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Households in England and Wales are urged to check on vulnerable neighbours and relatives following cold festive season

Following the cold festive period, households in England and Wales are being reminded to regularly visit vulnerable relatives, neighbours and friends to check they are keeping warm and well.

The warning comes after 50,100 excess winter deaths were recorded in England and Wales  during 2017/18*.

Those living in rural parts of England and Wales are more likely to struggle to keep warm during the winter season because their houses tend to be older and less well insulated, making them harder to heat effectively.

People living within these households are often at greater risk of developing health problems, such as respiratory conditions, which are made worse by cold temperatures. 

In response OFTEC, which represents the oil heating industry, is encouraging people to regularly check on older relatives and friends to ensure they are taking care of themselves over the colder months.

OFTEC has shared five top tips on things to look out for which could potentially save a life, as part of a free 'Keeping warm this winter’ guide. 

  1. Ensure main rooms are heated to at least 21C with other commonly used rooms kept to at least 18C

  2. Make sure the heating comes on at the correct time and radiators are turned off in unused rooms. You may also want to adjust the heating timers to match the weather conditions

  3. Check that nothing is blocking radiators as this reduces effectiveness

  4. If you use heating oil make sure there is plenty of oil in the tank. If it needs topping up, use a firm which is a member of the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers

  5. Check the boiler has recently been serviced by an OFTEC (for oil or solid fuel) or GasSafe (for mains gas) registered technician who has checked it is working correctly and efficiently. If it does breakdown over winter, visit www.oftec.org.uk to find the nearest local registered technician


Malcolm Farrow from OFTEC, commented: "This time of year can be a real struggle for many people, especially following the expensive festive period.  As a result, some households resort to turning down their heating in an effort to save money.

"However, this puts people at greater risk of developing health complications, especially if they are older and more vulnerable. This is reflected in the large number of excess winter deaths seen in England and Wales over recent years.

"With a high number of older and vulnerable people living in rural areas , it is more important than ever that we look out for our relatives, friends and neighbours to check they are keeping warm and their heating system is working correctly. This could be a regular visit or phone call to make sure they are ok."

More information and advice can be found at www.oftec.org and the 'Keeping warm this winter guide can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/KeepingWarmThisWinter. 



*Excess Winter Mortality Data, ONS November 2018

7 reasons an annual boiler service is a good idea.

Is there any point? Is it necessary? Is it worth the money? These are all common questions people ask themselves when considering getting a boiler service.  Getting your boiler serviced is just one of those chores that people often put off or neglect and as a result, your boiler doesn’t get the attention it needs. But your boiler shouldn’t get overlooked and here are 7 reasons why.

1.    Save money on your energy bills.

Part of a boiler service will include checking the boiler is running efficiently, which, in turn, can save you money over time.

Naturally, the model and age of a boiler are factors in its energy efficiency. However, maintaining a healthy boiler system, you are putting your boiler under less stress and so are using less energy to run, which reduces fuel costs.

2.    You can catch your boiler problems early.

The adage, prevention is better, and cheaper, than cure can be applied to your boiler. Your boiler is in constant use all year round, not just in the winter. It is your boiler that allows you to have those nice warm showers. However, most people only notice a problem with their boiler in the winter when they are using it more frequently. By this time, the problem has often escalated to a more severe, and thus, more expensive problem.

3.    A service is cheaper than replacing a boiler.

A service probably costs less than you think. At Abbey Boilers a service costs as little as £65.45, whereas a new boiler can run into the thousands. A boiler service is intended to keep your boiler running properly and to pick up on any minor issues. They ensure these small problems are picked up quickly before they grow into problems big enough to require a new boiler.

A well-maintained boiler should last longer than one that is not regularly services, so you are limiting the risk of prematurely needing a new boiler.

4.    You can rest easy knowing your boiler is safe.

Getting a boiler service means checking your boiler is running safely. Around 4,000 people go to A&E for Carbon Monoxide poisoning every year because of leaking boilers. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is so dangerous because the symptoms are like those of common illness, including dizziness, headaches, and fatigue, so It can be hard to distinguish between the two.

Having your boiler serviced means you can relax knowing you and your family are safe from harmful fumes.

5.    Keeping your warranty valid.

Most boilers only remain under their warranty if they are serviced annually. Most warranties and maintenance agreements require your boiler to be serviced every year for the above reasons. Failure to do so can result in your warranty being negated. This means that if your boiler does break down you won’t be covered, costing you a lot more money.

6.    It can cut your carbon footprint.

Just like getting your boiler serviced can save you money, it can also help reduce your carbon footprint. Depending on its age, a serviced boiler will run at its optimum energy efficiency because it isn’t overcompensating for any problems the boiler may have. When a boiler is running at its peak efficiency it means it requires less energy, thus less fuel, saving both the planet and your bank balance.

7.    For landlords and businesses, it is compulsory.

Every tenanted property and business must receive a gas safety certificate that needs to be renewed every year. The only way to receive the certificate is to have all the gas appliances on the property serviced properly by a gas safe engineer. This includes boilers but also other gas appliances such as gas stoves and fires. Abbey boilers offer Gas safety checks from just £65.45.

Has your boiler been serviced in the last 12 months?

Abbey boilers services Oil, Gas and LPG boilers and AGA cookers. Click here to see our other services.

To get in contact please click here.