Thursday, 15 December 2011

Fuel Poverty

In the UK, fuel poverty is said to occur when in order to heat a home to an adequate standard of warmth a household needs to spend more than 10% of its income to maintain an acceptable heating regime.

Hmmm. Living out in the sticks we don't get access to gas, and therefore cannot benefit from the dual fuel discounts that are offered by many energy companies.  This makes my blood boil, which does help me to keep warm. 

We are not centrally heated... I know when some people walk into our home they think it's cold.  It's going to be.  It's old and has poor energy efficiency.  There are a lot of drafts and thick solid walls.

Her and Him Next Door live in the extension built with modern insulating materials and know how. They do have oil central heating, but this winter are being more economical (they previously kept it turned up high to keep Gran warm and snug). We all now put on that extra jumper instead.

Last time we filled up with oil (2489 litres which services both homes) it cost us an eye watering £1358.73.  This lasts for approximately six months. 

Our family also heats water and cooks with oil.  To compensate for not having the benefit of central heating we increase the Rayburn temperature to keep the core of the house warmer, especially on those very bitter days. 

The oil guzzling monster.
We have two electric radiators to supplement the range, these are situated in the one up, one down part of our home which is our snug and master bedroom (a separate house originally that has been knocked through).  These radiators check out the temperature of the room and do not let it fall below a chosen setting (which can be individually programmed into a seven day variable cycle).  Rather than heating the area, we tend to use the radiators set at a level to just about stop the rooms from actually freezing!

Hopefully our solar panels will also help reduce the hefty electricity bill, which has been approximately £2,200.00 per annum - again for both properties.

The ever watchful radiator...
We are also fortunate enough to have an open fire and a wood burner.  We use the wood burner a lot in the snug (which also negates the electric radiator coming on in the evenings by increasing the room temperature).  We are lucky in that we live surrounded by trees, so have a handy source of wood.  We also find the Ecofan effective, it works by pushing warm air from the wood stove out into the room. Circulating the heat increases efficiency and apparently is particularly effective when the stove is recessed in an inglenook.  It's also free to operate as it's powered simply by the rising heat from the wood burner. 

Our trusty wood burner, with resident Ecofan on top.
In total our fuel has cost us knocking on for £5,000.00 per year between us.  It's a lot of money, no matter how you look at it.  Paying for fuel is making us poor.  I'm going to start knitting that extra thick jumper now; with matching socks and vest.

Post Script
One benefit of our heating 'system' is we'd be fine in a power cut.  Them Next Door would soon be rushing round with their tails between their legs.  Our Rayburn can run without electricity and their fancy pants one cannot - so we'd have some warmth, be able to cook and have gallons of very hot water.  And of course the wood stove would carry on as before.


Preseli Mags said...

That's reminded me to order an Ecofan - I need three! Our fuel poverty is compounded by the cost of Brian commuting to Carmarthen. Every penny rise in fuel prices is a penny off our food bill. Scary really. On the bright side the heating isn't working so we're hardly using any oil!

the veg artist said...

I've just worked out that I will have paid a total of around £1,700 for the past year. That's for mains gas (heating and cooking) and electric, and I am home all day, every day but only cooking for myself most of the time. The houses around me are mostly occupied by pensioners, and I dread to think what proportion of their income is going on fuel!

Midlife Singlemum said...

My electric bill double four four months over the winter mid-Nov to mid-March when I use plug in radiators for heating. I've put off moving DD to her own bedroom until the spring so that I only have to heat one bedroom at night. It impacts my whole budget over the winter but I'd rather be warm and comfortable than eat for example.

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