Given widespread concerns around fuel poverty and energy security, coupled with many people’s desire to reduce their individual carbon footprint, it is clear that a substantial portion of the UK population is eager for change. Yet numerous challenges are halting progress in this area. 

Earlier this year, we commissioned some research to find out exactly how the British public feels about the future of home heating – and we discovered a number of startling trends:

  • Fuel poverty worries: over half of UK billpayers (59%) express concern about fuel poverty
  • Heating vs eating dilemmas: shockingly, one in 10 billpayers have been forced to choose between heating their homes and buying groceries due to rising energy bills
  • Energy security concerns: nearly half of respondents (47%) are worried about energy security
  • Power cut incidents: within the past year, approximately one-quarter of respondents (24%) experienced power cuts, disrupting their daily lives.

With their customers facing critical issues such as these, I believe that heating engineers, plumbers, and other relevant tradespeople can truly make a difference – whether by a) educating customers on new technologies, or b) helping customers run their existing system more efficiently. 

Our call suggested action plan for those ‘on the front line’ is therefore a very simple, three-step process: 

  • Reach out to your customers
  • Listen to them, heeding any fears or worries they may express around domestic heating
  • Offer your best advice and share your knowledge of the options available to them, now and in the future.

Enhancing the current system

We know from talking to installers that, following an installation, many of you spend time with your customers to explain how to operate their new appliance and maximise its efficiency. 

The concern is that users either forget or go ‘off-piste’ with the controls, leading to inappropriate or wasteful usage of the heating system. This is where the annual boiler service is key, not only for carrying out the essential checks of the boiler for optimum running, but also as a touchpoint with the customer year on year. 

Regrettably, our findings have shown that 40% of homeowners are failing to have their annual boiler service. You’re likely keeping track of the boiler installations you have completed and are making it part of your regular customer care activity to send out a service reminder each year. But do also consider highlighting messaging around the value they could potentially get by investing in this annual check, namely: to ensure their boiler is running as efficiently as possible; to encourage longevity of the boiler; and to decrease the chances of an emergency callout in the busy winter months. 

Embracing future heating

For those customers considering a move to greener heating, clear and accessible information on green tech is crucial. 

Consumers should ideally be empowered with a comprehensive knowledge about the benefits, costs, and practicality of alternative energy solutions. By demystifying renewable technologies and providing guidance on installation, maintenance, and long-term savings, installers can help consumers make informed decisions that align with their values and financial capabilities.

For example, going ‘hybrid’ is one viable solution to pave the way for a more sustainable future. Hybrid heat pumps combine traditional gas boilers with renewable technology, offering efficient and cost-effective heating for homes while providing an opportunity to lower carbon emissions without the need for renovations or higher upfront costs. 

Some of the most common questions we receive are centred around new technologies and how to upskill. Our experts offer free training and technical advice to enable tradespeople to broaden their skillset – ultimately helping to make Britain’s homes more efficient.

The findings from our research underline the urgent need to address fuel poverty, energy security, and carbon footprints in the UK. By acknowledging the concerns and challenges faced by billpayers and providing practical solutions, the energy industry can play a pivotal role in driving the transition to a sustainable future. 

Together, we must build a greener and more secure energy landscape for generations to come. But we can’t just leap to the finish line – we need to transition to it. Through the adoption of hybrid heat pumps and improved education on renewable technologies, we can empower homeowners to make environmentally conscious choices while mitigating the financial burden associated with transitioning to clean energy.