Heavy snow warnings and fears of 2015 being the worst winter for decades are filling the newspapers this week. Our climate scientists and forecasters seem to think we’re in for a hard winter this year.
The clocks go back this weekend and the shorter days and dropping temperatures certainly do make us feel that winter is fast approaching. It’s at this is the time of year that we all wonder how big our energy bill is going to be compared to last year.
It is often said that making predictions is difficult, especially about sport or the weather. So how cold will it be across the UK this winter? Will it be a mild, damp and breezy one or will we experience snow, biting cold winds and hard frosts with traffic chaos and disrupted travel? Well, here in rural Oxfordshire it was very mild last year. We only had to reach for our ice-scrapers to defrost our windscreens half a dozen times in the winter of 2014, so my amateur prediction is it’s bound to be colder!
Well perhaps strictly speaking it’s not really a prediction; rather when looking at the data it shows how cold it has been for each of the last 10 years. Energy specialists use ‘degree-days’ to help convert this to how much heating you will need to keep warm and how much it will cost you. The calendar year 2014 was particularly warm in the UK compared to the last 10 years. So, it is pretty likely that we will have a colder winter this year. In fact, it’s almost certain. Even if October, November and December are just average temperatures this year, then 2015 will have been colder than 2014.
But will it be as cold as it was in the UK in 2010? December 2010 was the coldest in the UK for 100 years. Here in Oxfordshire the temperatures got as low at minus 15 and the schools were closed for several days. Though it’s difficult to predict just how cold this December will be, if you are banking on your heating bill being as low as in 2014 then you are likely to be disappointed – unless you take steps now before the winter weather really arrives.
Get your boiler serviced and check it is set up correctly now
Pop on an extra layer and turn the thermostat down a bit
Check the insulation in your loft and top up if under 270mm
Use curtains, draught excluders and seal any draughty windows, un-used chimneys or doors
But remember if your home is basically not structurally sound and sufficiently well insulated you should look at how you can rectify this, particularly if you are considering carrying out other building work. We can help assess your home and give you independent, expert advice to ensure your family keep warm and your bills are kept low, whatever the weather this winter.
Call on 01923 896550 or email us at email@example.com to find out more.