Utility bills are currently 37% higher than usual due to a surge in demand for heating, water and electricity during lockdown* while families spent more time at home – although oil heated households have had some relief due to the significant drop in the price of oil over the past four months.
Even as restrictions begin to ease, thousands of employees are predicted to permanently move their desk from the office to home**, meaning higher fuel bills could become the ‘new normal’ unless energy habits change.
In response OFTEC, the trade association for liquid fuels, says a shift in how we use energy is needed to help households keep costs down and support action on climate change. OFTEC’s advice includes:
Regularly monitor and adjust heating settings.
- Many of us set the timers but forget to adjust them throughout the year. If you are no longer commuting and get out of bed later, the hot water may not need to come on as early. Now we’re in summer, you should also remember to turn radiators down or off completely. Making little adjustments can lead to big savings.
Upgrade your heating system
- Summer is a good time to upgrade your heating system as you are less reliant on your boiler. Modern condensing boilers can reduce your fuel consumption by over 20%. Oil heated households can also benefit from the current significant drop in heating oil prices. With a renewable, liquid fuel ‘drop-in’ replacement to heating oil in the pipeline to support the UK’s climate change targets, there’s no need to switch to an expensive alternative heating source. Remember, always use an OFTEC (for oil) or GasSafe (for mains gas) technician for any work to ensure it is completed safely.
Unplug your devices to save electricity.
- With so many devices plugged in at home, small changes such as turning standby devices off at the wall can make a real difference. If you’re working from home, remember to turn your computer off at the end of the day.
Think about how you use water
- There are many ways to reduce the amount of water your household uses from only filling up a kettle with what you need, using a washing up bowl instead of letting the tap run and buying an energy saving shower attachment.
Malcolm Farrow from OFTEC, said: “Throughout lockdown there has been a significant increase in the amount of energy we use at home for keeping warm, working remotely and streaming our favourite films. But this comes at a cost and many households are starting to feel the pinch. Even as we move out of lockdown, working from home has become permanent for some, meaning energy use may remain higher in the long term.
“Fortunately, there are simple steps we can all take to keep our utility bills down and it’s more important than ever that we consider and adjust our energy habits. One of the biggest changes households may choose to make is upgrading their heating system. When it comes to the options for rural homes, some green heating systems come with a considerable price tag. So it’s important for those on oil heating to remember that a renewable alternative liquid fuel is being developed which could provide a simple, cost effective replacement.”
To find out more about the renewable liquid fuels which could replace kerosene, please visit Oftec’s future heating pages.
*Lockdown energy usage, Compare The Market – May 2020