It’s estimated that there are around 9 million UK households currently living in fuel poverty. This is an incredibly high number, yet the facts seem to be that more and more of us are finding the cost of heating unaffordable.
During winter, approximately 24,000 more people die than at other times of year and with the weather set to be increasingly unpredictable, as well as an ageing population, there really is cause for concern.
However, something positive that has occurred, was The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s recent campaign, which called for plumbers to assist other healthcare professionals in tackling the problems caused by cold homes.
Plumbers are actually in a very good position to assess whether families appear to be struggling with the cold as they are voluntarily admitted into the homes of millions of people across the UK every year. Where customers appear to be very at risk from the cold, plumbers are well-placed to recognise it and should report it to health care staff. However, it is important that plumbers are clear about who they should be reporting their concerns to and this particular area needs guidance and clarification from the government or other authorities.
Even when it isn’t a life or death situation, plumbers and heating installers can make important recommendations and give vital advice that would be a world of difference to the quality of life for many households.
Energy efficiency advice is a good place for a plumber to start because it’s something that can be implemented quickly and can have an almost instantaneous impact. Many households still don’t have to most rudimentary of heating controls, such as a thermostat, so the benefits of installing one should be clearly explained.
Explanations about zoning, chemical inhibitor and boiler maintenance would give people much more knowledge and confidence about getting on top of their heating situation. Equally as important is to outline the range of government grants that are available to many people for things like free insulation, free boilers, cold weather payments, winter fuel payments, solar panel installation and warm home payments.
Plumbers have the knowledge and the regular contact with homeowners to really make a difference to the lives of many people, so it’s important that they do so wherever possible. Working together with the health and care industry, plumbers really have the potential to save people money and, quite possibly, their lives.
Article by Benjamin Clarke