County’s rural elderly urged to keep warm as temperatures plummet

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With the cold weather setting in and the expensive festive period upon us it is tempting for homeowners in Lincolnshire to consider turning down their heating to save money.

However, the latest government report shows that living in a cold house can lead to long term health problems including breathing and heart complications.

There is a particular concern for older people living in rural homes which are typically less well insulated.

This group is most at risk and figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 87 percent of the preventable excess winter deaths in England and Wales last year were people over the age of 65.

In total, during 2012/13 690 people died in Lincolnshire as a result of being too cold.

With the coldest months of the winter yet to come, OFTEC, the UK trade body for the oil heating industry, is reminding households of a few simple steps they can take to save money on their heating over the holiday without turning it down and feeling the cold.

OFTEC’s advice includes:

- Adjust the timer on your heating system so the house warms up at the correct time

- Ensure nothing is blocking any radiators as this reduces their effectiveness

- Turn down radiator thermostats in rooms you don’t use but keep the rooms you use most at a warm, comfortable temperature – 21 centigrade is recommended for your main living room.

- Bleed your radiators to get the maximum heat for your money

- If you use oil heating, make sure you don’t run out – prices are at a four-year low so now is a good time to get your tank topped up.

OFTEC is also urging households to get their boiler serviced by a registered technician to avoid any problems in the cold months to come and to consider getting it replaced if it is more than ten years old.

Malcolm Farrow, of OFTEC, said: “Christmas is an expensive time for everyone and, when the bills come in, it can be tempting for homeowners to turn down their heating in an attempt to save money. However, living in a cold house can lead to serious long term health problems and results in needless deaths across Lincolnshire each year.

“There is so much to think about at this time of year but, by following a few simple steps, homeowners can ensure they get the most out of their heating without turning it down and damaging their health.

“We are particularly concerned about older homeowners living in rural houses which typically have poor insulation and are harder to keep warm. As well as health problems, living in a cold home can lead to depression and feelings of isolation so we are urging people to regularly visit older relatives and neighbours this winter to check they are keeping warm and well.”

Further information on energy efficiency can be found at www.oilsave.org.uk including a free advice leaflet for older people.