As the nights draw in and the temperatures drop, it’s important to ensure that the family home is warm this winter.
There are a number of different ways to keep heat inside the house including loft and cavity wall insulation, an energy efficient boiler, central heating and double or secondary glazed windows.
For those who are on a limited income, it may be difficult to find the available cash to fund these ways to keep the warmth in and the winter winds out. If an emergency situation arises and there is an energy bill which needs paying, a short term payday loan such as Wonga could be the solution.
The government has introduced a number of initiatives which are aimed at improving the well-being of families and some of these energy-related schemes are available to those of limited means.
The Green Deal is an initiative to provide finance for families to undertake work such as replacing their boiler, installing new central heating or adding cavity wall insulation. It is not a grant, but is money that can be borrowed and then paid back through the household energy bills over a long period of time. It means that there is no need to use monthly income to try to fund jobs which need carrying out.
The Warm Home Discount (https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme) helps those who are vulnerable with energy bills over the winter. For 2013/2014 the amount available is £135. It’s not always an automatic payment and is essentially for those who receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit. However, some energy suppliers consider applications from others who do not fall into this category, so it’s worth finding out more if you think you qualify.
Many homes do not have adequate loft insulation, which can lead to large amounts of heat being lost through the roof. Whilst in the past there were many schemes where most people qualified for a grant for improved insulation, many have now ended. However, some energy suppliers are still offering grants for those who are on benefits (http://www.which.co.uk/energy/creating-an-energy-saving-home/guides/energy-grants/free-insulation-deals/). These include Scottish Power and British Gas.
There are grants available for new boilers in the home for those who receive either means tested benefits or tax credits. With a new boiler typically costing £2,300 this is a great way to keep warm, save money and keep the bills down. To get a free boiler, it’s just a case of calling one of the UK energy suppliers. It doesn’t have to be the one you are with, you are free to choose. Companies taking part in this initiative include British Gas, E.on, Npower, EDF Energy, Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern.
For free cavity wall insulation, British Gas are the people to call. The criteria is related to benefits received in the household, but they will be happy to check eligibility.
For general advice about grants available and keeping the house warm, the Energy Saving Trust are the organisation to talk to. They have details on all current schemes and with just one call on 0300 123 1234 will talk through all the options (http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/). Their service is free and have advisers available Monday to Saturday.
Staying warm is vital, so whatever the financial situation of the family, it’s worth finding out more about being energy efficient this winter. Even if there are no grants available, there’s lots of advice about how to save money and to keep the heat inside the home, rather than outside.