News from our Village Agent – November 2019

It’s getting colder!   Now is a good time to think about your heating and insulation. 

SMART meter roll out continues.  The meters ensure that your bill is correct every month and not estimated.  Smart meters tell you when your energy usage is high.  They will save you money if you can turn off the high usage appliances but please don’t turn off your heating and risk illness to save on the bills.  Free room thermometers are available which tell you what temperature a room should be and how yours compares. Call : 0117 934 1400 or look  in local information places such as libraries and CAB. Those on income based benefits can apply to their electricity or gas supplier for a warmer homes discount. If you find yourself getting into debt, always talk to your utilities company who may be able to support you.  Contact Wiser Money 01823 461099 enquiries@wisermoney.org.uk  or Christians against Poverty https://capuk.org/ 01274 760720 for advice and support (This can vary depending on you postcode) and check money saving expert for good deals.

Open fires and wood burners need to be cleaned regularly. The National Fire Protection Association says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents should be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Chimney Cleaning / Chimney Inspection Should Be Done Annually.

Also check that your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms (for oil fired heating and open fires and wood burners) are working.  Consider a home safety check from Devon and Somerset fire service https://www.dsfire.gov.uk.  Call Freephone 0800 05 02 999 Who are focussing heavily on fire prevention alongside the proposed service cuts (don’t forget to sign the petition!).

Age UK are offering  free  practical advice about keeping warm and other information about how to insulate well and manage your heating costs for those over 65.  Call: 01422 252 040 / 01484 535 994.

Cavity wall and loft insulation can really help and it is worth checking with your provider to see if there are any offers available  Eon, EDF and NPower are mentioned by Martin Lewis https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/free-cavity-loft-insulation   Remember to be wary of sharing information with telemarketers and always research their offer independently and don’t agree to anything on the phone!

Heating oil costs can be managed by using an oil buying scheme such as the one provided by ourselves https://somersetrcc.org.uk/oil   01823331222 or using an online comparison tool such as boiler juice https://www.boilerjuice.com

Winter tip 1: Drying clothes on a radiator can cause the damp to circulate around the house until it finds a cold patch where it will turn to mould.  Try to keep the doors closed and windows open in the room that you use to dry.  A bowl of salt can be used to catch the humidity or hanging wardrobe dehumidifiers can be purchased cheaply from discount stores. See Centre for sustainable energy 0117 934 1400 https://www.cse.org.uk/advice

Winter tip 2: If you are in the house throughout the day, you may consider volunteering and joining social groups so that you are not having to heat the house so much and this will also make the evenings less isolating.

Winter tip 3: Don’t forget to check your drains and gutters for the build -up of debris which can cause blockages and splits when the water starts to freeze.  Local window cleaners often offer this service if you are unable to check yourself.

Health Tip!! – most of us think it is important to drink more in the warmer weather to avoid dehydration but did you know that the same can apply in wintertime too?  Turning on the heat can also lead to dehydration especially as we get older so make sure you are regularly drinking even in the colder weather.   Keeping adequately hydrated is especially important in helping to keep infections such as urine infections at bay and taking simple steps such as drinking enough water can help us stay healthier.  If you have any concerns about your fluid intake then please contact your GP.

CCS Agents are on hand to support you this winter – to find out more about  our work, go to our brand new website www.somersetagents.org – we help when other don’t, won’t or can’t!  For Carers specifically go to www.somersetcarers.org

It’s coming up to Christmas!  Every year CCS Agents collate as many local activities as we can, and publish them in a Somerset wide directory. If you are running a Christmas / New Year event get in touch and we will add it to our Christmas listings to be published late November for free!