Recognising that severe weather can disrupt lives in all sorts of ways, knowing how best to prepare and respond can help customers to keep themselves, and those around them, safe during the colder season.
It goes without saying that cold weather will increase the demand for LPG, an energy that provides householders with all the advantages of mains gas when not connected to the gas network. The fuel currently provides heat and hotwater to thousands of homes and businesses in the UK. LPG is usually delivered via road tanker to an indivudual bulk tank at homes and businesses throughout the country. The increases in demand can often be at a time when bad weather can materialise quickly and disrupt deliveries. Going into winter with a full tank of LPG ensures that householders and business can access the fuel and heat they need, regardless of any external weather conditions and issues with supply.
Many LPG suppliers have sophisticated customer data systems which will automatically top up their customers’ tanks to ensure their gas is sufficient going into winter, and throughout the year. Those customers who order themselves when they need gas are urged to plan ahead and order early to ensure they have enough to heat their home for when the weather turns colder, and also in case of snow and ice which can result in blocked roads and limit the ability for deliveries to be made.
For customers who opt to use LPG from the convenience of a cylinder we would also encourage you to ensure that you order in good time with your supplier and would recommend that an extra cylinder of gas is purchased.
The LPG industry works closely with Government, devolved administrations, and local authorities in winter to try and ensure essential deliveries get through. Both the UK and Scottish governments publish advice on winter preparedness and we would recommend all customers living in rural areas where the effects of bad weather are most accute should familiarise themselves with the advice provided (please see useful links below).
For more advice, follow us on Twitter @LiquidGasUK or use the hashtag #getaheadforwinter
1. Give your boiler an overhaul – make sure your boiler and any other gas appliances are serviced every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. This ensures that they run at their most efficient.
2. Consider replacing your boiler – if your boiler is 15 years old or more it could be time to replace it. Make sure you choose an energy efficient condensing boiler which could cut your heating bills significantly and achieve running efficiencies of 90%.
3. Insulate – loft insulation is a straightforward job which will dramatically cut the heat loss from your home. Also insulate your hot water tank by fitting it with a thick jacket – the thicker the better - this can reduce heat loss by up to 75 per cent.
4. Draft-proof your home – draughty external doors are responsible for 15% of heat loss in the home. Draft-proofing is a cheap and easy way to prevent heat loss. Hanging thick curtains over the door will also help to trap heat inside. Close all the curtains as soon as it gets dark to prevent heat escaping through windows.
5. Use a programmer – use a programmer to set when the heating and hot water come on and go off based around your routine. By heating your home and hot water only when necessary, you'll save energy and money.
6. Lower your thermostat - lowering your thermostat setting by just 1°C could save you money. However ensure that a minimum temperature is maintained of 21 degrees in living rooms and 18 degrees in bedrooms.
7. Bleed your radiators - bleed your radiators to release any air that is trapped in them. This will improve your heating efficiency instantly as hot water can flow into every part of the radiator, so it does a better job of warming your room.
8. Check your pipes – check all pipework to ensure that there are no leaks, fix any drips and lag pipes to avoid bursts.
9. Check your LPG levels – if you order LPG yourself please look at the tank level now and consider ordering from your supplier as soon as possible. Going into winter with a full tank may be more cost effective, will provide peace of mind and it means that when it turns cold you needn’t worry about your energy supply.
10. Check if you are on an automatic top up system with your LPG supplier - you may already be on an automatic top up system whereby your LPG supplier will take account of your needs and top up your tank when you need it - but if you aren’t on this system, you may want to check if this service is available to you.
For Scotland, visit: www.readyscotland.org
For Northern Ireland, visit: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/winter-help-and-advice
The trade association for the LPG and bioLPG industry in the UK