Fuel bills

Loki

Member
So fuel bills are going up massively. Best money saving ideas here? Turn heating down and put another jumper on? I?ve turned the stat down 2 deg to see what difference it makes.
I?m thinking bigger picture too - best investments to make to reduce bills. Anyone with direct experience of air source heat pumps for example??
 

Rob

Well-known member
I've turned my computer to mining cyrpto. The earnings more than cover the electricity consumption and i get my office heated "for free"  (y)

And before anyone goes and tells Greta on me, we have a green electricity supplier.  (y)
 

Loki

Member
Maybe Crypto Mine could be a good name for a protracted and ultimately pointless dig that didn?t produce anything useful?
 

Badlad

Administrator
Staff member
Many years ago (70s) a friend of mine was in deep trouble both financially and mentally.  During a miserable winter he burnt every bit of wood in his council house, doors, skirting and archs, bannisters, bits of the stairs and even some floorboards.  He also had a go at tapping into next-doors electric meter.  I wouldn't recommend it, and he eventually got sectioned, but I expect we are going to see a lot more of this sort of desperation as we return to hard times for many.
 

phizz4

Member
Wee Bernie (as my wife likes to call her), the Scottish Leader, has pledged money for schools to cut the bottom of classroom doors to increase ventilation, so that should give a good source of free wood for a while for those with a wood burner. Seriously though, we are thinking of getting solar panels but have no idea of the cost effectiveness of this so comments would be welcome. A friend has an air heat source pump and it costs him ?100 a month in electricity to run, (three bed bungalow) which is offset by some sort of government tariff and he says he wouldn't have one again. My favoured option is solar panels and a storage battery set up but, again, no idea of cost or effectiveness. We are going to use the slow cooker more and the electric oven less and dry more clothes on the radiators.
 

topcat

Member
We have solar panels and our annual lecky bill is between ?200 and ?300 total......
Central heating is oil, every thing else is electric.

We might have to be more careful in the future.  (4 bed bungalow).
 

Fulk

Active member
Hi phizz, we have a dozen solar panels that cost ?6000 to install just over 5 years ago. We can?t pin down accurately what we save in day-to-day running costs, because my stepson and his girlfriend were living with us and chose to move out at about the same time as the panels were installed, so our electricity use dropped anyway, but we reckon the saving is around ?15?16 a month . . . which doesn?t sound much. However, on top of that is the so-called ?feed-in tariff? (FIT), through which surplus electricity generated goes into the grid, and our electric company pays for it, sending us a cheque every 3 months (the amount they pay us per unit is fractionally greater than the amount they charge per unit). Anyway, this brings us in about ?450 a year, so the total amounts to about ?630 per year ? somewhat more than 10% of the cost. So you could regard it as a good investment that brings in > 10% on the cost*, or you could write off the cost and say that we get free electricity (well, perhaps until April). Also, of course, we feel that it?s environmentally good (though to be honest I?ve no idea of the environmental cost of manufacturing the panels in the first place). Plus, of course, things change, and the FIT has, I believe, changed.

*A couple of days ago I received the munificient interest of 0.042% on a bit of dosh I have in an ISA . . . the same day I got a threatening text from the (same) bank threatening to charge 35% p.a. on a small overdraft on our current account ? which means the bastards charge interest at a rate 833x what they pay it out. Why don't the Government do something about this?
 

Ian Ball

Well-known member
Badlad, that sounds awful.

Reduce the temp on your clothes washing is probably the easiest way to save cash.  Heating water is a big cost I think.

A cheap and simple thing is sticking silvering material behind any external wall radiators.  I think I'll get around to that now.  It saves next to nothing but that next to nothing is worth a bit more now.



 

PeteHall

Moderator
Air source heat pumps are not a cheap way to heat your home.

They also run at lower temperatures than a traditional heating system, so they are near enough useless connected to wall-mounted radiators.

They are effective enough in a modern house with high insulation, very low air leakage and underfloor heating, but not appropriate for retrofitting to a building designed for a traditional heating system.

This government's "green" agenda is going to make a lot of people a lot poorer and a lot colder!

I installed a log burner about 5 or 6 years ago. I can't remember what I spent, but it wasn't a lot and I had it all sorted over a weekend. I even got the building control officer out to sign it off. I scavenge wood from highway verges (always keep a chainsaw on the car if it's been windy), so my fuel source is virtually free.
It warms me up once when I gather it and again when I cut and split it, so by the time it goes in the fire, it's warmed me three times for free.  :)
 

Fjell

Member
I costed ground source for my house (using 1-2 wells) and various mods and I came to about ?70k. So even with a chunk from the government it was decades of fuel cost.

Air source is just a joke up here, and if you have ever had proper aircon with big external compressors (ie the same kit in reverse) are going to be very wary about what that is going to be like for noise and reliability etc.
 

tamarmole

Member
As a skint student in Dundee back in the 80s one particularly cold winter we went through the flat inventory; anything that wasn't listed and was made of wood went into the fire.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
Forgot to add that heat pumps are really inefficient when cold. Hence ground source is fairly reliable (as the ground, like a cave, remains at a steady temperature), but requires either a lot of space, of costly borehole.
Air source is much cheaper (still not cheap) and easier to install, but when the weather is cold (and you want it most) it's much less effective

Fine for keeping the chill off your swimming pool in summer, but not for keeping your house warm in winter...
 

kay

Active member
PeteHall said:
I installed a log burner about 5 or 6 years ago. I can't remember what I spent, but it wasn't a lot and I had it all sorted over a weekend. I even got the building control officer out to sign it off. I scavenge wood from highway verges (always keep a chainsaw on the car if it's been windy), so my fuel source is virtually free.
It warms me up once when I gather it and again when I cut and split it, so by the time it goes in the fire, it's warmed me three times for free.  :)

There's a lot of talk about banning woodburners because of the pollution. Are you confident that you'll continue to be able to use it in the future?
 

PeteHall

Moderator
kay said:
There's a lot of talk about banning woodburners because of the pollution. Are you confident that you'll continue to be able to use it in the future?
I'm pretty sure they won't ban them, as they provide vital heating in many remote areas that experience more frequent power cuts. A ban would be catastrophic in these areas, where we have recently seen long power cuts during the coldest part of the year.

They are also very popular in less remote, rural areas, which provide the majority of the Tory voter base.

I'd not be surprised if they were banned in cities and towns, but I think an outright ban is unlikely.
 

Loki

Member
I?ve looked at my bill and a couple of appliances and now I am really wondering where my electric is going and how on earth some people get bills so much higher than mine. It appears I spend about 1.50 an month boiling water for brews based on the label. I?m now wondering about the washing machine as it?s a cold feed. We only ever use it at 30deg. Going to buy one of those power measuring plugs.
 

topcat

Member
I'm wondering if I really need a freezer.......reckon I could work around not having one, but would miss the peas......but frozen peas are not enough reason to run a freezer ,24/7 !
 
for all
balance your radiators
fit smart TRV's (dont heat a room your not using / in)
if your boiler is a condensing one turn the ch loop water temp down as the lower the temp the better the return on condensate is.
 

ChrisJC

Active member
Reduce draughts and increase insulation.

There is no point in heating the outdoors.

And I mean properly reduce drafts. Don't assume that double glazed windows are draught free. Nor doors with seals!

When I decorated my house, I added a layer of plasterboard with a polystyrene backing on the north and east facing walls.

Lots of loft insulation.

Also, get those mains adaptors with a watt-meter in them. Find out where your electricity is going. You might be surprised!

Although I despise direct action, Insulate Britain are the only bunch who recognise the sort of radical steps that are required.

Chris.
 

Fjell

Member
Houses also need to be dry. And most older houses rely on some air circulation to achieve that. Modern houses often use a mini HVAC with heat exchanger and fan to reduce losses, but it is still required.

Solid stone walls are very problematic if you box them in. I am going to replaster with lime in a few rooms, and I am repointing the house with traditional lime to keep the walls drier. Once you have done the roof and windows, there is little else to be done.

Some friends of mine got sold on cavity wall insulation that was blown in. It has destroyed their house as it acted as a bridge in the brick cavity and the inside skin is now wet. It can?t dry out properly. They are screwed unless they start taking down the wall to get it out. You won?t be surprised to hear the company concerned has ceased trading.
 

tomferry

Active member
Open the coal fields back up  (y) I read a book the under gasification of coal I still think it?s the best way forward keep all our money in England .

Easiest option by far is to work more hours
 
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