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Coping with energy price increases

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default Re: Coping with energy price increases

Post by Jaded Green on 2nd September 2011, 9:39 am

This is a slanket http://www.theslanket.com/

My girls first saw them on the "Big Bang Theory" and we bought them as presents the Christmas before last. Then last year Mr JG bought me one and got himself one while he was at it. They are very cosy!

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Post by polgara on 2nd September 2011, 10:36 am

I have one too and they are really warm.

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Post by MrsC on 2nd September 2011, 5:31 pm

The way fuel prices just keep going up is frightening. The heating will be staying off for as long as possible here. LMC seems to be quite hardy already and I just hope she stays that way this winter!

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Post by Chilli-head on 2nd September 2011, 6:28 pm

Whilst being a bit hardy is probably no bad thing, you can go too far, especially for the very old or young.
According to -> this BBC news article <- based on a report from Oxford university Environmental Change Institute:

18-21C - comfortable temperature
9-12 or 24+C: Risk of stroke and heart attack
21-24C or 16-18C - some discomfort
12-16C - risk of respiratory disease
Less than 9C - risk of hypothermia

I imagine that the respiratory disease risk will not be mitigated by the extra clothes or blankets, being more likely down to air temperature or fungal spores from a damp environment.
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Post by Aberlemno on 2nd September 2011, 7:40 pm

12 - 16 - risk of respiratory disease. Hmmm. Since our kitchen was 9 - 10 on average last winter (that's with the big Hergom oil-fired stove ON) and the rest of the house similar, it's no wonder I had Bronchitis . . . especially as I'm asthmatic. Let's hope we can afford oil this winter, but I fear it will be a toss up between heating oil and food . . .

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Post by Jaded Green on 2nd September 2011, 7:44 pm

30 odd years ago I shared a very large cold flat with friends in "West Brompton" just south of Earls Court. we weer on the ground floor of a posh house with huge, high ceilinged reception rooms.It was freezing and we all coughed. One morning my friend was worried I had overslept and was thinking of coming in to wake me when she heard me cough, so she knew I was up. We still cough. My friend has the most terrible cough, mine is nothing much, but I put it down to two cold winters in that flat.
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Post by MrsC on 2nd September 2011, 8:42 pm

Dont worry I'll certainly be keeping an eye on LMC, especially since Mr C suffers from asthma and we don't know if she might yet. I've lived in some very cold and damp places in the past and it is definitely the case that when I did I was quite ill with coughs etc.

Her room is a small one with two outside walls and it's also over the front door where we have a slightly stepped back front door and open storm porch (typical 1930s semi), meaning that there is some of her room which effectively has outside under the floor. The house also has sold brick walls so no insulation there. We've replaced the double glazing in her window and when we put in the carpet we get extra insulating underlay put in as well. There's a a huge radiator in the room, but it still gets very cold - we're on top of a slight hill so that wind really blows in the winter here. Not really sure what more we can do other than lots of clothes and the heating when we need it.

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Post by polgara on 2nd September 2011, 9:14 pm

Options seem to be getting more, food, heat or health. I always said I would keep warm & eat & worry about bills later. Have to have a slightly higher temp due to health probs, but can`t get help with bills as such.

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Post by Chilli-head on 3rd September 2011, 12:52 pm

I'm afraid I'm a bit guilty here. I like being warm, and Mrs C-H will not let me get away with setting the thermostat below 18C. So, my solution was to get the stove in the room we use in the evening, so we can have evening fires, allowing me to set the CH off time much earlier than I would otherwise get away with. I get most of my wood from a (very !) local tree surgeon, and I know for a fact that some of it was standing in a garden 2 doors down until recently, so at least not much mileage involved ! Can't really be described as a cheap option by any measure, but I do love a fire ...
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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 3rd September 2011, 4:11 pm

MrsC wrote: (typical 1930s semi), ... The house also has sold brick walls so no insulation there.

That is extremely unusual for a 1930's semi. Do you have a photo of one of your external walls?

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Post by MrsC on 3rd September 2011, 5:47 pm

I don't Billy, but yes it is unusual, but the house was actually built in 1928 and I understand that it changed in the early 30s, but you probably know more than I do about this kind of thing!

I'll try & get a photo.

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Post by Chilli-head on 7th September 2011, 10:43 am

I too must have an unusual house; built late thirties, it has solid brick walls. I know for certain, I have core drilled through them twice ! I am not a million miles from MrsC, so perhaps it is a regional thing. Even more strangely, the much later kitchen extension was also built with solid walls and with a bond to match the rest of the house Rolling Eyes

Whilst I'm on the subject, our third bedroom sounds rather like LMC's - it has two outside walls and is cold in winter. Condensation in the corner of the two outside walls has been a problem. I'd like to dry line those two walls with a layer of insulation of some sort behind, but I want to lose the minimum space possible (not much use if a bed won't fit when I've finished) - would anyone have a view what is the thinnest insulation that is worth the bother ?
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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 7th September 2011, 12:08 pm

Any insulation is better than none. Even 25mm of celotex will be an improvement. You could look at those Thinsulex type products which claim to pack in 150mm worth of standard insulation into just 33mm, although when tested by BRE they did not meet the manufacturers claims. I believe the newer versions are better though. If you could manage 40mm of celotex you would certainly notice an appreciable difference.

Out of interest what sort of bond are your walls? There are anomalous little pockets of construction around the country - there are some houses round the corner from me that I know for a fact date from 1876 and yet are entirely stretcher bond and the walls are 260mm thick, which caused me great puzzlement when I surveyed one of them. And conversely there were some houses still built in the 30's with Flemish bond but they are few and far between. What is much more common is people who believe they have slid walls because they have been told this by CWI installers who simply can't be arsed with any cavity less than 70mm because they are too lazy/ their business model is not based on anything out of the norm. Not that I am suggesting this to be the case with your house - I am sure you know your bonds.

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Post by Chilli-head on 7th September 2011, 12:24 pm

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:
Out of interest what sort of bond are your walls?

It is Flemish garden wall bond - three stretchers to one header. The bricks are imperial sizes, total wall thickness about 280mm (including plaster). The house came with a good record of history; underneath the wallpaper were pencil scribbles of events of the times - including on one wall "German army massing on the coast of France for the invasion of England", and a scribbled Union Jack. All signed and dated, earliest 1939.

Thanks for the insulation advice BTW, will have a closer look. The plaster is not great, so knocking that off and using 25mm insulation plus plasterboard would not make a lot of difference (the room is only 2x2.1m to start with though, but needs to take a bed for visitors)
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Post by freebird on 6th September 2012, 4:16 pm

Jaded Green wrote:I'm looking at ways to use the oven less and to use it more effectively when I do.

So what can we cook on top of the stove instead of in the oven?

I know this is an old, old topic - have just been reading through it with some interest. JG - I don't know if you still have the manual for your cooker, but if you have, check the heat output of the hob burners and oven.

My hob has two large burners and two smaller ones - the large burners give 3KW each when turned on full. My main oven gives 2.9KW when turned on full. Obviously preheating the oven has to be taken into consideration, but don't assume that cooking on the stove top will be more enery efficient than using the oven.
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Post by polgara on 6th September 2012, 6:02 pm

I use a steamer most days. In fact I can cook a meat pud, potatoes & 2 or 3 veg on just 1 gas ring.

Also batch cooking does help. I can cook up to 6 meals for 2 in the oven, this includes a roast & casseroles which as most of you know I then freeze.
Most of these just need heating in the micro, or in a basin in the steamer

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] Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think...

So take care of yourself, be Happy, Love Deeply and enjoy life!


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Post by freebird on 6th September 2012, 6:49 pm

Absolutely agree, Pol. I don't think there is much anyone is going to teach you about being economical!
Batch cooking in the oven or piling everything over a single gas ring is always going to be a good option. I just thought it was worth pointing out that it is easy to assume the oven must be heavier on fuel use than the hob burner, but that isn't necessarily the case.
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Post by Dandelion on 6th September 2012, 7:41 pm

freebird wrote:
Jaded Green wrote:I'm looking at ways to use the oven less and to use it more effectively when I do.

So what can we cook on top of the stove instead of in the oven?

I know this is an old, old topic - have just been reading through it with some interest. JG - I don't know if you still have the manual for your cooker, but if you have, check the heat output of the hob burners and oven.

My hob has two large burners and two smaller ones - the large burners give 3KW each when turned on full. My main oven gives 2.9KW when turned on full. Obviously preheating the oven has to be taken into consideration, but don't assume that cooking on the stove top will be more enery efficient than using the oven.

That is really helpful FB. It's relatively easy to find out how much power is being used by electric appliances, but gas is a trickier area for us civilians!

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Post by freebird on 7th September 2012, 7:51 am

Dandelion wrote:
That is really helpful FB. It's relatively easy to find out how much power is being used by electric appliances, but gas is a trickier area for us civilians!
It's not difficult to gas rate your appliances if you are really keen to find out how much gas they are passing, and you no longer have (or can't find) the manual. It just involves turning it on full rate and timing for a specified period, taking a meter reading before and after, and then doing a calculation. If you want to know full details, let me know and I will pm you.
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Post by polgara on 7th September 2012, 1:16 pm

Another way is to only go shopping once every 2 weeks, or monthly. I think we save possibly a quarter to a third. This is mainly cos you don`t see the weekly offers. Also saves on fuel. Not quite on the subject but still a saver.

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] Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think...

So take care of yourself, be Happy, Love Deeply and enjoy life!


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Post by Dandelion on 7th September 2012, 10:22 pm

That makes sense FB.
I've just saved us a bit of money on our energy prices by phoning up my supplier and asking which tariff would be the best value. Having done that I've saved us £10 a month. It's a bit sickening though that this information isn't given freely to all customers. It seems that if you ask you save money, if you don't you buy the same product but for more. Ah well, I suppose it's like insurance, but still not fair.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Dandelion on 23rd September 2012, 4:05 pm

Having discovered that gas rings give out different amounts of heat I got the booklet for our cooker out to find out more, and having flicked through it I then discovered that I could put a new battery in the ailing ignition. I had thought that it was wired in to the mains, and just wasn't working properly (it is an old cooker). I followed the instructions, located the battery, and realised that no-one had put a new one in since we had the cooker (over ten years ago!) Considering that the ignition was still working, even though a bit inefficiently, ten years is pretty good for a bttery on an appliance which is used daily!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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