Maria and her husband live with their two young children in a flat above a fast food restaurant. Maria’s husband runs his own business, but even with benefits, the family live month to month. Their Local Authority referred the family to Hitting the Cold Spots for help to improve the heating and energy efficiency of their home.
What did Maria need help with?
When Maria phoned us, she was worried about the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning from a 35 year old failing back boiler. She was also looking for help to relocate her gas meter, which was inaccessible. Her Hitting the Cold Spots advisor initially signposted her to Southern Gas Network’s (SGN’s) assisted connection scheme and to a Buy with Confidence engineer to quote for improvements to the central heating system. The advisor also suggested DIY fixes for the home’s draughty, rotting, single-glazed sash windows and spoke to Maria about condensation and mould.
“I was referred to Hitting the Cold Spots and upon the first phone call, I knew we would be in safe hands. My advisor is very thorough and really cared about our well-being. It was not just a job, they have gone the extra mile to research information to help make our living standards better.”
How we were able to help Maria
Between the time of the initial phone call and the day the advisor visited Maria, they had already been notified that SGN would not provide an assisted gas connection but that the heating engineer could quote for the necessary work, part of which would be covered by an Energy Company Obligation scheme grant. At the home visit, Maria showed her energy advisor the draughty windows and the damp around an old, unused chimney stack. Her advisor later emailed more detailed advice regarding these issues. They also made a referral for a Safe & Well visit from the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. The family received two smoke alarms as a result. It also prompted the installation of fire resistant plasterboard in the food establishment below the flat.
Maria’s advisor helped secure additional funding from the Hitting the Cold Spots project for a replacement boiler and radiators. Once these were installed, they helped the family understand how to use the new Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) as well as the programmable room thermostat. They discussed additional ways to increase the energy efficiency of the home, including reflective radiators panels, radiator fans and further improvements to the windows.
“I can’t thank our advisor from Hitting the Cold Spots enough. I am excited that this will be our first winter where we will feel warmer and safer! We have had smoke alarms fitted from a visit from a fireman and been provided lots of information to assist us with our poorly insulated sash windows and our damp chimney stack. You could say that our advisor has potentially saved our lives!”
Savings and outcomes
- With all the grants, Maria was able to get approximately £4430 to upgrade her heating system
- The grants saved the family from accruing more debt through a finance package
- The family replaced some of their draughty, single-glazed windows with DIY double glazed units based on the advice their energy advisor gave them
- The new smoke alarms and the fire resistant plasterboard have made the home safer
- The food establishment below the flat has updated its waste management practices and reduced its water use, resulting in fewer pests and better water pressure
“The cost to carry out this sort of upgrade to our property was too much for us to be able to do ourselves. It would have meant a lot of debt, which would have left us in a far worse position. I am so thankful and grateful to Hitting the Cold Spots for providing this funding, it means that I will not have to worry about the extra demands of debt and we can actually save money on our bills to help towards our current financial obligations.
Get in touch
If you know someone who needs help with staying warm and well, please call the Hitting the Cold Spots team on Freephone 0800 804 8601 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.