Top tips for winter

Bertie’s top 10 tips for a warmer, healthier home

Affordable warmth is a household’s ability to heat their home to a minimum standard. This is recommended to be 18 - 21oC, without incurring fuel debt as result.

Calderdale Council is committed to helping lower-income households make their homes healthier, warmer and cheaper to heat. We have a range of heating and insulation schemes for residents who own or privately rent their own homes. Please note: You will need written permission from your landlord, if the property is privately rented.

Click on an image to see details of that tip.

Insulate your loft or attic bedroom
Insulate brick and stone walls
Repair your gas boiler with a council grant
Upgrade your boiler and/or central heating system
Fit a modern timer or thermostat
Apply for warmth
Switch energy supplier
Fit a smart meter
Draught proofing
Additional funding

 

Tip 1 - Fit loft or attic room insulation to keep the heat in

If your home has a standard loft with less than 100mm (4 inches) of loft insulation. This can be topped up to the recommended 270mm (11 inches). The work can be fully grant funded for residents (owner occupiers and private rented tenants – subject to landlord permission) in any of the following groups:

  • lower income households (total income less than £21,000 per year) and savings of less than £16,000;
  • residents over 60 years old;
  • households in receipt of qualifying benefits.

If your home has an attic bedroom, this can also be insulated through the Council’s preferred energy efficiency scheme, Better Homes Yorkshire.

Grants to cover the cost of the work are available for the above qualifying households.

For more details and to arrange a no-obligation survey for loft or attic room insulation, visit: Better Homes Yorkshire .

Or contact Better Homes on telephone:

0800 597 1500 (free from a UK Landline) or

0113 897 0977 (local or mobile call charges may apply).

Attic Room Case Study

Mrs Rosemary Ratcliffe of Saxon Street, Halifax had attic room insulation fitted by local company Eclipse Renewable Energy. This was done through the Better Homes Yorkshire energy scheme. Mrs Ratcliffe said:

“I’m really happy. The attic room is a lot cooler in this hot weather and it will be much warmer when it’s cold in winter. The installers from Eclipse did a brilliant job, they were really good lads and did the work quickly and very cleanly. I can definitely recommend them.”

Tip 2 - Install cavity wall insulation – available for brick and stone homes

Does your home have cavity walls made from brick and or stone?

Different types of cavity wall insulation are available that could significantly reduce heat loss from your home.

Cavities can be insulated with fibre or polybead insulation. The work can be fully grant funded, up to a maximum of £1,000. This applies if you are in any of the following groups:

  • lower income households (total income less than £21,000 per year) and savings of less than £16,000;
  • residents over 60 years old;
  • households in receipt of qualifying benefits.

Narrow stone cavity walls (less than 40mm wide) can be suitable for a closed-cell polyurethane (PUR) foam cavity wall insulation.

Certain PUR foam products can be used for homes in flood risk areas as they have waterproof qualities.

Grants are available for the above qualifying households to cover up to the first £2,500 of the cost.Home owners have to pay the balance if the cost of the work exceeds the grant. Affordable interest free loans are available to help spread the cost of the work.

Different guarantees are available for the work depending on the type of insulation used. See: Ofgem - Energy Company Obligation (ECO) .

For more details and to arrange a no-obligation survey and quote for cavity wall insulation, visit: Better Homes Yorkshire .

Or contact Better Homes on telephone:

0800 597 1500 (free from a UK Landline) or

0113 897 0977 (local or mobile call charges may apply).

Case Study – Cavity wall insulation for stone homes

Mr Stephen Wraight of Industrial Street, Todmorden had polyurethane foam fitted to his stone terraced home. He said:

"This cavity wall insulation has really improved how warm my house feels. It's saving me around £30 per month on my fuel bills and because it’s waterproof, it also gives me peace of mind that my home will be better protected in the event of future flooding."

Tip 3 - Service and repair your gas boiler with a Council Grant

Boilers should be serviced once a year in summer to make sure they are working safely and efficiently for the next winter.

Small servicing and repair grants are available for owner occupiers in any of the following groups:

  • lower income households (total income less than £21,000 per year) and savings of less than £16,000
  • residents over 60 years old;
  • households in receipt of qualifying benefits.

If your boiler is found to be dangerous, or in an unsafe condition, it may be condemned by the gas fitter to protect all of the residents living in the property. So, if you do this work during summer, your boiler can be repaired or replaced in time for winter through one of the Council’s other schemes (please see details below).

We’re not an emergency service, but if your boiler does break down, we can arrange for it to be checked over and assessed to see if it is viable to repair. Small grants are available for owner occupiers in any one of the above groups for servicing and basic repairs. We can also provide temporary electric heaters for very vulnerable residents. If we can’t repair your boiler, you can request a no obligation quote for a replacement through the Better Homes Yorkshire scheme – see tip 4 below for details.

To request a boiler service, or apply for a small repair grant, just print & complete the PDFEnquiry Form [PDF 199KB] and email it back to us via the email address below, or get in touch by phone.

If you privately rent your own home, your landlord is responsible for carrying out annual gas safety checks on all gas appliances in your home, as well as carrying out repairs within a reasonable timeframe. If your landlord does not carry out servicing for your gas appliances, or does not carry out any heating repairs you have requested, contact the Council’s Environmental Health service for advice and support

Tip 4 - Upgrade your boiler and or heating system

Is your gas heating boiler old and inefficient?

A modern energy efficient version could save you up to £350 per year on your heating costs. We have £500 boiler scrappage grants available to replace old, inefficient boilers that are E, F or G rated.

Do you currently heat your home with electric or solid fuel heating?

We can help arrange for a gas connection. We offer a grant of up to £1,000 for a new gas central heating system if you receive qualifying benefits or are on a low household income of less than £21,000 per year and have savings less than £16,000, plus an affordable interest free loan for the difference.

For more details and to arrange a no-obligation survey, visit: Better Homes Yorkshire .

Or contact Better Homes on telephone:

0800 597 1500 (free from a UK Landline) or

0113 897 0977 (local or mobile call charges may apply).

Tip 5 - Fit a modern timer and thermostat control for your heating

If your boiler does not have a timer and room thermostat and is only controlled by an ‘on / off’ switch, it may not be meeting your needs and could be made easier, and more convenient, to use

Boilers with programmable timers can be set for certain times of the day according to your daily routine. Once your home has warmed up to your desired temperature (18 – 21 degrees centigrade recommended), the thermostat will temporarily turn your boiler off for a short while. When the room temperature drops off, the boiler will then turn back on again to heat your home back up. Using a programmable timer and thermostat, you can set the times you would like your boiler to turn on, and also set the desired temperature for your thermal comfort.

If you are an owner occupier or a private tenant and you don’t have a timer and room thermostat control on your boiler and are in any of the following groups, we have small grants available to fit a combined timer and room thermostat through one of the Council’s preferred contractors:

  • lower income households (total income less than £21,000 per year) and savings less than £16,000;

  • residents over 60 years old;

  • households in receipt of qualifying benefits.

To apply for the grant, just complete the attached application form and email or post it back to us via the email address below, or get in touch by phone.

If you privately rent your home, you must provide written consent from your landlord with your application to authorise the works.

Tip 6 - Apply for warmth on prescription

Are you an owner-occupier OR a tenant in private rented home with a long-term or chronic health condition made significantly worse by living in a cold home?

If you receive a qualifying benefit, or are on a low household income, you may be able to apply for a ‘warmth on prescription’ grant.

Grants of up to 50% (to a maximum £5,000) are available for the cost of heating and insulation. Interest-free loans are available to fund the balance of the cost. Work that can be carried out with this grant includes:

  • a new gas central heating boiler, if the existing boiler cannot be repaired;
  • a new gas central heating system, for properties on electric heating or solid fuel;
  • standard loft and cavity wall insulation;
  • non-standard insulation, such as solid wall insulation or polyurethane foam.

Note: All the work is subject to survey and available funding. If you privately rent your home, you must provide written consent from your landlord with your application to authorise the works.

Ask your GP Practice or health professional (Practice Nurse, Health Visitor, social worker) to refer you into the scheme. As well as proof of benefits, or details of low income, we just need a very short referral in writing or by email from a health professional which clearly states your health conditions and confirmation that they are made significantly worse by living in a cold home.

To apply for the scheme, visit: Better Homes Yorkshire to request a no-obligation survey and quotation for the works required.

Or contact Better Homes on telephone:

0800 597 1500 (free from a UK Landline) or

0113 897 0977 (local or mobile call charges may apply).

Once you receive the Better Homes quote, please complete the PDFEnquiry Form [PDF 199KB] and email or post it back to our email address below with a copy of the quote, details of your benefits and referral from your health professional.

For more details, please contact:

Tip 7 - Switch your energy supplier for a cheaper deal

Have you reviewed your gas and electricity tariff in the last 2 or 3 years?

If your previous deal has finished, and you are on your supplier’s standard variable rate deal, you may be able to get a better deal and save money.

You can either:

  1. Contact your current supplier and ask if they have any better deals that would save you money, or

  2. Shop around with other suppliers to try and find a cheaper deal.

White Rose Energy is Calderdale Council’s preferred ‘not for profit’ energy supply company. If you have a pre-payment meter, you may still be able to change to White Rose Energy. This service is available for all residents in privately owned, rented or social housing.

Before you start shopping around to change your energy supply, you should have details available about:

  • how much energy you use per month; or

  • how much you spend per month on your heating and energy costs.

For more details, contact:

Tip 8 - Fit a smart meter

Smart meters put consumers in control of their energy use, allowing them to adopt energy efficiency measures that can help save money on their energy bills and offset price increases.

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters and offer a range of intelligent functions.

For example, they can tell you how much energy you are using through an In Home Display (IHD). They communicate directly with your energy supplier, meaning you will get accurate bills, and there will be no need for your energy supplier to visit your home to read your meter in future.

Benefits of smart meters

Smart meters bring a wide range of benefits. For example:

  • smart meters give you near real time information on energy use - expressed in pounds and pence.
  • you will be able to better manage your energy use, save money and reduce emissions.
  • smart meters will bring an end to estimated billing - you will only be billed for the energy you actually use, helping you budget better.
  • in time, smart meters will make switching supplier smoother and faster, making it easier to get the best deals.

You will not be charged separately for a smart meter or for the In-Home Display. Under current arrangements you pay for the cost of your meter and its maintenance through your energy bills, and this will be the same for smart meters.

Benefits for prepayment customers

Smart meters can work in prepayment or credit mode. Prepayment customers will see some particular benefits from having a smart meter. For example:

  • your energy supplier may be able to offer you new and more flexible ways of topping up your meter that don’t require you to visit a shop.
  • you’ll be able to see your balance on your easy-to-access In Home Display, so you don’t unknowingly run out of credit.
  • your smart meter can be set to top up automatically, so that if you do run out of credit at night or when the shops are shut you won’t be left without power.

Further information on the benefits of smart meters, what they are and how they work, is available on the  Smart Energy GB website

Tip 9 - Fit draught proofing and radiator reflector panels

Fitting draught proofing to get rid of cold draughts around leaky wooden external and cellar doors and windows will make your home feel much warmer and comfortable.

Radiator reflector panels behind radiators can also stop heat being ‘lost’ to the wall by reflecting it back up into the room.

Small grants are available for to fit draught proofing and radiator panels for residents in owner occupied, private rented or social rented homes who are in ANY of the following groups:

  • On a low income of less than £21,000 per year and savings of less than £16,000;
  • In receipt of qualifying benefits; or
  • Over 60 years old.

If you do not qualify to have the work done free of charge, it can still be done for a small fee to cover the cost of materials and the Handyperson’s time.

For details and to arrange the work, contact:

Tip 10 - Claim additional funding to help you with your energy costs

Warm Homes Discount Scheme - This is a credit paid on to your electricity bill once a year if you qualify.

Winter Fuel Payments - This is a payment to help with heating costs for people over a certain age. It is usually paid automatically to people who qualify, but it is worth checking the criteria and making a claim if not.

Cold Weather Payments - These are different from the Warm Homes Discount Scheme and Winter Fuel Payments and may be paid by the government in times of persistent cold weather.

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See also