Heating cost control in HMO’s

Heating cost control in HMO’s

19:00 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago 175

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I would greatly welcome the advice of other members on how to effectively manage heating costs. I have 2 HMO properties and rents include; water, gas, electric and broadband. Heating cost control in HMO's

Over the past 12 months the electric and gas bills seem to have rocketed. I have checked and the tenants are not growing weed but I suspect that they are keeping the heating on 24/7 and opening a window when it gets too hot.

I know there are products for this out there but don’t have experience of how they work.

Are there tried and tested ways of controlling a reasonable temperature and locking down the thermostat or being able to monitor it remotely?


Mark Hartell


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Robert M

22:12 PM, 15th September 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve Masters" at "15/09/2014 - 21:55":

Hi Steve

I think they are a good product, as I've commented earlier in this post, and the service from Matthew at Inspire Home Automation has been outstanding (even dealing with issues (tenant tampering with the stat) for me at weekends and at unsociable hours). I've now got three of the "Landlord Plus" thermostats fitted and all are working well, and I will definitely be buying some more.

Steve Masters

6:59 AM, 16th September 2014, About 9 years ago

The geek in me would like to trial a Mi Casa Verde home automation system and replace the Peglar Lock & Limit TRVs with z-wave controlable TRVs from Honeywell and put a z-wave room thermostat in every bedsit room and set up a smart Mi Casa Verde script to allow tenants to control their own heat but under my limits. I could then plug in additional sensors to the system which could alert me of any abnormal situation in the HMO, eg connect the fire alarm and flood sensors in the basement. I could also add a CCTV camera to the front door and a remote controllable lock etc etc. But my wife wont let me!

Arran Pritchard

16:43 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago

Internet room thermostats seem to be the way to go. Inspire Home Automation @ £139 or HIVE @ £200, but with HIVE I have to remove the internal micro-switches from the thermostats to lock them out, these can be set to say 18 C.

Each room has its own meter to record electric consumption, I don't supply card instead I record the consumption and put it on their bill. Add 750w panel heaters to each that can be used at the tenants discretion to topup the heating to 21 C in colder months as they are paying.

Hot Water, 6 bed en-suite HMO, to avoid the cost of a cylinder and maintaining the hot water 24/7, use a combi to supply 4 showers and the kitchen sink, add electric showers in the other 2 rooms to keep within the 100watt residential supply.

Ian Ringrose

17:06 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago

No normal combi will supply 4 reasonable showers!

Arran Pritchard

17:08 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "02/10/2014 - 17:06":

if all at the same time, yes you are right.

Ian Ringrose

17:48 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago

I wish someone could give me the stats, so I could work how many showers out of the 6 were likely to be used at the same time in a 6 person HMO.

I also wish there was a system that queue up requests for a shower, informed the tenant when their turn come, and stop people having very long shower while others waited. At present if too many tenants take a shower at the same time, they all just run badly, or the tenants on the top floor are left with no water while being covered in soap.

Having to put in a 300l tank just in case everyone wants to shower within the same half hour is just mad.

Arran Pritchard

21:35 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "02/10/2014 - 17:48":

to date most of my properties have 5 or 6 en-suites ( except for the most recent conversion ) and a 180 ltr unvented mains pressured cylinder installed for hot water.

Maybe 300 ltrs is a bit of an over kill for a 5 or 6 en-suites ?

I did install a 300 ltr cylinder in one property but this had 13 en-suites, all the showers had power shower heads, which according to ( http://www.waterwise.org.uk/news.php/11/showers-vs.-baths-facts-figures-and-misconceptions ) use 62 ltrs of hot water per average shower, I never received any complaints.

Due to the cost of metered water, when shower heads break, I replace them with water efficient shower heads which use 32 ltrs of hot water per average shower.

Robert M

21:38 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Arran Pritchard" at "02/10/2014 - 16:43":

Hi Arran

How do you get own meter for each room? Are these expensive or difficult to install? Are these prepayment meters, i.e. the room resident has to top up the meter before using the electricity?

Arran Pritchard

21:42 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Arran Pritchard" at "02/10/2014 - 21:35":

However, with this configuration, its required to keep the tank of hot water heated 24/7. The latest conversion there is no hot water cylinder installed and therefore no need to keep a tank of hot water heated 24/7. I'm yet to see the results in cost and feedback from the tenants.

Arran Pritchard

21:51 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "02/10/2014 - 21:38":

there are 2 types of meters I use

card meters ( http://www.stephenpwales.co.uk/Product/card/xpp3x.php ) at £90 each


meters ( no cards ) ( http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/350981727421?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT ) at £12 each

Both meters report the consumption in the KwH, on a weekly basis the consumption is recorded and added to the tenants bill, I set the rate so the total charge per house more or less equal to the electric bill.

Previously I used card meters only, and sold cards to the tenants but this was open to abuse. I found the total from the cards sold never equaled the electric bill for the property, so I changed to recording the consumption and adding it to tenants bill instead, also the meters at £12 each are a lot cheaper too.

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