Wednesday 26 November 2014

Keeping the heating bills down: Sinead Ryan's top tips

Published 28/01/2014 | 08:48

WE’VE been lucky so far this winter with mild weather (storms aside), but it might not last.

Now is the time to think about heating, insulation and keeping your home warm; don't leave it until the boiler goes kaput.

1. Insulating the attic alone can save 20pc on energy bills. A lagging jacket pays for itself within three months. I changed mine last year and the difference has been huge – my hot water lasts much longer.

Even more effective is factory-applied insulation as it can't be pulled out of place and won't need replacing.

We are getting better at energy saving, not least because of tighter building regulations.

A home built today will have heating fuel usage of less than one fifth of an equivalent 1970s home.

2. Apart from regular boiler servicing (saving up to €150 on annual costs) there are other things you can do to cut down on your heating bill and most people don't know that there are grants available to help with insulation and equipment replacement.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) provides them and there are

two types:

WARMER HOMES SCHEME Available to home owners whose houses were built before 2006, and who are in receipt of either Fuel

Allowance/Family Income support or who are on Job-Seekers Allowance for over six months with children under seven.

The grant fully pays for certain works like attic insulation and lagging jackets. There is a waiting list of about nine

months at present, so apply sooner rather than later. The grant is not payable to those living in local authority housing. Contact 1800 250 204 or email Warmerhomes@seai.ie

BETTER ENERGY HOME SCHEME

This scheme is open to everybody (i.e it's not means tested) and covers works such as wall and attic insulation, boiler upgrades and solar panel installation. Well over half a million upgrades have been carried out to date, the most common being roof insulation.

There are criteria about what type of materials/boiler you must get, and the grant won't cover the whole cost, but it goes some way toward mitigating it (see table).

You must apply online or by post and you will get an answer within 20 days. To be eligible you must follow these rules:

- Your house must have been built prior to 2006.

- The grant approval from the SEAI must be in place before you start any work

- You must use one of  the registered contractors listed by SEAI and approved materials

- You cannot have applied for any other grant for the work

- The minimum grant application is €400. Contact 1850 927 000 or www.seai.ie for details.

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