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    • tantaraza
    • By tantaraza 3rd Dec 17, 7:49 AM
    • 16Posts
    • 47Thanks
    tantaraza
    Switching to E7 with gas supply?
    • #1
    • 3rd Dec 17, 7:49 AM
    Switching to E7 with gas supply? 3rd Dec 17 at 7:49 AM
    I would really appreciate some advice on this situation as I'm aware that it's an unusual one.

    We have a gas supply to our house and a combi boiler with radiators, but due to incomplete building work (a cowboy left the job unfinished and we have no money to fix it at present) we're unable to use the gas heating. It's something that will take time to get sorted, but in the meantime our house is freezing with no present form of heating.

    My mum is disabled and sleeps downstairs in our lounge, where there's an electric fire. In winter 2016-2017 the building work had just started, so we used the fire for heating. In winters 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, my mum was living in the house alone and because there were prepayment meters fitted in a cupboard inaccessible to her (she's a wheelchair user), the gas kept running out because she couldn't see how much credit was left / get to the shops/meter to top up, and in order to put the heating back on, the boiler upstairs needed to be reset, so it was near-impossible for her to have gas heating and she relied on the electric fire to stay warm. I can't find a bill from last year to work out what my consumption was (I switched supplier this year), but I know that in the 2015-2016 year, mum's annual consumption was 4,500kWh and in winter she was putting £70 most weeks on the electric. This year, our consumption for six months was 665kWh. If we overestimate slightly the annual consumption as 1,500kWh, that leaves 3,000kWh used by the electric fire and tumble dryer each winter.

    I had the idea of switching our meter to an E7 meter, buying a timer plug and setting it to our E7 hours, in order to use the electric fire during the off-peak heating when it's coldest. I doubt we'd use another 3,000kWh this year, mainly because in previous years the fire was kept on day and night, but it would still use a lot of electricity. I appreciate we'd have to minimise our day use, but most of that would just be 24/7 appliances (fridge, freezer, etc) and our washing machine has a time delay function so we can easily set it to come on at night.

    However, I'm unsure how feasible this would be to do -- would a lot of rewiring be involved to change to E7? Would our summer consumption negate any savings made during winter? Is it possible to switch to E7, then switch back to a normal meter if, once we use gas heating again, it stops being cheaper for us? I do plan on phoning my supplier tomorrow, but I'd appreciate some advice in the meantime, particularly as I'm a bit concerned they might refuse on the grounds that we have a gas supply?

    Thank you
Page 1
    • jk0
    • By jk0 3rd Dec 17, 8:51 AM
    • 2,067 Posts
    • 23,554 Thanks
    jk0
    • #2
    • 3rd Dec 17, 8:51 AM
    • #2
    • 3rd Dec 17, 8:51 AM
    In your shoes I would buy some 2nd hand storage heaters from ebay. However, I think it might be less trouble in the long run to get the central heating working.
    • tantaraza
    • By tantaraza 3rd Dec 17, 10:17 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    tantaraza
    • #3
    • 3rd Dec 17, 10:17 AM
    • #3
    • 3rd Dec 17, 10:17 AM
    I wish getting the central heating running was an option, but presently it's impossible as the building work needs to be completed first. In the long run we want to keep our central heating, so installing storage heaters and getting our entire house rewired would a) cost money we don't have, and b) require the building work to be finished.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 3rd Dec 17, 12:28 PM
    • 3,272 Posts
    • 6,028 Thanks
    EachPenny
    • #4
    • 3rd Dec 17, 12:28 PM
    • #4
    • 3rd Dec 17, 12:28 PM
    However, I'm unsure how feasible this would be to do -- would a lot of rewiring be involved to change to E7? Would our summer consumption negate any savings made during winter? Is it possible to switch to E7, then switch back to a normal meter if, once we use gas heating again, it stops being cheaper for us? I do plan on phoning my supplier tomorrow, but I'd appreciate some advice in the meantime, particularly as I'm a bit concerned they might refuse on the grounds that we have a gas supply?
    Originally posted by tantaraza
    If getting the central heating fixed isn't an option (and I've been in that situation myself ) then what you are suggesting makes sense. I used some oil-filled heaters running over night to heat the house up. Unless you live in a very draughty property it takes a while for the heat in the building to be lost, so some of the heat in the fabric of the building should still be there hours later. Then all you need is a little extra space heating in the rooms you are actually using/sleeping in to keep it feeling comfortable.

    Some suppliers don't charge for switching from E7 and back again. It doesn't involve any wiring on your side, all that happens (at most) is the meter gets swapped. A friend recently swapped to E7 with SSE and they didn't charge (in her area) and would swap back for free too. They might have different rules in your area, so check first.

    If you ask to swap to E7 the supplier might try to persuade you not to if you don't have storage heaters, but if you hold your ground they should agree. I would explain the gas heating is not working and you are using electric instead. I'd never condone outright lying, but if the supplier is being really difficult then you could always say you are going to decide what to do about the gas heating next summer and are thinking of replacing it with storage heaters then.

    You don't mention anything about hot water? If you have a hot water tank and immersion heater then this can also be run on E7. In fact, in the summer I only use the immersion to heat my water and this alone means I break even on the cost of E7 without storage heaters. Edit: on reflection I think you are saying the combi is working for hot water? If so, ignore this paragraph.

    However, if in the summer you find E7 is costing you too much then you can always ask to go back to standard metering. But be aware if you do, it might be harder to go back to E7 again if you need it next winter. Hopefully you won't, but just something to bear in mind
    Last edited by EachPenny; 03-12-2017 at 12:32 PM. Reason: Second thoughts
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • missmaybesaver
    • By missmaybesaver 3rd Dec 17, 12:29 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    missmaybesaver
    • #5
    • 3rd Dec 17, 12:29 PM
    • #5
    • 3rd Dec 17, 12:29 PM
    Hiya,

    You should be able to get a two rate / Eco 7 smart meter installed for free by your supplier (lots of people have an Eco 7 elec meter and Gas, including me!).

    Once you get the gas heating sorted, if you wanted to go back to being charged at the same rate for both day and night elec then you should be able to swap to a flat rate tariff without needing to have the meter changed (again this is what I do). Not all suppliers may offer this but all the ones I’ve been with certainly have.

    Also just to mention it’s only usually worth being on an Eco 7 if you’re using 40% or more of your elec during the night.

    Hope that helps!
    • tantaraza
    • By tantaraza 3rd Dec 17, 12:59 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    tantaraza
    • #6
    • 3rd Dec 17, 12:59 PM
    • #6
    • 3rd Dec 17, 12:59 PM
    If getting the central heating fixed isn't an option (and I've been in that situation myself ) then what you are suggesting makes sense. I used some oil-filled heaters running over night to heat the house up. Unless you live in a very draughty property it takes a while for the heat in the building to be lost, so some of the heat in the fabric of the building should still be there hours later. Then all you need is a little extra space heating in the rooms you are actually using/sleeping in to keep it feeling comfortable.

    Some suppliers don't charge for switching from E7 and back again. It doesn't involve any wiring on your side, all that happens (at most) is the meter gets swapped. A friend recently swapped to E7 with SSE and they didn't charge (in her area) and would swap back for free too. They might have different rules in your area, so check first.

    If you ask to swap to E7 the supplier might try to persuade you not to if you don't have storage heaters, but if you hold your ground they should agree. I would explain the gas heating is not working and you are using electric instead. I'd never condone outright lying, but if the supplier is being really difficult then you could always say you are going to decide what to do about the gas heating next summer and are thinking of replacing it with storage heaters then.

    You don't mention anything about hot water? If you have a hot water tank and immersion heater then this can also be run on E7. In fact, in the summer I only use the immersion to heat my water and this alone means I break even on the cost of E7 without storage heaters. Edit: on reflection I think you are saying the combi is working for hot water? If so, ignore this paragraph.

    However, if in the summer you find E7 is costing you too much then you can always ask to go back to standard metering. But be aware if you do, it might be harder to go back to E7 again if you need it next winter. Hopefully you won't, but just something to bear in mind
    Originally posted by EachPenny
    Thank you so much for the advice! Yes, we're getting hot water from the combi -- that's one of the reasons I was unsure about switching to E7, since the bulk of our controllable consumption is the washing machine. Our downstairs doesn't have flooring at present so there's a concrete floor, and there's a small kitchen window open 24/7 for the cats so it would be impractical getting the whole house heated, so it's really just the lounge we need to be warm for my mum. How did you find oil-filled radiators? Were they better or worse than electric fires? One of my concerns with getting an oil-filled radiator is the cost, and also the risk of it getting knocked over by a four-legged furball.

    Thank you for being so understanding though, it's really much appreciated!

    Hiya,

    You should be able to get a two rate / Eco 7 smart meter installed for free by your supplier (lots of people have an Eco 7 elec meter and Gas, including me!).

    Once you get the gas heating sorted, if you wanted to go back to being charged at the same rate for both day and night elec then you should be able to swap to a flat rate tariff without needing to have the meter changed (again this is what I do). Not all suppliers may offer this but all the ones Iíve been with certainly have.

    Also just to mention itís only usually worth being on an Eco 7 if youíre using 40% or more of your elec during the night.

    Hope that helps!
    Originally posted by missmaybesaver
    Thank you for your response! I looked on MSE, and it seems like I *might* have to pay to switch to E7, "depending on the meter", although it'll be free to change back. That's what I was concerned about with the 40% usage though -- in winter it'll be fine because I'm sure the electric fire will use a lot, but in summer the only things that will be on at night are 24/7 appliances, small things like chargers etc, and the washing machine, and I'm not sure if that will be enough to work out as 40%.

    Really, I'm a bit stuck on ideas for what could be plugged in for off peak hours during the summer, and I do have a few reservations about that.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 3rd Dec 17, 1:04 PM
    • 27,105 Posts
    • 13,219 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #7
    • 3rd Dec 17, 1:04 PM
    • #7
    • 3rd Dec 17, 1:04 PM
    Also just to mention itís only usually worth being on an Eco 7 if youíre using 40% or more of your elec during the night.
    Originally posted by missmaybesaver
    That 40% figure varies by company/tariff/area/overall consumption. It is possible to get the break-even point below 20%.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 3rd Dec 17, 1:26 PM
    • 3,169 Posts
    • 1,888 Thanks
    matelodave
    • #8
    • 3rd Dec 17, 1:26 PM
    • #8
    • 3rd Dec 17, 1:26 PM
    Dont forget that most of your heating will be done during peak times (0700-12am) unless your Mum sits and watches the TV after midnight and before seven in the morning.

    The cost per kwh during those peak times will usually be quite a bit more expensive on E7 than it is on a single rate tariff so you really do need to try and do your sums to see whether you can maximise your off-peak consumption to compensate.

    You wont be able to store the cheap eanergy unless you do put in storage heaters or heat your hot water overnight and most people dont actually heat their houses to daytime temperatures when they are tucked up in bed.
    Last edited by matelodave; 03-12-2017 at 1:31 PM.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • tantaraza
    • By tantaraza 3rd Dec 17, 2:11 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    tantaraza
    • #9
    • 3rd Dec 17, 2:11 PM
    • #9
    • 3rd Dec 17, 2:11 PM
    Dont forget that most of your heating will be done during peak times (0700-12am) unless your Mum sits and watches the TV after midnight and before seven in the morning.

    The cost per kwh during those peak times will usually be quite a bit more expensive on E7 than it is on a single rate tariff so you really do need to try and do your sums to see whether you can maximise your off-peak consumption to compensate.

    You wont be able to store the cheap eanergy unless you do put in storage heaters or heat your hot water overnight and most people dont actually heat their houses to daytime temperatures when they are tucked up in bed.
    Originally posted by matelodave
    Our TV isn't plugged in / being used at present, so that's some electricity saved there. I don't think I made myself clear enough in hindsight (was trying to keep my post short) but our lounge is the coldest room in the house with a concrete floor, two full length French(?) back doors, and a single glazed window (should be double glazed but one pane of glass broke so there's only one left). We're typically bundle-uppers when it gets cold, but the wee hours of the morning is when the frost really sets in and that's why we need off-peak heating. At the moment we're waking up at silly hours shivering with cold so I'm not aiming for daytime temperatures at night, but getting our house a few degrees above freezing would be good.

    That 40% figure varies by company/tariff/area/overall consumption. It is possible to get the break-even point below 20%.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    Ooh, that's good to know! I may have to do some sums to work out where I'd break even in the summer. Do you know if it's possible to look up the kWh consumed by the washing machine each cycle, for calculation purposes, or would the manufacturer be unlikely to make that information available?
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 3rd Dec 17, 2:50 PM
    • 3,272 Posts
    • 6,028 Thanks
    EachPenny
    Our downstairs doesn't have flooring at present so there's a concrete floor, and there's a small kitchen window open 24/7 for the cats so it would be impractical getting the whole house heated, so it's really just the lounge we need to be warm for my mum.
    Originally posted by tantaraza
    The concrete floor is a plus in that it means you don't have a suspended floor with cold draughts underneath. It also adds mass to the building which, once warm, helps to keep a stable temperature. Concrete may feel cold to walk on, but cheap carpet offcuts or rugs can help to make it more comfortable.

    Leaving a window open, even a small one, is a big no-no for keeping the house warm. Is it possible to get a cat flap instead? Failing that, make sure the door from the kitchen to the rest of the house is kept closed and draught-proofed to stop the heat escaping.

    How did you find oil-filled radiators? Were they better or worse than electric fires? One of my concerns with getting an oil-filled radiator is the cost, and also the risk of it getting knocked over by a four-legged furball.
    Originally posted by tantaraza
    Any kind of heater is a concern with animals and children, but an oil-filled one is possibly slightly less of a risk so long as you can prevent it from being knocked over. They do tend to be a bit more expensive to buy, but I got mine from people on Freecycle. Unfortunately summer is a better time to get them than winter

    Something else to consider if you don't already have them are electric blankets - these are great to keep you warm in bed However, you would need to look at the safety warnings and consider if they would be appropriate for your mum with her disability - there is a risk of burns if they are left on high while you are sleeping, so are normally only advised for people who would remember to turn them down/off (depending on type) and also who would be able to respond appropriately if they get too hot.

    Thank you for being so understanding though, it's really much appreciated!
    Originally posted by tantaraza
    You're welcome. My gran didn't have central heating, so I know what it can be like in Winter

    Really, I'm a bit stuck on ideas for what could be plugged in for off peak hours during the summer, and I do have a few reservations about that.
    Originally posted by tantaraza
    I wouldn't worry about that for now. The main problem is to keep your mum warm now without running up excessive bills. You can have a look at your day/night split when it comes to the summer and then decide what to do.

    ...our lounge is the coldest room in the house with a concrete floor, two full length French(?) back doors, and a single glazed window (should be double glazed but one pane of glass broke so there's only one left).
    Originally posted by tantaraza
    Are the French doors draught proof? If not, and if you don't need to use them, consider putting some tape over any gaps where cold air is coming in. A quick solution to the window problem is to get some temporary window-film which you stick to the inside of the window frame, and then depending on type, use a hairdryer or similar to shrink it. Like this, but you might be able to find cheaper.
    http://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Seasonal-Secondary-Glazing-Film-6m2/p/210014

    Also, do you have thick curtains on the windows and doors? If not, that is something to find. Again, Freecycle type sites are a good place to look.

    We're typically bundle-uppers when it gets cold, but the wee hours of the morning is when the frost really sets in and that's why we need off-peak heating. At the moment we're waking up at silly hours shivering with cold so I'm not aiming for daytime temperatures at night, but getting our house a few degrees above freezing would be good.
    Originally posted by tantaraza
    If you go for E7 then I would aim to make the bits of the house you use warmer than normal daytime during the E7 hours, this extra warmth will help keep the house feeling warmer later in the day. Some people have trouble sleeping if it is too hot, so that might be something you need to consider.

    One other thing, keeping a stable warm temperature in a room without heating depends on how much stuff is in the room. Decluttering is the enemy of heat retention as it increases the volume of free air and decreases the overall mass. If the lounge has been emptied out for the building work, is it possible for you to put stuff back in? For example cupboards, chests of drawers, storage boxes? You need to make sure it isn't so cluttered it becomes a safety risk, but objects in the room that can absorb and release heat will help to stabilise the temperature.

    Hope that helps you find some solutions
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • plane_boy2000
    • By plane_boy2000 3rd Dec 17, 3:54 PM
    • 1,469 Posts
    • 473 Thanks
    plane_boy2000
    Would a tariff like this one help?

    https://www.greenenergyuk.com/Tide

    I'm not sure how it compares to E7 but might give you a bit more flexibility as long as you can avoid using from 16:00 to 19:00
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 3rd Dec 17, 5:01 PM
    • 3,272 Posts
    • 6,028 Thanks
    EachPenny
    Would a tariff like this one help?

    I'm not sure how it compares to E7 but might give you a bit more flexibility as long as you can avoid using from 16:00 to 19:00
    Originally posted by plane_boy2000
    You need to have solar PV to be eligible for that, or am I misunderstanding something?
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • plane_boy2000
    • By plane_boy2000 10th Dec 17, 3:15 PM
    • 1,469 Posts
    • 473 Thanks
    plane_boy2000
    No, its just a time of use tariff to encourage off peak consumption
    • macman
    • By macman 11th Dec 17, 10:46 AM
    • 41,422 Posts
    • 17,043 Thanks
    macman
    Forget about what your TV, computer, or hairdrier uses, what matters is heating and hot water. That will account for the vast majority of your consumption.
    Every pound you spend on a temporary solution is a pound less towards getting the CH fixed. To switch to E7 you will spend at least £70 on a new meter, plus any other costs. The fact that you have mains gas is irrelevant-lots of people have that with E7.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 11th Dec 17, 5:34 PM
    • 3,272 Posts
    • 6,028 Thanks
    EachPenny
    Every pound you spend on a temporary solution is a pound less towards getting the CH fixed. To switch to E7 you will spend at least £70 on a new meter, plus any other costs. The fact that you have mains gas is irrelevant-lots of people have that with E7.
    Originally posted by macman
    Not all suppliers charge for a meter swap, the OP might be lucky.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
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