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With the temperatures dropping, daylight hours getting shorter and thoughts of colder winter days ever closer – now is a good time to think about household heating routines and how to get the most from your heating system without breaking the bank.

Living in a cold home can have serious implications on the Health and Wellbeing of vulnerable groups such as older people, children and people living with disabilities or chronic illness so now is the time to carry out some preparations for the winter ahead.

GENERAL ADVICE WOULD BE:

BOILER SERVICING – annual servicing ensures it is working efficiently and is costing less to run. Check for schemes to upgrade if the boiler is over 15 years of age.

INSULATE – the majority of heat is lost through uninsulated attics and walls – up to 35% through the walls and 25% through the attic – but a well insulated home warms up faster and cools down more slowly. Check for available insulation schemes.

USE THE PROGRAMMER – it is more cost effective to heat your home according to your needs. Don’t pay for heat that you’re not using by leaving the heat on when no one is home – if you are out during the day or tucked up in bed at night, you won’t generally need the heating on.

DRAUGHT PROOFING – maintain ventilation in your home, but avoid draughts. Draught proofing around doors and windows is a low cost way of stopping heat from seeping out.

CLEAN CHIMNEYS – avoid carbon monoxide risk if the chimney is used or block draughts from unused chimneys.

MOVE FURNITURE away from radiators – furniture such as sofas can absorb heat from the radiators preventing them from fully heating a room.

HOT WATER TANK JACKETS – if your tank is an old style cylinder, replace or fit a new jacket to keep your water hotter for longer.

DECLUTTER – this allows for heat and air to circulate reducing the risk of condensation and mould growth during the colder days. The Council’s Health and Wellbeing team has a full time energy efficiency advisor who can provide information on the availability of current grants and tailor advice according to your needs to help improve the heating levels of your home.

Information on how to budget for heating costs, including the Oil Stamp Saving Scheme, and switching energy suppliers is also available.

To get in contact with the Energy Efficiency Advisor emai: envhealth@antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk or T. 028 9034 0160

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