Energy Efficiency

Energy saving top tips

Draughts: If you don’t have UPVC external doors, the Council won’t necessarily replace timber doors if they are in good condition. However if they are draughty, we can do something about it. Phone the Customer Service Centre on 01962 865405 and ask for draught excluder to be fitted. Open flues/chimneys can also be a source of draughts. If you have an open fireplace that you don’t use, you can request that the Council decommission it and block off the chimney.

Turn it off: Try to be aware of unnecessary lights left on, and appliances left plugged-in or on standby. Nearly all electrical and electronic appliances can safely be turned off at the plug without upsetting their systems – some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record – but check the instructions on any appliances you aren’t sure about.

A typical household could save between £45 and £80 a year just by remembering to turn off appliances left on standby.

Careful in the kitchen: You can save over £43 a year just by being careful how you use your kitchen appliances. The following tips can help you reach this saving:

  • Set your washing machine to wash at 30°C.
  • Using a bowl to wash up rather than leaving the hot tap running.
  • Don’t fill your kettle right up every time – just boil the amount of water you need.

Get a head: If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower) then you may be able to fit a water-efficient shower head and that could reduce your hot water usage whilst still maintaining the sensation of a powerful shower.

Some water companies are giving shower heads away for free, so maybe contact your water company to see if you could receive one. Through installing a water-efficient shower head, a family of four could save around £65 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £95 on water bills if they have a water meter.

Turn the heating down: turning down your room thermostat by just one degree if it’s too warm inside could save around £75 a year.

Hot Water: In most homes, the hot water is supplied by the main central heating boiler, either directly if it is a combi boiler, or from a hot water cylinder. Often there will be an electric immersion heater in the cylinder as well. Tip – use the boiler to heat the water, even in the summer. The immersion heater will be more expensive, and should only be used as an emergency back-up.

In some homes, particularly those with electric storage heaters, the water can only be heated by immersion heater. There may be two immersions, one in the top of the cylinder and one in the bottom. Usually the bottom heater comes on at night, and heats the whole cylinder using cheap off-peak electricity. The top heater is used to provide additional hot water during the day if required, using expensive peak rate electricity. Tip – DO NOT leave a peak rate immersion heater on all day and all night. You will waste a lot of money keeping water hot when you don’t need it

Loft insulation: Most of our properties already have a degree of loft insulation and the Council are undertaking to upgrade all properties to a depth of 250mm. If you have no insulation in your loft at all, please notify Customer Services so that we can make sure your home is included early in our upgrade programme.

Lighten your load: Have you changed all your light bulbs for low-energy ones? You can now get energy saving bulbs to meet most requirements. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings. If the average household replaced all their regular bulbs with energy saving bulbs it could save around £45 a year.

Cavity wall insulation: The Majority of WCC homes have long been fitted with cavity wall insulation where this is practically possible. Of course with some of our older buildings the construction makes this impossible.

Electricity: Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. Together with their accompanying in-home displays, smart meters will help you keep track of the energy you use in your home, and will cut out the need for meter readings. By providing information about your energy use, these devices can help you to make informed decisions to manage your energy costs. The government plans for every home and business in the UK to have a smart meter for electricity and gas by the end of 2020. Energy providers are responsible for arranging installations with customers to complete the roll-out. The installation of smart meters in homes and businesses has already begun as part of trials. The main smart meter roll out will begin in 2015 and will provide all customers with smart meters.

Free advice for Winchester City Council tenants and housing association tenants
Home Energy Advice Service offers free independent, expert advice on saving energy in your Council home

• Contact WCC housing staff to arrange a home visit on 01962 848 400 or email
Or contact the energy expert directly.
• Andy Smale 01962 217 844 or email

If you are homeowner or in privately rented accommodation, contact Hitting the Coldspots for help and impartial advice