The Covid-19 crisis has had a significant impact on our working habits, with 23.9 million Brits now working from home compared to 1.54 million people before the pandemic began*.
While homeworkers can save on average over £44 per week by cutting out commuting and buying lunch out, it is expected that working from home could lead to higher heating bills for many if not managed carefully*.
In response, OFTEC, which represents the liquid fuel heating industry, has shared some top tips on how homeworkers can reap the benefits of homeworking, while saving money on their heating. The advice includes:
- Make the most of the 'Working from home tax relief' Workers who have been asked to work from home by their employer can apply for up to £312 of tax relief per year to cover the cost of increased electricity use, heating, and other expenses. Details on how to apply can be accessed here.
- Book your boiler in for a service by an GasSafe (for mains gas) or OFTEC (for oil) registered technician before winter sets in. They will check everything is working correctly, identify any potential problems and improve efficiency. These technicians have been certified as fully competent so you can be sure all servicing will be completed safely and professionally. Oil tanks and pipework should also be checked during a liquid fuel service and OFTEC recommends that owners monitor their condition throughout the year.
- Adjust the timers on your heating controls to ensure the house warms up only when you need it to. The recommended minimum temperature for your main living area is 21Deg C. Also, remember to turn down individual radiators in rooms you are not using.
- Bleed your radiators to ensure they are working as efficiently as possible. This is when you let out any trapped air inside which can leave 'cold spots'. You can do this yourself by turning off the heating and using a radiator key.
- Ensure you have enough fuel in your tank to last through winter if you are one of the UK's oil heated households. If you are running low, place an order as soon as possible to avoid the rush and take advantage of the current low prices. We recommend using a member of the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) who will follow strict safety guidelines.
- Consider upgrading to a modern condensing boiler if yours is over 15 years old. This can reduce your fuel consumption and cut carbon emissions by up to 20%, helping you make significant savings. These models also tend to be smaller, quieter and can be easily adapted to run on a new, renewable liquid fuel alternative to heating oil once this becomes available.
Malcolm Farrow from OFTEC, said: "Working from home has reaped great benefits for many such as increased productivity and less commuting. However, it is important for homeworkers to consider the impact on their heating expenses which could rise sharply if not well managed, particularly during the winter months.
"Fortunately for the 1.5 million oil heated households in the UK, oil remains the cheapest major heating fuel on the market, over £240 cheaper per annum than mains gas, over £950 less than LPG and over £1,400 lower than electric storage heaters when comparing typical running costs for an average three bedroom house*
"This means that while OFTEC is working to develop a 100% renewable 'drop-in' replacement fuel, homeworkers in oil heated homes can have the peace of mind that comes with lower heating bills this winter."
Find out more about OFTECs 'Keep warm this winter' guidance and advice here.
*Working from home research (September 2020) https://www.finder.com/uk/working-from-home-statistics
*Sutherland Tables UK comparative space & water heating costs for a 3-bedroom house (October 2020)