Advice for Keeping Safe and Saving on Heating Bills as Storm Barra Takes Hold

Advice for Keeping Safe and Saving on Heating Bills as Storm Barra Takes Hold

Tuesday, December 07, 2021 By OFTEC Ireland

Advice for Keeping Safe and Saving on Heating Bills as Storm Barra Takes Hold

As Storm Barra sweeps across Ireland and with freezing wintery weather expected to continue, homeowners are urged to keep warm and prevent expensive home heating disasters in the run up to Christmas.

OFTEC Ireland, which represents the liquid fuel home heating industry, has issued an important safety reminder to ensure home heating systems are in good condition to battle the harsh winter weather.

The organisation’s household winter checklist on how to keep warm, stay safe and keep fuel bill lows during this chilly season, includes:

  • Keep your heating on constant – during cold weather it is often more efficient and comfortable to keep the heating on constantly at a lower temperature, rather than running it at full capacity at intervals throughout the day. This keeps the system at a constant warm temperature and prevents freezing of pipes.
  • Turn the dial – Lowering your thermostat by just 1° will knock 10% off your heating bill.
  • Check your fuel supply– check you have enough oil in the tank and avoid the pitfalls of ordering oil at the last minute, when distribution may be affected by increased demand.
  • If you are going away for a break – leave your heating on for at least an hour in the morning and an hour at night while you are away from home.
  • Close doors and curtains – the very simplest measures can lead to major energy savings so remember to close curtains and shut doors to keep heat in the rooms you use most.  Where possible, ensure your radiators are not obstructed by curtains or furniture.
  • Insulate your pipes – to prevent a freeze up, install lagging around your home heating and water pipes to insulate them. A professional can fit this for you or keen DIY’ers can purchase lagging from a DIY store.
  • Don't forget your oil tank and ensure it's included in your service - It's important to ensureall caps, lids and vents are secure to prevent damage from rainwater, melting snow and other contaminants.
  • Keep the details of a plumbing and heating technician close to hand – a breakdown can be stressful enough without the hassle or lottery of finding a trusted tradesman in the directory. For oil users, choosing a highly skilled OFTEC registered technician is strongly advised and can be found on Do not attempt to fix or service the appliance yourself as modern boilers require a trained and professional technician to ensure your system is operating correctly, efficiently, and safely.
  • Prevention is always best – the overall advice from OFTEC is to have a qualified technician check and service your appliance before the cold weather sets in. A simple check over and service may prevent that disaster.

David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland Manager commented: “With Storm Barra battling across the country as we enter an already frosty festive month, boilers are being put under a lot of pressure but important, and simple, steps can avoid heating problems.

“Our technicians across every county of Ireland often come across botched repair jobs and inefficient boilers which are subsequently adding to home running costs.

“Make sure your heating system has been checked and properly serviced as Christmas is a busy time, and issues such as frozen pipes can add unnecessary stress at any time of year.

“Organisations such as OFTEC exist to ensure homes and people are safe, with OFTEC technicians recommended by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). (Change to the Consumer Council for NI release?)

“We urge you to take the time to follow our simple guides to ensure you are taking care this winter.”

To find your nearest OFTEC Registered Technician in Ireland, visit

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