In the United Kingdom this time last year heating oil prices soared as very cold weather set in. Overall the price increase suffered was more than 70% in some cases. Almost all the homes that use fuel oil are off the gas grid network, and for these homes fuel oil is a cheaper heating alternative than electricity. It offers the same flexibility of heat as gas but much more expensive per unit of heat.
Since 2008 fuel oil prices have doubled, and this fact is often overlooked when the news comments on the rising price of energy. For people dependent on fuel oil the increased prices are a greater hardship than those dependent upon gas, because the price increases have been higher. This usually means that higher oil prices affect those who live in rural communities far more than those who, live in large cities. They suffer a double body blow because their transport costs are higher and they drive longer distances as well as their home heating costs being higher.
This winter the Met Office is predicting a winter as cold as last years, so users of fuel oil will almost inevitably have to pay more than the current price of 59p per litre if cold weather sets in and demand increases.
For those using fuel oil I offer five simple tips
1. keep your boiler serviced regularly
2. Ensure your hot water cylinder is in good order and well insulated. If it is old, replace it
3. If you can turn your thermostat down a degree or two
4. Get a solar water heating system
5. Make sure your home is well insulated
About two thirds of a home’s oil is consumed from October to March. There is no doubt that those homes would benefit from solar water heating – it should lead to a saving of about a third of their fuel bill, and in suitable cases might well find that a solar thermal space heating support system would also help save money. There are grants available from the Renewable Heat Incentive and signing up now ensures you regular financial support over the next twenty years as an incentive to install a solar system. You can also get, if you hurry, a one off grant of £300.
Although a solar system will not enable you to be entirely energy independent (unless you spend a great deal of money) it will provide you with significantly lower fuel oil bills, and will be a very worthwhile investment.
As you may expect I would hope that you choose a Genersys system, but whatever you do if you depend on fuel oil I strongly advise that you look into solar heating sooner rather than later.
Filed under: climate change, electricity, fuel, fuel poverty, genersys, oil, renewables, solar, solar energy, solar panels Tagged: | fuel oil costs, fuel oil trends, reducing fuel oil bills, solar water heating