Dame Caroline urges households to ‘Keep a Step Ahead of Winter

Meriden MP, Dame Caroline Spelman is encouraging local residents to ensure that they carry out checks to make sure their homes are winter read this year. 

The MP is responding to a national survey* which shows that  on average more than a third of households (36%) have not checked that their central heating is working and four in ten have not prepared their home for winter by getting their boiler serviced.

In addition to this, only a third of people (33%) have checked that their carbon monoxide alarm is working. Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’, because the gas has no odour or taste, and is invisible. Fitting an audible alarm is the second line of defence against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Being energy efficient is particularly important during the winter months, and technology can help with this. Whilst nearly half of households (47%) acknowledge that technology could help their home to run more smoothly during winter, just over a third (36%) have smart meters.

Having smart meters installed can help keep household energy in check, as they automatically send readings to the energy supplier.  Smart meters also come with a display that shows you how much energy is being used, in pounds and pence, in near real-time, and identify where savings can be made.

Dame Caroline Spelman MP who is supporting the ‘British gas Winter Ready Scheme’ said, “It’s really important to keep a step ahead of winter. I want everyone in Solihull Borough to understand what help is available for them, and for their family and friends. Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is really important, so I’d encourage people to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer.”

Get the best deal through Solihull Switch ‘n’ Save

Residents can save money on their energy bills through the Solihull Council Switch ‘n’ Save scheme which is local residents an average of £195 following an auction between energy companies.

More than 900 people registered for the scheme, which helps residents to find cheaper gas and electricity, with 75% given the opportunity to save money on their energy bill. Residents who registered are now receiving personal offer letters or emails detailing how much they could be saving against current deals.

To find out more, please visit: http://www.solihull.gov.uk

Get smart meters: Your energy supplier will be able to install smart meters, which mean an end to estimated bills. A smart energy monitor shows how much energy you are using, and what you are spending. British Gas customers are provided with online tools to help them manage their energy usage. Find out more by visiting www.britishgas.co.uk/smartmeters  

The British Gas Energy Trust: This independent trust gives face-to-face advice, financial support and grants to help clear energy and household debts. The average grant is around £600 and you don’t have to be a British Gas customer.  Find out more by visiting: www.britishgasenergytrust.org.uk

Advice for preparing your home this winter

Bleed your radiators: to make sure they are working properly. If your radiators have cold spots at the top, this means you have air in the system, so you will need to bleed them to get them working efficiently.

  1. To do this, turn the system off and when cool turn the radiator key until the air stops and water runs consistently. Once you have turned the system back on, the problem should be solved.
  2. Cold spots in the bottom or centre of the radiator may be an indication of sludge build up and the need for system flushing.
  3. Bleeding your radiator may result in pressure dropping. If you have a pressure gauge, make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top up as necessary.

Block the breeze: Make sure all of your windows and doors seal properly to stop warm air escaping. For those that don’t, fitting draught excluders, which you can buy from most DIY stores, is a quick and cheap way to cut down on your energy bills.

Stay safe: It’s vital to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted and that you test it regularly.

Love your boiler: Check to make sure that your boiler is working properly before winter sets in. The older your boiler, the more inefficient it will be. If you have a pressure gauge, make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top up as necessary.

Insulate your pipes: Burst pipes are a huge issue during winter months. To help prevent burst pipes, ensure all pipes are properly insulated by using lagging, which can be bought cheaply from most DIY shops.

Maintain your drains: If you're trying to keep your drains outside well maintained, it's a good idea to make sure they are clear of debris at the point at which they enter the ground. This involves checking your gullies for autumnal leaves and twigs in order to ensure that they don't restrict water flow at any point.