Buyers of off-grid homes in Kent are being faced with unexpectedly high heating bills, according to Marden based consumer advice specialists The Heating Hub.
The company is receiving a high volume of enquiries from householders across the county who have reported moving to rural homes that are off the gas grid, only to discover that the costs of running their heating systems are unaffordable.
Jo Alsop, Founder of The Heating Hub, said: “In many cases customers have found the costs so high that they can’t afford to put the heating on. It is essential that new systems are put in place to help prospective buyers understand the true running costs of a property prior to purchase, in order to make an informed decision about whether they can really afford their energy bills.
“This is especially true for rural off-grid homes, which are often less-well insulated and do not have access to gas, as the current heating options, such as oil, LPG and electric heating, are all more expensive to run.
“We’ve heard from customers who have purchased an off-grid home only to find that their heating bills are upwards of £7,000 per year – equivalent to a second mortgage.”
Ofgem estimates that there are currently around four million homes in the UK that are not connected to mains gas supplies and must therefore use other forms of heating, including oil, LPG (liquid petroleum gas) and electricity.
Natalie Ward contacted The Heating Hub for a recommendation after moving to a Grade II listed cottage from a modern property in London. She said: “We moved from a property that was on the mains gas supply and cost roughly £40 per week for heating and electricity, and where we were always warm and comfortable. Despite only running the electric heating for 1-2 hours a day in our new home, we were shocked to receive bills of more than £500 per month.
“Even with this considerable expense we’re still not able to get the house warm and I dread to think how much it would cost to make the property a comfortable temperature. On top of this, we pay around £70 per month for logs to supply two wood burning stoves but the property is always cold and is now suffering from damp as a result.
“It’s a very distressing situation, especially as we had no idea that the heating costs would be so high when we purchased the property. I really feel that we should have been made aware so that we could revise our offer accordingly, as we are now facing the expense of installing a new oil or LPG boiler.”
Linda and Peter West also approached The Heating Hub following the purchase of their new home. Linda commented: “We were shocked to discover how much electricity the underfloor heating used, and only found out subsequently that the previous owner had used a wood burning stove for the majority of their heating requirements. We weren’t forewarned that the bills would be so high but it was costing a fortune to run the electric heating system.
“It was a real challenge to find independent, impartial advice, and we spoke to numerous companies that provided a range of recommendations, from installing a new oil boiler to replacing the underfloor heating with a new system.
“Fortunately, The Heating Hub took the time to really understand our requirements and heating habits, and advised that thermostatic controls were required to regulate the temperature appropriately. As a result, we saved considerable expense by avoiding unnecessarily replacing the boiler, and we’ve seen a clear reduction in our energy consumption, while the house is now warmer and more comfortable.”
Jo Alsop commented: “These examples are typical of the experience of so many of our off-grid customers who cannot afford to heat their homes to a comfortable standard. It is high time that steps are put in place to provide house buyers with real information about the costs of heating a property.”
The Heating Hub website is the UK’s first one-stop-shop for impartial boiler advice, and unlike other price comparison sites and online boiler companies, the service provides consumers with free, unbiased advice on selecting the correct boiler for their home.
For more information on The Heating Hub, visit https://www.theheatinghub.co.uk