Bills on the up!

Npower has announced that its raising its standard energy prices by an average of 9.8% – and it's received huge amounts of criticism as a result.

The 9.8% increase is made up of a 4.8% rise to gas prices and a whopping 15% increase to electricity prices, which means the typical dual fuel bill will rise by an average of £109. The new charges are set to come into effect on 16 March and are expected to impact half of the firm's 2.8m customers, with pre-payment customers and those on fixed rate tariffs not affected.

Unsurprisingly, such a huge increase hasn't gone unnoticed, with the dramatic hike in electricity prices gaining particular attention. The firm says that this is the first time it's increased rates since October 2013, blaming the rise on increased wholesale energy costs and the cost of delivering various Government policies, but that certainly won't placate the 1.4m people who are set to feel the impact on their budgets.

Customers who have been identified as being particularly vulnerable won't face the price increase until May. Npower have revealed the launch of a new tariff to encourage more engagement. The new deal is a four-year tariff that will be offered at a 4.8% discount with no exit fee, and is exclusive to current customers, to encourage them to switch from their standard tariff onto a fixed rate. This will hopefully mean that said customers can avoid being hit with such a rate hike, but the fact that npower is raising prices so much to begin with is attracting serious criticism.

As a homeowner now would be a good time to check your house is energy efficient as experts don’t think this will be an end to prices being hiked. Brexit talks are looming and the pound is still weak, this is a recipe for increased energy prices so do check out the energy saving measures on this site to see if you qualify for assistance. You may be pleasantly surprised to find you are entitled to a service free of charge, so get checking straight away.

Get your boiler checked

February is the peak month for boiler repairs, which rises over 63% compared to the monthly average.

With the Met Office recently issuing a severe weather warning for the UK, it is estimated that more boiler repair call outs will follow.

Prevention better than cure

With the average broken boiler costing almost £500 to fix, it could be a very good time to have your checked and serviced as prevention is better than cure.

Being caught out without heating in the winter can be particularly unpleasant especially if you have young children.

Top tips to maintain your boiler

Keep your heating on low: Sudden cold temperatures can freeze your boilers external condensate pipe which could cause your boiler to stop working. Insulating the pipes can help or try keeping the heating on low when it’s very cold.

Bleed your radiators: If your property isn’t getting as warm as you think it should be, there may be air trapped inside the heating system. Releasing air from the system is simple but you will need a key which can slot into the radiators bleed valve. If you still have a problem after doing this, you may need to call in the professionals.

Keep your boiler maintained: Make sure you service your boiler and keep it maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Check regularly for any warning signs such as leaks, cracks or noises as the sooner you can identify a problem, the easier it will be to fix.

Older boilers

If your boiler is over 8 years old, it may well be a very good idea to check out if you could be entitled to a new one free of charge. Just select the relevant benefit on this site and see if you qualify.

Be energy efficient:

Much of the country is in the midst of a cold snap, and those freezing temperatures mean the heating system could be working overtime and your heating cost will go up as a result. But what if you could keep your bills under control without having to battle hypothermia? The key is being energy efficient.

Research has uncovered a widespread lack of knowledge about energy efficiency, with just 14% of respondents knowing that the optimal temperature for a home is 21°C, with 24% believing it to be higher than that. Similarly, respondents also underestimate the amount of money spent to power appliances on standby mode: 17% believe that £41 to £50 is spent each year by leaving appliances on standby, when actually it's almost twice that, costing an average of £80.

Despite these clear energy mistakes, it seems that most people think they're pretty good when it comes to energy saving, with 70% of those polled describing themselves as energy efficient. It's perhaps for this reason that people don't view investing in energy efficient measures a priority: respondents spent an average of £315 on boosting the energy efficiency of their home over the last year, compared with £900 spent on improving the look and decoration of their property.

However, having an energy-efficient home can be a key factor when selling a property – 73% said they take it into account when looking to buy – so focusing on improving it could be profitable in more ways than one.

The vast majority of people in this research also didn’t know that some energy efficient measures can be installed in the home free of charge. Check out on this site to see if you are entitled to any assistance or grants, a little time spent now could save thousands in the long run.

Greener homes are worth much more

It's official: green homes are now more popular with potential house buyers, according to a new report commissioned by estate agents. The report also confirms a greener home is worth up to 5% more. Just imagine if your home was worth £200,000 and you upgraded its energy efficiency it could be worth a further £10,000. Upgrading your properties energy efficiency doesn’t have to cost a fortune and a lot of measures can be installed free of charge if you qualify. Check out if you qualify for financial assistance on this site.

Green home improvement work is set to increase further this year as more people are waking up to the massive cost savings that can be achieved.

Latest Government figures show that more than half of homes do not have enough insulation or an efficient condensing boiler and most do not have proper heating controls.

Mind those gaps!

Did you know that up to 25% of heat in many homes is lost through inadequate draft proofing? Check that windows and doors close properly and if there are gaps, either use a draft excluder or fit draft proofing strips around the sides of the doors and windows.

Time for a new boiler?

Heating and hot water account for about 60% of the average fuel bill. If your boiler is older than 15 years, it should be replaced. By installing a high efficiency condensing boiler, you will save around one-third on your bills.

Insulate before you generate

Good insulation is crucial to ensuring that you are not losing heating that you have already paid for. Current Building Regulations recommend that the minimum level of loft insulation should be 200mm (8″). It is also worth insulating your walls as you could also be losing a further 35% of your heat through them. A further 15% of heating can be lost through the floor. Having floor insulation installed will dramatically reduce this.

Heating costs are set to rise in the near future, with a weak pound and Brexit talks due to take place soon now is a good time to reduce your energy bills. If all the experts are right it looks very much like we are all in line for a turbulent 12 months and you would be wise to explore ways of reducing your monthly expenses.

Heating and Cooling

Do you ever think about the energy your home uses when you’re away at work for 40 hours per week? In the heat of the summer or cold of winter, your air conditioner and heater continue to churn even when no one is inside. Home insulation is a cheap and easy way to make sure your home works for you and if you are on certain benefits this can be installed free.

Solar and Power

Everyone knows that solar panels help lower electricity costs by using natural energy from the sun, but did you ever think about when a home consumes most of its energy? At night cooking, cleaning (laundry and dishwasher), TV, video games and lights are all used mostly at night for the average UK household so stored power can save a fortune.

Buy smart appliances

Appliances were once energy vultures. Something as simple as a load of laundry or baking a pie in a conventional oven would drain a significant percentage of a home’s energy. But now it’s 2017, and refrigerators are just as smart as TVs and laptops. Not only have appliances become tech toys, but they also use a fraction of the energy compared to 20th century appliances.

Check out now to see if you can save ££££££’s it’s easy and very quick, just select your energy saving requirement and see if you qualify for financial assistance.