Archive for the ‘News’ Category

8 Common Boiler & Radiator Problems

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Common Boiler Problems

8 Common Boiler & Radiator Problems

The good news is the worst of winter has now passed, for a year at least! As Spring arrives, we have got through the hardest parts, even though our heating systems and purse strings may have been challenged as a result of the cold weather.

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Household Tips: How To Keep Your Drains Unblocked

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

drain

Household Tips: How To Keep Your Drains Unblocked

A blocked drain is one of the most frequent problems for households in Britain, and whilst it is possible to unblock a drain its important to also focus on the preventative measures that you can implement in your home to stop the blocking occurring in the first place.

The Worst Clogging Culprits

There are four main reasons for drain blockages and those tend to be: hair, cooking grease, coffee grounds and soap scum.

By making slight changes to your daily routine you can ensure that these culprits don’t create problems for your drain. Using an old container to store cooking grease rather than pouring it down the drain can help, once the container is full you merely throw it in the bin. The same can be said for coffee grounds, rather than rinsing them down the sink try to put them straight into the rubbish bin.

As for hair and soap scum, think about investing in a drain-grate or screen to protect the drains opening. They are inexpensive and help to minimise the chances of soap scum and hair clogging up your drain.

Regular Cleaning

Regularly cleaning your drains and pipes is an excellent way of preventing drain blockages, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are several ‘home’ remedies that can be implemented and don’t involve you going out and buying the latest cleaning products.

Running hot water through the drain regularly can always help. as it keeps the oils in food running down the drain. This prevents build up on the inside of the pipes. Such build up can slow drains down and lead to blockages so it is definitely worth remembering to keep the hot water running.

For a more extensive clean, try throwing some baking soda down the drain then following with some hot water. Baking soda is a known cleaning agent and as a bonus it also absorbs any foul odours.

A deeper clean still can be offered using by vinegar. Simply pour vinegar down your drain, leave it to sit for at least half an hour, then pour very hot water down the drain to wash it out. Vinegar is a cleaning agent that contains acetic acid and therefore can be incredibly useful in removing the build up of waste in the pipes.

Tougher Constant Problems

Some drains may be more prone to clogging than others, this is especially dependant on type of use and frequency of use.

For regular clogging problems there is another home based solution that could be worth a try that works on drains in bathtubs, showers and sinks. It is best to try this solution before going to bed because then it has a chance to sit overnight. Firstly, pour equal measures of salt and baking soda into the drain. Next add vinegar and let the mixture foam for at least one minute. Then pour down a substantial amount of boiling water and leave overnight. By the morning the drain should be substantially quicker in its use.

For those of you that have sinks with garbage disposals there are many tips and tricks that you can use to prevent blocking and keep your drain running easily. One home remedy you can utilise involves filling an ice cube tray with a mixture of vinegar and water. It is important to add water to the mix as vinegar doesn’t freeze very well on its own. Once these are frozen, turn on your garbage disposal and throw in the ice cubes. This works well because the ice scrapes the grease off of the walls and the vinegars acidity works to clean it.

For a clean fresh scent, follow each of these methods with lemon juice, or with the garbage disposal a slice of lemon. It will freshen up your kitchen and make it smell fantastic!

For more information on blocked drains and how to combat the problem of poor drainage, visit our Drains page or call Home Cure on 0800 002 9991.

Common Radiator Problems

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

radiator

Common Radiator Problems

Now that winter is subsiding, it is an ideal time to assess the performance of your heating system and your radiators over the past year. This has been a challenging winter that has caused energy consumption to rise, and many people relied heavily on good heating production. If you have radiators in your home, or in your business property, this is the time to address the issues that cropped up in the colder months so that next year, you are off to a good start.

Here are common problems that UK residents face with their radiators every year:

Inefficient and Unproductive – There are a number of causes for this problem but the most common is not the heating system itself, but rather sludge build-up within the system pipes. Sludge is really iron-oxide that has the appearance of black sludge. Iron oxide accumulates when the heating sys, as you don’t want this build-up sitting over the summer.

No Hot Water Circulating – When you system fails to produce hot water that circulates through your radiators, there can be a handful of potential system failures.

The most common are:

  • Failure of moisturised valves
  • Broken diaphragms
  • Broken airlocks
  • Broken thermostat
  • Low water levels in system

You can either try to ascertain the cause of the failure by yourself or hire a qualified heating engineer to ensure your system is functional and consistent.

Leaking & Draining – This is another common radiator headache that is actually one of the easier to fix. Before you get in over your head, try to find the source of the leak. If it seems to be from the boiler, calling an engineer is the safest practice.

Radiator Banging Or Whistling – If your radiator is doing more whistling and banging than actual heating, there is a clearly an issue! Usually, the cause of whistling, banging or gurgling noises is air in the system. The air is disrupting the flow of the water. Another possible cause for the sounds is that the system’s water pressure is too low to provide consistent flow.

Cold Pipes – If the pipes are cold and it appears the heating system is not functioning, one of the first places to check is the system pilot light. Sometimes, a draught can blow the pilot light out or if there is disruption of service, you may need to restart the pilot light manually. Make sure you know how to do this safely before proceeding, and if in any doubt, call a Home Cure engineer for assistance.

Lost Pressure – When water is not flowing through the radiator, this can be caused by a water leak in the system. The leak will cause the system to lose pressure and should be detected and repaired as soon as possible. Another cause for this could be a leaky or malfunctioning valve.

Thermostat Problems – Is you thermostat producing consistent results? The household thermostat should be checked and tested every year. The wiring can erode, the connection can be disturbed and this will cause inconsistent heat from the boiler.

The Boiler Shuts Itself Off – The thermostat is working and you need heat but your boiler keeps shutting down seemingly with a mind of its own. This is a frustrating phenomenon that always seems to happen when you need heat the most. The most common cause of this problem is that a valve has closed and the water flow is irregular. It can also be a sign that the circulating pump is broken.

Your heating system will pose problems unless it is maintained regularly. At the same time, the work you do this year to correct last year’s deficiencies will yield dividends in the next cold period.

If you are having constant issues with your radiators or boiler, get in touch with Home Cure by calling 02035 049999. We offer a number of key services, including Plumbing, Heating, Gas and Drains, as well as 24 Hour Emergency Response.

You can also contact us by filling in our web form on the right.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (+ Detection)

Monday, March 24th, 2014

carbon monoxide

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (+ Detection)

Carbon monoxide poisoning is the result of exposure to excessive amounts of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a disease that is perpetuated by the invasive, yet odourless, colourless and tasteless gas. Extreme exposure to carbon monoxide will cause illness and in some cases fatality.

Because of its odourless and colourless nature, the presence of carbon monoxide can be difficult to ascertain. However, the dangerous gas is present but controlled in most residences and businesses in the UK. People who inhale carbon monoxide will have difficulty inhaling oxygen. A lack of oxygen leads to serious tissue damage.

The greatest single preventive tool used to determine the presence of this subtle but dangerous gas is the CO alarm, a staple for most businesses, public buildings and homes in the UK. In the event carbon monoxide is present a premises, individuals should vacate immediately. If possible, open a door or window on the way out. Take you cellphone and call for assistance. You may need medical care, even if you do not realise it.

Risk Factors

Carbon monoxide exposure is extremely dangerous in the following situations:

Unborn Children – Pregnant women should avoid carbon monoxide at all costs. Foetal cells tend to absorb carbon monoxide more aggressively than the adult body. A slight amount of exposure to the mother can cause carbon monoxide poisoning for the unborn child.

Children – Because young children tend to take rapid, short breaths compared to an adult, a small amount of the dangerous gas can be inhaled much quicker than with an adult.

Senior Citizens –Seniors are prone to struggle with breathing and can inhale the gas to the exclusion of oxygen. The inhalation of carbon monoxide by seniors can lead to brain damage.

Signs and Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The following symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are identified by WebMd.

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

Persons experiencing this symptoms should seek vacate the environment and seek immediate medical care.

Unfortunately, people who are sleeping or who are intoxicated are at high risk when carbon monoxide is present in their surrounds. These fumes inhaled over time can be fatal. This explains why CO alarms are installed in most UK residences. You may be asleep but the CO alarm will wake you if the dangerous gas is in the air.

Why Carbon Monoxide Is In The Home

Carbon monoxide is present in any devices that generate combustion fumes. Petroleum burners and gas burners are prone to emit limited amounts of carbon monoxide. Appliances like gas stoves and refrigerators have the capability of leaking carbon monoxide.
The fumes are especially dangerous when confined to an enclosed area. Good ventilation can help to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Being aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide and the conditions that make the gas highly dangerous is an important step in prevention. Learn what appliances emit CO gas and have them checked regularly. Make sure these appliances are functioning properly. If you suspect something is awry, contact a repairman immediately.

Being able to recognise the signs and symptoms of this odourless, tasteless gas is another way to be aware of the danger.

The heating systems, all boilers and cookers should also be serviced regularly and tested for efficiency. Only use reputable and registered technicians to check these sources of carbon monoxide emissions.

If technicians are working on gas installations and appliances are sure they are Gas Safe Registered. Technicians for solid fuel appliances should belong to the UK’s Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme.

Never attempt to install gas appliances yourself.

Check room and household ventilation systems. If inadequate, install more aggressive ventilation.

If the home features double glazed or draught proofed windows, make sure there is adequate ventilation and circulation to support the heating system.

Do not block air vents with furniture.

Never start or run the car in a closed garage. Open the garage door before starting.

At least once a year, check your flues. They should be swept clean annually by a qualified chimney sweep who belongs to the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) or to the Guild of Master Sweeps (GMS) or the Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps (APICS).

Never use gas-powered equipment or gas powered tools in the house or in a closed garage. Wherever you use this equipment, make sure there is sufficient ventilation.

Do not burn charcoal in an indoor barbecue pit.

Never sleep in a room that has a non-chimney gas burner or fireplace.

If your kitchen does not have a gas extractor, install one.

Be sure to install a CO alarm and check the batteries regularly. These alarms emit a high-pitched noise when carbon monoxide is present in the air.

With carbon monoxide, it is best to err on the side of caution.

For more information on Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and its prevention contact us on 0800 002 9991

20 Biggest Electrician Fails

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

20 Biggest Electrician Fails

Below is a compilation of some of the reasons you should never try to fix something on your own, or hire someone who isn’t 100% qualified! This is our list of the top 20 electrician failures that we’ve found on the internet.

1. Don’t tie yourself in knots..

electrician fail knots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Two is better than one

light switch fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. I’m not entirely certain that’s safe

electrician pool swim fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. No, I’m certain that’s not safe!

pool electricity failure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Do we call an electrician or a plumber here?

electrician fail plumber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Let’s hope this is a temporary solution

hilarious electricity fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. That’s one way to ground something I suppose

grounding weird electrician

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. What’s Christmas without possible electrocution?

christmas lighting fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. We’ve all thought about doing it

laptop fail crazy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Perhaps not the best placement…

crazy electrician fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Another peculiar grounding method

electrician grounding twig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. What a tangled mess!

crazy tangle fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.  A complex solution to a simple problem

coffee electricity error

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 14. Well that’s another perspective on spotlight lighting…

lights electrician funny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. Another swimming mistake

swimming electric fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16. One plug clearly wasn’t enough

electrician error crazy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17. A new way to recycle perhaps?

lights recycle electrician

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. No chance am I getting in there. Thanks, swimmers.

maintenance idiot fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. I just don’t understand the logic behind this

plug fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20. The walls destroyed, but hey at least we have cable!

cable wall electrician weird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For help from electricians that do know what they’re doing, give us a call on 0800 002 9991

What Is Powerflushing?

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

What Is Powerflushing?

Powerflushing is a cleansing process designed to rid the central heating system of sludge, rust and corrosive inefficiencies that accumulate over time in most heating systems. In addition to increasing the efficiency of the heating system, the powerflush also serves to protect the main heating plant. Powerflushing should only be administered by a knowledgeable and experienced central heating expert.

Powerflushing is a proven solution for uneven heat distribution and for remedying the inefficiencies of the central heating system. Many homeowners are unaware that the heat circulation in their home is clogged. Powerflushing is the best way to ensure that the system is circulating properly and not adding pressure to the heating unit.

Powerflushing is also recommended when new systems are being installed. A new boiler replacing an older boiler is only as effective and efficient as the circulation of the existing piping. Powerflushing is a safe, relatively inexpensive process that will add warmth to the home and reduce energy expenditures at the same time.

Warning Signs That Powerflushing is Needed

There are several symptoms that indicate it is time to powerflush your central heating system.

Cold radiators – Are some radiators warm while others are cold? The reason for this is rust and sludge that has accumulated in pipes and is preventing heat from circulating to all radiators in the home.

Excessive Noise – Can you hear you boiler overworking? Do you hear air trying to fight through the sludge and rust in pipes? If your central heating system is making unusual noises, the chances are a powerflush is in order.

Discoloured Water – When you bleed your radiators and pipes are you finding the water is discoloured? That is a clear warning sign that the system is in jeopardy and in need of powerflushing. In extreme cases, you might notice that tap water is cloudy.

How Powerflushing Works

You can improve the circulation in your heating system by cleaning the pipes. You will most likely enjoy other benefits such as a quieter, more efficient operating system. Over the long-term, you will also notice that your energy expenses are decreasing.

Powerflushing is safe if administered by an experienced heating engineer likle Home Cure. The heating engineer will connect a high flow, low pressure pumping unit to the system. The most likely connection point is the circulation pump or the pump head, depending upon the system.

The engineer will add high strength cleaning chemical to the system. These include ingredients to break down sludge crust that inevitably builds on the pipes. A chemical to remove the sludge is also used along with a descaler to break down the limescale. After the initial flush, crust and rust inhibitors are added to the system.

The crust breakers and removers are acid-based cleansers. These will also rid the system of any sand that may have accumulated in the system. When the powerflush is complete, the acid will be washed thoroughly from the system.

Professional powerflushing takes can take a few hours. Most homeowners notice the difference immediately. Please feel free to get an estimate beforehand to find out about time frames and costs.

In the UK today, many residents are concerned about the cost and amount of energy used to heat their homes and businesses. Powerflushing is a great way to reduce energy expenditure, your carbon footprint and most importantly to improve the heat circulation in your home. By removing the sludge and corrosive elements from your central heating system, you are also prolonging the life of your heating plant. Replacing a boiler is one expense nobody wants to incur.

Powerflushing in London

For more information on our London based powerflushing and emergency plumbing services, please contact us today.

powerflushing

For Landlords: UK Gas Safety Regulations

Monday, February 17th, 2014

For Landlords: UK Gas Safety RegulationsFor Landlords: UK Gas Safety Regulations

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 (as amended) are the most important and most strictly regulated of all the landlord’s obligations. The landlord is responsible for all appliances which includes boilers, fires and cooking appliances. All of these must be tested to ensure that they do not emit toxic gases and that flues are in good condition. All tests must be carried out prior to tenancy and annually thereafter.

Am I A Landlord?

Under the domestic gas section of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1988 a landlord is ‘anyone who rents out a property that they own under a lease that is shorter than seven years or under a license.’

If your lease is for longer than seven years or is for life then you are not responsible for gas safety checks and maintenance.

However, if there is an implied tenancy agreement such as accommodation is provided due to your job then it is expected that you carry out duties for gas safety.

As a general rule, the landlord and agency are responsible for gas safety and maintenance checks under any circumstances, such as subletting or shared ownership. However it is important to read the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 (as amended) to ensure you are certain of your legal obligations.

What Are My Duties?

As a landlord you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. This involves checking all gas appliances and having them tested prior to tenancy and then annually thereafter. The gas appliances, fittings and flues should all be tested by a Gas Safe registered engineer and good practice dictates the demonstration of regular, annual maintenance checks and subsequent checks.

Other responsibilities involve ensuring an annual gas safety check is carried out within 12 months of the installation of a new appliance/flue (and annually thereafter) by a Gas Sage registered engineer. A record of these safety checks must be kept for up to two years and your tenants should be issued a copy within twenty eight days of the check being completed. Furthermore, any new tenants should be issued copies of past checks and safety regulations before they move in.

What Gas Appliances Are My Responsibility?

All gas appliance that have been bought and provided to the tenants by you are your responsibility. If the tenant has brought their own appliances you are responsible for any fittings and installation necessary, but not for the appliance itself. In regards to appliances owned by tenants there are certain measures that you can practice to ensure complete safety. Firstly you can send reminders to the tenants each year when their appliances are due a service by a Gas Safe engineer. Secondly, when you begin the tenancy you can advise your tenant on any flues or chimneys that are unsuitable for the installation of a gas appliance to discourage any accidents. Finally it is recommended to include all the flues that are connected to gas appliances within the landlord’s gas safety check that you will be providing your tenants with.

Do I Need To Use A Gas Safe Registered Engineer?

Only an engineer that is registered as Gas Safe should be used to complete gas work for maintenance and safety check on gas equipment that you own or provide for tenants use. It is advised that you check the registered engineer is competent to work in that specific area of gas.

It is important to note that the Gas Safe Register has no control over the amount an engineer charges to carry out any safety checks. To ensure you are being offered the best price, obtain three different quotes from separate engineers before hiring somebody.

You can check that an engineer is qualified to undertake a gas safety check in your area by asking to see their ID card, which all registered engineers are required to carry with them.

What Should I Do If I Smell Gas?

If you have any suspicions that there could be a breach in gas safety you must immediately call the National Grid’s Gas Emergency Freephone number (0800 111 999), open all the doors and windows to the house and shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve.

It is illegal to continue using a gas appliance if you believe there is a chance it could be unfit for use.

If you are experiencing problems with your boiler or just need some advice about gas safety, give Home Cure a call Freephone on 0800 002 9991. Check out our gas services here.

10 Tips To Prevent Blocked Kitchen Drains

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Preventing Blocked Drain

Preventing Blocked Kitchen Drains in Your Home

A clogged kitchen sink can inconvenience the entire family. Everything seems to come to halt when the kitchen sink is not working properly. Furthermore, to make matters worse, clogged kitchen sink can lead to expensive repairs that can be prevented with a few common-sense practices. The approach to proper kitchen sink maintenance should always be cautious and to focus on prevention, rather than repair.

1. Check Your Design – The first assessment of your kitchen sink should be the actual design of the sink and drain. All the caution in the world cannot overcome a poor design or poor installation. Make sure the level of the drainage pipe slope is 2 degrees or more. This angle will ensure that water entering the drain pipe flows out evenly and smoothly.

2. Check the Piping Materials – As important as the installation and angle of the drainage pipe is the composition of the pipe. Ideally, a high quality material that is not easily splintered or cracked is used. The material should also be corrosion resistant. If the material is PVC, make sure that it is thick, elastic and meets special drainage specs.

3. Check the Filters – Your drain should have high quality filters that encourage flow but protect against invasive materials. If you have the right drain filter, you never have to take leave the drain open to pour liquids down the system.

4. Run Water when Using the Disposal – If you have a kitchen disposal, never use the grinder without running water down the system before during and after disposing of waste. As a matter of safety, always put the lid on the drain when you turn the grinder on. Never stick your hand or fingers in the grinder!

5. Clean the Filter – Always clean the filter after washing dishes or using the sink.

6. Stop Using the Sink – If the drain stops flowing, stop using it immediately. As soon as the flow stops, turn the water off and clean the sink area. Put caustic soda powder down the drain. Always follow the safety instructions on the soda powder container.

7. Know the Telltale Warning Signs – There are several indicators that should serve as warning signs that your drain is partially clogged and needs servicing.

  • Drainage speed slows
  • Bubbles surface when water is poured down drain

If these symptoms arise, stop using the sink and wipe clean. Pour hot water down the drain with the hope that it will reduce or eliminate fats or leftover food particles in the system built up in the pipe.

8. Avoid Grease and/or Fat – Never pour grease or fat down the drain. Grease and fat are the most common causes of kitchen sink clogging. Make sure everyone in the house adheres to this policy. Keep a metal can near the sink where fat and grease can be deposited. Fat and grease will build up in the pipes and eventually prevent liquid from passing through.

9. No Hair Policy – Anther common cause of kitchen sink backup is hair that makes its way into the system and refuses to pass through. Insist that all household members be careful with washing hair in kitchen and other sinks in the house.

10. Trees and Leaves – After we have been cleaning up  or working on the garden, we wash our hands. Sometimes we find we have leavers or dirt on our clothing and instinctive dump it in the sink and try to wash it down the drain. Eventually, these things build up and the sink backs up.

In anticipation of a kitchen sink backup, be familiar with how to take the sink apart and have the proper tools around the house.

If you are experiencing problems with your kitchen or bathroom drains, give Home Cure a call Freephone on 0800 002 9991. Check out our plumbing services here.

Electrical safety

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Home Electrical safety

Electrical current in homes has enough power kill. Care should be taken with electrical appliances and repairs should only be carried out by professional electricians.

Take time to check your current fuse board and wiring is safe. Older fuse boards dated before 1960’s have little protection from electric shock, unlike the protection new 17th edition fuse boards will have.

Electricity is the motion of electrons moving through a conductor – this is electrical current. Material like metal is a conductor as it allows electrical current to travel through it. Electrical current must form a loop between the device and the power supply in order to work. If the path between electrical current is broken then electrical current can not exist.

People are often injured when an electrical current or circuit is broken as electricity will always try to find the easiest path back to the source and, because people are more conductive than earth, the current will try to flow through us to complete the loop if there is no other easy route.

This can cause either mild electric shock – possible muscle contractions and startling depending on the voltage of the source, thermal burns – from the heat generated, or even fatal electrocution – when the current travelling through the body affects signals between the brain and muscles, including the heart.

Always hire a licensed electrician for repairs. And follow these simple safety rules:

  • Never remove a plug from a power socket by pulling the cord; pull from the plug instead.
  • Switch off electrical items at the plug if not in regular use or when leaving the house, electrical items left plugged in are a fire risk as well as wasting energy if left on standby.
  • Do not use electrical items in the bathroom unless designed for use in there, e.g. Shavers and electric toothbrushes but still take care near water and avoid touching plugs with wet hands.
  • Do not use items with exposed wires or damaged cords. Check items regularly.
  • Similarly don’t use damaged sockets.
  • Always turn your electrics off at the mains when carrying out electrical repairs but only attempt if you know what you are doing.
  • Look for the BEAB seal of approval on electrical items when purchasing.
  • Do not use electrical equipment outside if it’s raining.
  • Use light bulbs with the correct wattage for all light fittings.
  • Check circuit breakers and fuses are the correct current rating for their circuit.

If your fuse board has a wooden back board, ceramic or cast iron switches, or a mixture of fuses then it is likely it dates to before the 1960s and will need replacing. A qualified electrician will be able to advise you on updating your fuses.

Fuel Poverty Heating or Eating

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Fuel Poverty – Heating or Eating?

Government figures show that over nine million homes could be in fuel poverty by 2016 if energy bills continue to rise.

Households in fuel poverty are those that spend more than 10% of their salary on heating the home, and with energy prices rocketing more properties will be pushed into choosing between heating or eating.

An estimated six million households are already in fuel poverty and plan to cut back on heating in the home because they fear of the costs.

Household income is just one of the measures of fuel poverty; energy efficiency is also a deciding factor as many homes who are not in the poorest fifth of homes were still noted to be struggling to heat their homes. Energy inefficiency is blamed on poor wall insulation or windows causing drafts, old inefficient boilers, even heat being lost behind radiators.

Derek Lickorish, chairman of the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, said: “Millions are living in misery due to high energy bills, yet time is running out for the Government to fuel-poverty-proof the homes of those on the lowest incomes.”

Improving energy efficiency is half way to tackling the problem. The more energy efficient your property the less energy you will need to heat your home.

Draft proofing your home for example could cost you around £200 but in the long term will enable you to make savings of around £60 per year as your home can then cope at lower temperatures. Just reducing your thermostat by 1 degree can lower your heating bill by 10%.

Fitting a programmable room thermostat or thermostatic radiator valves are other low cost solutions that will help you to save on heating. A professional plumber will be able to fit these for you and you will notice savings immediately.

Radiator reflectors, that send heat back into the room rather than out of walls, are inexpensive measures, while insulating pipes and water tanks are also simple, and easily carried out by a professional. A hot water cylinder jacket and pipe insulation will pay for themselves in next to no time and even reduce your carbon footprint.