Martin Lewis explains the boiler challenge
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A man has managed to save thousands of pounds amid the energy crisis after following a tip suggested by the Government, Express.co.uk has been told. Energy bills have surged in Britain over the last year as Russia’s war in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s supply cuts to Europe laid bare the UK’s vulnerability to the volatile global gas and electricity markets. Now, customers are on average forking out double the amount they compared with last year, pushing millions into fuel poverty despite a £2,500 price cap for typical households.
But by following one simple tip after becoming alarmed by the shocking rise he saw to his monthly gas bills, David Jones, a 73-year-old pensioner from North London, has predicted that he will knock off thousands of pounds from his bill this year.
It came after the Government suggested that Britons turn down the heating on their thermostats, which are sometimes set higher than they need to be. While Mr Jones initially ignored the advice, he later recognised how beneficial it could be to follow it.
He told Express.co.uk: “At first I ignored it (the advice), but when I looked at my bills, I was shocked. Usually, we would be paying £4,000 a year for gas and electricity until about a year ago. Now, without Government help (the Government’s price cap), we would be paying £12,000.”
“The price cap brought it down to £8,800 (the £2,500 figure is only for typical households). We used to have our thermostat at between 20C to 21C – that kept us nice and warm and we didn’t really think about it.
“It gave us high bills, but it wasn’t outrageous. But with the tripling of costs effectively without the discount, suddenly, it was a huge hit. So I started to experiment. Being a family of five and everybody wanting to be reasonably warm – I gradually started making changes. I moved it from 20C to 19C and then 18C – to experiment as to how we would all feel.”
“I discovered that actually, we were all fine. 18C is like a summer evening and it is not a hardship – you are comfortable at this temperature. Then at night, I start to drop it down to 17C or 16C – you might have to wear a jumper and more warm clothes, but it is fine. But I have started switching it off at night to save more money.”
By following this simple piece of advice, Mr Jones’ predicted that his gas bill for the year will go down from a “ridiculous” £5,800 (over £8,000) without the discount to £1,300.
He said: “I am delighted to think that we will be able to make some savings, and I urge other households to experiment and see what they are comfortable with.
“My friend has his heating on at 15C. I couldn’t cope. When it goes to 17C my fingers get cold. But I never ever looked at consumption before. My energy supplier predicted that because of all these price rises, my usage would go up to £6,000 in the next 12 months.
While Mr Jones’ bills are far higher than average households pay, he says it is due to poor insulation and an old house which means much of the heat from his boiler escapes through the windows and doors. He is considering putting reflexive foil behind his radiators to keep more heat in.
But turning down the temperature of your thermostat is not the only piece of advice the Government has offered amid the energy crisis. The Government is also aunching a new public information campaign this weekend with more simple tricks to cut their energy use this winter.
The advice will come in the form of an information campaign called “It All Adds Up”, consisting of a number of feature ways in which households can cut their energy use. As well as advising people to turn down their boilers and radiators, as Mr Jones has done, it will also recommend that people turn off energy-sapping appliances, and draught-proof windows by putting blankets under them.
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The £20million campaign was developed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with the hope that the energy savings made by the consumers would cover the cost.
The advert will come in the form of energy-saving tips on TV. It may also be present on billboards at bus stops. One of the tips will indeed advise that Britons lower their boiler flow temperature to 60C (140F), which they estimate could save over £100 a year.
It previously hailed this piece of advise as one of its “top recommended actions to help households save money on their energy bills”. Government officials have said: “Reducing the temperature a boiler heats water to before it is sent to radiators (known as the boiler flow temperature) from 75C to 60C.”
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