat that escapes through solid walls, making your property 10 times better at keeping the heat in.

Closing your curtains is another great way to keep the heat in, as 20% of your homes heat escapes through cracks and gaps around doors and windows.

Draught excluders are a great short term solution for blocking out a draft, but installing A-rated energy saving windows and doors to an A-rated standard will help to keep out the draught and retain heat in the long term. It will also add increased security to your home as well as giving it a more modern exterior.

Switch off your appliances:
Did you know that 46% of the UK population admits to only switching their appliances off when they go on holiday, and for 22% not at all? Switching off those every day appliances which usually go unnoticed, like the TV, will help you make a large saving in the long run.

Think Outside the Box:
It is not just windows and doors that can let in a frosty draught – holes around pipes and extractor fans can also let in chilly air. Use some expanding foam filler in the gaps to keep conquer the crafty cold air and help reduce the temptation to turn up the thermostat!

If you follow these easy tips you’re sure to see a decrease in your energy bills while helping our National Grid to save as much energy as possible in preparation for the winter months!
Phil Lamb

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