EVEN if spring is around the corner, many of us are still looking for cheap ways to heat our homes during chillier days.
The government’s Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) was this week extended at the current level of £2,500 until the summer, but households are still under financial pressure.
Electric heaters can offer a different solution to traditional central heating – but there are pitfalls to using them.
Joanna O’Loan, knowledge manager at the Energy Saving Trust, which promotes energy efficiency, energy conservation and the sustainable use of energy, said automatically thinking that they will offer a cheaper alternative could be a mistake.
Here are the top three ways you could be getting it wrong – and it could actually triple your bills:
Thinking it will definitely save you money
You might think that running an electric heater in one room is cheaper than having your central heating on to warm your whole house, but that isn’t necessarily the case, according to Joanna.
Read more on energy bills
Five ways to improve your home’s EPC rating – it could save you £1,580 a year
The underused setting on your TV that could help slash your energy bill
“If you’re looking to reduce your heating bills, you may be tempted to use an electric heater, she said.
“However, if you have gas central heating, it will generally be cheaper to use this rather than an electric heater, even if you want to just heat one room.
"This is because gas is around three times cheaper than electricity per unit,” the organisation explained.
At the moment, gas costs 10p per kilowatt hour (kWh) and electricity costs 34p per kWh.
Most read in Money
Jeremy Hunt thanks Sun readers for helping him freeze fuel duty in the Budget
Martin Lewis weighs in on changes to pensions, childcare and energy bills
I'm a mum-of-one – Universal Credit change in Budget is 'game-changer' for me
Blow to motorists as car tax to rise from April – check how much more you'll pay
Instead of using an electric heater, the Energy Saving Trust recommends turning your radiator valves to a lower number in the rooms you’re not using, and higher in the rooms you are.
Then keep doors closed between heated and unheated spaces.
If you’re looking to heat more than one room, you are almost certainly better off using gas central heating if you have it.
Choosing the wrong heater
An electric heater might work out cheaper if you just want to heat one room for a short period of time, or just one corner of a large room where you’re sitting.
But, while a heater with a lower power rating will be cheaper to run, you will get less heat.
“Convector heaters, like oil-filled electric heaters, work by heating the air in your room," said Joanna.
“Radiant heaters, like halogen heaters, work by heating the object, or person, they’re in front of."
Generally, halogen heaters work out cheaper per hour, from as little as 14p an hour, compared to 60p or more per hour for a fan heater.
But a more powerful heater may work faster, saving you money.
Don’t forget that you will also need to factor in the initial outlay of buying the heater to the overall running cost.
Fan heaters can cost from around £15, but pricier electric models can be £150 or more.
Putting your heater in the wrong place
If you do need to use an electric heater, it is important to think carefully about where you put it to maximise the benefit.
You will need to make sure that you place the heater in the part of the room you need warm, a safe distance from you and any furniture.
“Some heaters have a thermostat and timer which you can set to avoid using more energy than you need,” Joanna said.
Remember to always follow the safety instructions that come with any product about positioning them in the right place.
What energy bill help is available?
A £900 payment will be going to millions on means-tested benefits and Universal Credit this year.
To be eligible for the payment, households will need to be claiming at least one of the following:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit)
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Support
- Social Fund (Sure Start Maternity Grant, Funeral Payment, Cold Weather Payment)
- Universal Credit
Elderly Brits will receive another one-off £300 pensioner cost of living payment.
Those with certain disabilities will also qualify for a further £150 cost of living payment.
Energy suppliers also offer plenty of energy grants and schemes to help you out if you're struggling. Here's a list of schemes open right now:
Read More on The Sun
I’m a tattooed nan & love wearing skimpy dresses but people call me ‘revolting’
Neighbours’ Hannah Martin star unrecognisable after huge career change
- British Gas Energy Trust Individuals and Family Fund
- British Gas Energy Trust
- EDF Customer Support Fund
- E.ON and E.ON Next Grants
- Octopus Energy Assist Fund
- OVO Energy
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund
There's also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you're on a prepayment meter.
Source: Read Full Article