Summer energy saving tips for your parents
There will forever be tips out there for saving energy in the winter months, but did you know there are steps you can take to prevent your parent's energy bill soaring in the summer?
Whether your parents are turning up the air conditioning, using more water to run showers or using more electricity to power a fan that keeps them cool indoors, there’s one result that is guaranteed… and that’s the cost.
According to a recent study, customers of the Big Six energy companies are paying £4 billion more than they should be because they remain on higher tariffs. But for older people, with a limited budget and little knowledge of which energy providers offer the best value for money, the cost of heating needs to be controlled.
What temperature is considered safe for an older person?
There are many risks associated with warmer temperatures, as they put people in danger of exhaustion, heat stroke and other severe health problems caused by hot environments. Older people are at higher risk of developing these health-related illnesses because their bodies’ ability to respond to summer heat can become less effective with advancing years.
Fortunately, the summer can remain safe and enjoyable for those who use good, sound judgment. As the temperature starts to rise, it makes sense to turn the thermostat down a notch and let the sun fill a home with natural light and warmth. A safe household temperature is considered to be at least 18°C, so it’s a good idea to check it regularly. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, it might be time to turn it up again.
If this might be difficult you can control of your parent’s heating by installing an A-rated boiler with a full set of heating controls. The radiators will heat up until the room reaches the temperature you have set, and then off until the temperature drops. This will allow you to keep their home at a comfortable temperature without wasting energy or heat.
Consider heatwave friendly alternatives
The terms “insulation” and “cavity walls” are thrown around during the winter time with the promise of keeping heat in and cold air out. But a well-insulated home is a sound investment all year round with the circulation of cool air indoors and warm air outside the house.
While it can be expensive to install insulation, your relative may qualify for a home insulation and heating grant. If your parents have found themselves struggling with the costs of the summer, then they too could be eligible.
Go solar for summer
There are lots of ways to make the most of the sunshine - building an extension or greenhouse and spending more time gardening. But for the older generation, with less energy or the support needed for manual labour, this may not be an option for them.
A way to generate your own (free) energy is through solar panels. Sunlight is free, so once the initial installation has been paid for, electricity running costs will be reduced and your parents will benefit from year round warmth. How viable this is and how long it takes to recover costs depends on factors such as initial investment and how much sunlight is available.
Let the sunlight inside
One thing you can rely on to keep your relatives warm and cosy in their homes is sunlight, and with the 16 long hours of sunlight the summer season brings, don’t let this go to waste.
The rays coming through their windows will heat the home naturally and reduce the amount of time their boiler will need to be left on. Suggest to your parents that they keep their curtains open for as many hours as possible to fill their room with brightness and to direct sunlight into their homes.
Switch off the lights
Most incandescent lights convert 90% of the electricity they consume into heat, and only 10% into light. Instead, recommend your parents swap their current bulbs for an energy-efficient alternative, such as compact fluorescent bulbs which use less energy while emitting a brighter light. They also have a longer lifespan and therefore need to be replaced less often, in turn saving them money and you the worry of them getting up that ladder again!
If the right precautions are taken and we follow the above steps to support our parents when they need us, then Britain’s elders can enjoy the summer sun while saving money on their energy bills.
This article was provided by www.chil.uk.com, the affordable warmth and energy efficiency scheme based in Lancashire, UK. Visit the company’s website to see if they can benefit from the Cosy Homes Lancashire affordable warmth initiative.
Published in May 2016.
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