‘Keep warm this winter’ warning made in a bid to prevent deaths
HOUSEHOLDS are urged not to turn down their heating over the winter period to save money.
OFTEC, the trade body for oil heating, has advised people struggling to pay fuel bills how to save money without turning down the thermostat as government statistics show there are now 4.5 million people unable to afford their heating costs.
Statistics show a large number of those in fuel poverty live in rural parts of the county and are typically older people living in poorly insulated houses.
This group is most at risk from the health consequences of living in a cold home, including breathing and heart complications.
In 2013/2104 there were 200 excess winter deaths in Buckinghamshire – the highest number of people dying from the cold in the area in 15 years.
Advice includes keeping the temperature of your main room at least 21°C, checking your heating timers and turning off radiators in rooms you are not using, ensuring nothing is blocking your radiators such as furniture and, for oil households, checking you have enough oil in your tank.
OFTEC is also reminding households of the importance of having their boiler serviced by a registered technician to ensure everything is working correctly and efficiently.
Malcolm Farrow, from OFTEC, said: “Households across Buckinghamshire will be welcoming in the New Year next week, but it is important to remember that, for some people, this festive period is a very difficult time of the year.
"Many homeowners will be tempted to turn down their heating to save money, but this can have serious health implications as the 43,900 winter deaths in 2013/14 demonstrates.
“Whilst the 16,000 oil households in Buckinghamshire are benefiting from the lowest heating oil prices in six years, there are still too many people struggling with their fuel costs, particularly those on LPG and electricity who still face very high energy bills.
“In response, we have produced a free ‘Keeping Warm This Winter’ booklet giving advice to households on preparing for the cold weather and I would urge people to follow the simple steps we have outlined to keep warm and healthy over the New Year.”
The ‘Keeping Warm This Winter’ booklet can be downloaded for free at www.oilsave.org.uk.