Following on from previous post, I have been trying to assess the cost of 'fire fuel' and electricity in order to budget more wisely for these things in the future.
Our new home is a stone-built, 3-bedroom, end terraced cottage, located in a fairly rural area of Scotland. The cottages in our block are over two hundred years old, single-glazed with slate roofs. There are no options for things like cavity wall insulation or loft insulation, as we have no cavities and no lofts.
We hope to remedy the problems as we progress with the renovation, but I suspect the property may take quite some time to dry out completely after lying empty for a couple of years. Leaking roof and burst pipes can't have helped, especially after the past two winters endured.
The only form of heating is by way of an open fire in the livingroom, with a backboiler that now heats water and three radiators. Until we can upgrade this to a more efficient stove system, we are probably losing more heat straight up the old chimney than gets into the room!
Coal is now £12.80 per 50kg bag when buying the cheapest available. In June, when we first moved into the house, I bought 4 bags at £11.80 per bag. In September, I stocked up with half a tonne for the special price of £108.00 and then added a further 250kg to this at a cost of £60.00
The total spend on coal since arriving here has been £215.20, equating to 22.65 pence per kilo delivered. For ease of calculation, we'll call it 23p per kilo. (In 2012, the cheapest coal will be 25.6p per kilo, assuming no further price increases.)
The first 'experiment', carried out yesterday, was to light the fire at 6.30am and keep it burning all day to calculate coal costs.
Before filling it with coal, I weighed the scuttle - it holds 8kg of coal, so costs £1.84 to fill. I used two of these between 7am and 11pm , so the open fire is consuming 1 kg (23p) of coal per hour. If I factor in the need for a firelighter and the sticks used for kindling, then add on a log last thing at night, it creeps up to approximately £4 per day. For that, we have hot water and 3 rooms with a source of heat.
Then there's electricity, with the first 25p per day being taken up on standing charges. We are getting through approximately 15 units of electricity per day, mainly because the house is occupied all day, every day, the shower is electric and we now have a convector heater set on low, running 24/7. A single kWh of electricity costs 12.24p, so that's another £1.84 per day.
In this, the first of a series of cost comparisons, the overall total for heat, light, hot water and power in our rural, frugal household is costing £6.09 per day or £42.63 per week.
(The above cannot be said to 'warm' the house, as most of the heat is being lost through the kitchen roof at the moment.)