Energy and you. A guide to energy efficiency in your home. Energy and You A5.indd 1 26/10/ :15

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1 Energy and you A guide to energy efficiency in your home Energy and You A5.indd 1 26/10/ :15

2 2 Energy and you NCHA is committed to helping you reduce the amount of money you spend on water, gas and electricity in your home. We have devised this handbook to give you advice and guidance on how to make the most of the energy efficient aspects we have built into your home. At the end of this handbook you ll find a section on how you can take measures to conserve water, which is particularly important if you have a water meter. The handbook is designed to help you as you begin your tenancy but there is help and advice available from NCHA on energy related issues at any time. If you would like to talk to someone in person, you can contact the free national energy advice line which you can call for help on anything from how to budget for bills to where to buy low energy light bulbs. Call You can also speak to our Maintenance department, NCHA Energy Services team or to your Estates Officer who will be able to deal with any queries you have. Contact details are printed at the end of this handbook. Energy and You A5.indd 2 26/10/ :15

3 3 Energy and You A5.indd 3 26/10/ :15

4 4 Energy and you How to get the best from your central heating sy Gas heating systems Your boiler will normally be in one of three places in your home The airing cupboard On a wall in the kitchen Behind the gas fire in the lounge or dining room An on/off switch will be situated near to the boiler. This should only be switched off when the boiler is being serviced or if you need to re-light it if the pilot light has gone out. Your boiler also has a thermostat to control the temperature of the water in the radiators. It is usually located on a control panel behind a cover at the bottom of the boiler. For maximum efficiency from the thermostat, increase the temperature in winter and decrease it in summer. Most heating systems take about half and hour to fully warm up and half an hour to cool down. It pays to bear this in mind when setting the programmer to help make your heating work as efficiently as possible. For example, if you come home in the evening at 5pm and go to bed at 10.30pm, set your programmer to switch the heating on at 4.30pm and off at 10pm. The type of central heating programmer you have will vary depending on when the system was installed. Details of the type of programmer in your home will have been given to you when you signed your tenancy agreement. Use the programmer to control your hot water and heating to come on only when you need it. If you have any problems with your programmer, contact our Maintenance department. You can also contact the free national energy advice line How to control the temperature in your home The temperature in most homes can be controlled in two ways: Room thermostat The room thermostat is usually located in the hall or living room and is the main way of controlling the heat in your home. Try initially setting the thermostat to 18 C and move it up or down by 1 C until you reach the temperature you feel comfortable with. If your home is new or recently refurbished, the radiators may be smaller than you are used to. This is because your home is insulated to a very high standard so it needs less heat to reach a comfortable temperature. This results in smaller radiators, which helps reduce your fuel bills. Energy and You A5.indd 4 26/10/ :15

5 5 g system Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) Some of your radiators may be fitted with a TRV, to regulate the temperature of an individual radiator. It will have a scale of numbers alongside the valve. The TRVs work alongside the room thermostat to control the temperature in individual rooms. You can set the TRVs at different levels in different rooms but no individual radiator will reach a higher temperature than that set by the room thermostat. TRVs are useful in rooms that tend to over heat such as kitchens or little used rooms where a short burst of heat is needed such as a bathroom or spare bedroom. Using them effectively can help reduce your fuel bills. How to control water temperature Most properties will have a cylinder thermostat on the hot water cylinder, usually located in an airing cupboard. The most economical setting for this throughout the year is 60 C. Try to only heat water when you need it. You can use the programmer to set the times when the water will be heated. Electric heating systems You may have electric storage heaters in your property, which work by using cheap rate electricity overnight to heat up thermal bricks inside the heaters. The bricks then slowly release heat throughout the day. Modern storage heaters also allow you to boost the heat output at particular times of the day. You should have instructions on how to operate the storage heaters in your home but if you are unsure about anything, contact our Maintenance department, NCHA s Energy Services team or the free national energy advice line Smell gas? If you suspect you have a gas leak, call the National Gas Emergency Service on (local rate call). Our gas servicing commitment Your gas appliances will be serviced annually by NCHA. If you have a problem with any appliances installed by us, contact our Maintenance department by calling Energy and You A5.indd 5 26/10/ :15

6 6 Energy and you Insulation and draught-proofing A great deal of heat in your home can be lost if it is draughty or poorly insulated. This can amount to anything between 15% and 50% of overall heat loss from your home. Insulation Insulation in the loft, walls and floors is one of the best ways to save energy. If your home is new or recently refurbished, it should already be insulated to a high standard. If your home is older, it may not have adequate insulation. Contact our Maintenance department or NCHA s Energy Services team for more information contact details are at the back of this handbook. Draught-proofing If your home is relatively new or newly refurbished, draught-proofing should already have been fitted to the outside doors and windows. If you think the draught-proofing is defective or you are unsure whether any has been fitted, speak to our Maintenance department or NCHA s Energy Services team who will be able to help you with your query. You can help reduce heat loss yourself by minimising the length of time you leave windows and doors open, and you could think about fitting a curtain across your front and/or back doors. A certain amount of ventilation is needed to keep a house free from condensation and mould growth, so you should avoid blocking up air vents or switching off extractor fans. Energy and You A5.indd 6 26/10/ :15

7 Energy and You A5.indd 7 26/10/ :15 7

8 8 Energy and you Condensation and mould Condensation occurs when warm moist air, produced from activities such as bathing and cooking, comes into contact with a cold surface like a window or an outside wall. Condensation can lead to mould growth, which can contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems. If untreated, it can also ruin the decoration of your home. How you can control it To ensure condensation doesn t become a problem, try to balance the amount of heating, ventilation and moisture in your home. Condensation will form on cold surfaces so try and avoid having any cold areas in your home. Whole house heating is better than just heating one room to a very high temperature. To help you with your heating costs, try to make sure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to (visit to check your eligibility), so you can heat your home to a comfortable, healthy temperature. If your windows are fitted with trickle vents they are small horizontal vents positioned at the top of a window keep them open all of the time. It won t cause a draught but it will reduce the condensation on your windows. If you have an extractor fan in your bathroom, use it when bathing or showering. If you have one in your kitchen, use it when you are cooking. The fans take the moisture out of the air and won t cost you much to run. If you have air vents in in your home, don t block them as they help keep moisture out of the air. How much moisture is produced by typical household activities? Clothes washing 6kg load Bathing Four people sleeping for eight hours Paraffin heater for five hours Cooking by gas for three hours Tumble-drying (un-vented) 6kg load 1 pint 2 pints 3 pints 3 pints 6 pints 10 pints These measures should be sufficient to prevent problems with condensation but if you continue to have problems, try opening a window for half an hour after a bath or shower, or in the kitchen after cooking. Energy and You A5.indd 8 26/10/ :15

9 9 Reducing moisture Always try and dry clothes outside. If you have to dry them inside, open the window and shut the door in the room where the clothes are drying. This will let the moisture from the clothes goes outside rather than circulating around the house. If you use a tumble dryer and it is designed to be vented to the outside, ensure it is, to avoid condensation problems. If you are thinking of buying a new one, try and buy a condenser type dryer. Don t use portable gas or paraffin heaters if you can avoid it. They give off a lot of moisture and are expensive to run. One gallon of paraffin gives off one gallon of water. Try to keep kitchen and bathroom doors shut to stop moisture moving around the house. Cover boiling pans with pan lids. This will save on your fuel bills as well as reducing moisture. Energy and You A5.indd 9 26/10/ :15

10 10 Energy and you The cost of running your electrical applicances Energy efficient appliances Fridges and freezers If you decide to buy a new fridge or freezer, you should try to take into consideration the energy rating of the appliance. This is shown on the energy label, which is usually attached to the front of the fridge or freezer. The label shows a rating on the scale of A to G, with A being the most efficient and G the least efficient. The higher the efficiency rating, the cheaper it is to run the appliance and in the case of a fridge or freezer, savings over a year can be considerable. Energy labels can also be found on many other appliances such as washing machines and tumble dryers. Where there isn t a label, ask the supplier for advice about the running costs. Washing machines You can take your own steps to maximise the efficiency of some of the appliances you already own. A good example is with your washing machine. By using a 40 C wash cycle rather than a 60 C, you use a third less electricity. If you reduce the temperature further, to 30 C, the amount of energy and money saved will be even higher. Check your machine s settings to see which programmes operate at these temperatures. Washing powders and detergents work just as effectively at lower temperatures so unless you have heavily soiled washing, try to use a low temperature programme. You can also improve efficiency by waiting until you have a full load of washing before using the machine or by using the economy cycle, if you have one. If you have a tumble dryer, avoid trying to dry really wet clothes. Spin or wring them first, as the clothes will then dry faster, saving you money. Cookers Cooking by gas costs about a third less than cooking with electricity. It is worth bearing this in mind when you need to buy a new cooker. Batteries or mains? If you are using a small appliance it is a lot cheaper to run it on mains electricity than on batteries. Energy and You A5.indd 10 26/10/ :15

11 11 s Low energy light bulbs Low energy light bulbs use one fifth of the electricity of normal light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. Low energy bulbs are more expensive but you should get your money back, through electricity saved, in the first year. You can often find special offers promoting low energy light bulbs, so it s really worth shopping around. Contact your energy supplier, they may have cheaper bulbs. You can choose from a range of suppliers for your gas and electricity, so it s worth shopping around to see who offers the best prices in the area where you live. Energy and You A5.indd 11 26/10/ :15

12 12 Energy and you Fuel bills How to pay for your gas and electricity bills There are many ways to pay for your fuel bills: Quarterly bill Payment plans Pre-payment cards You will find further details on how to pay on the reverse of your gas or electricity bill. (When deciding which method to pay you should bear in mind that prepayment cards are the most expensive method of paying and you should avoid paying in this way if you can.) How to budget for fuel bills The easiest and most effective way to help you budget for fuel is to read your gas and electricity meters on a regular basis. This will help: Keep an account of fuel being used so you can set aside the right amount for your bill. See the effect on your bill of changing how frequently you use a particular gas or electric appliance, or how you use your heating and hot water system. Set up a system for recording your meter readings on a regular basis, (eg. fortnightly). Your energy supplier will be able to tell you how much each unit costs and don t forget to add VAT and the standing charge, If you have any problems reading the meter, call the national energy advice line Fuel Direct Benefits payments can be used to help pay your fuel and water bills through the Fuel Direct scheme. The scheme takes money from your benefit and pays it directly to the company that supplies your fuel/water. The amount paid to the company is worked out on the basis of the fuel you typically use and any arrears you have. Contact your local JobCentre Plus for more information. Understanding your fuel bills If you have any problems or queries relating to your bills, contact your energy supplier. The number will be on your bills. Advice and information can also be available from your local Citizens Advice Bureau, uk; National Debt Line on or NCHA s Energy Services team (contact details at the back of this handbook). Energy and You A5.indd 12 26/10/ :15

13 13 Energy and You A5.indd 13 26/10/ :15

14 14 Energy and you Saving water There are lots of opportunities to reduce the amount of water you use in your home. By taking some relatively simple steps you could reduce usage by around 10% which could amount to as much as 50 per year if your water is metered. Saving water in the bathroom The toilet uses the largest volume of water in most homes so only flush it when you need to do so. Contact your water company and they can provide a free save a flush device, which you can put in your cistern to help you save water (not all toilets are suitable but your water company will advise you). Don t fill your bath by more than 1/3. Clean teeth using a beaker of water rather than running the tap. If you have one, use a shower rather than a bath as they use a lot less water. Saving water in the kitchen Unless you have a half load programme on your washing machine, use the machine only for full loads of washing. Use running water as little as possible for washing dishes, vegetables and hands. Use a bowl instead. In summertime, cool water in the fridge rather than run a tap until it is cold enough. Saving water in the garden If you have a garden, you could save water by taking some of the following steps: Use water butts to collect rainwater to use to water the garden. Sometimes it is possible to get them free or at good discounts from your water company. Washing up water can be used for watering the garden but should only be used for lawns and flowers not for fruit and vegetables. Use cans or buckets for watering the garden or washing a car. If using a hosepipe, it uses much less water if it is triggered rather than allowed to run continuously. Some water companies provide triggers free or at a discount. Check your meter readings If your water is metered you can monitor the amount you use by reading it every month. This helps to identify patterns of water use. More importantly, it is possible to establish if there are any leaks underground between the meter and the property by looking at the meter when everything is turned off. Energy and You A5.indd 14 26/10/ :15

15 15 You have to pay for water that leaks on your side of the meter. If you don t have a water meter already fitted at your home, your water company should be able to fit one for you free of charge. You need to consider if this is likely to save you money. If you are a small household in a property with a high rateable value you would almost certainly benefit from a water meter. If you are a large household with a low rateable value, you probably wouldn t benefit. If you contact your water company they will be able to advise you on whether a water meter will be suitable for you. If you are on a water meter, you may qualify for a capped bill if you are on benefits. Energy and You A5.indd 15 26/10/ :15

16 National energy advice helpline: Home Heat helpline: Report a repair to NCHA s Maintenance department: Nottingham Community Housing Association 12/14 Pelham Road Sherwood Rise Nottingham NG5 1AP T: or /nottinghamcommunityhousingassociation Energy and You A5.indd 16 26/10/ :15

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