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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Arran Pritchard

21:58 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Arran Pritchard" at "02/10/2014 - 21:51":

the rooms need to have their own circuit, ie. lighting and sockets need to be on a ring exclusive to the room and meter.

Ian Ringrose

23:15 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago


I was thinking of a 300l tank, so that it can be heated at say 3am, then again in the afternoon, so that the boiler can provide a lower flow temperature for the radiators at the times people want heat. I can’t see how I can get a single boiler condensing well for the heating, at the same time as reheating a DWH tank that needs a flow of 70c.

As to electric meters, how much less effective will they be if only the sockets are on them? I would rather not have the lights in a room on the same circuit as the sockets, as it stops table lights being used if there is a problem with the lighting circuit. However with one room per circuit the risk of issues with a circuit is much reduced. I assumed you just put the lights on a 3amp fused spur.

Arran Pritchard

23:35 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "02/10/2014 - 23:15":

just checked the electric certificates, each room ( sockets and lights ) has a distribution board with a short circuit capacity of 6 kA

Arran Pritchard

23:44 PM, 2nd October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "02/10/2014 - 23:15":

these are the unvented indirect hot water cylinders I used ( http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/UNVENTED-HOT-WATER-CYLINDER-210-Litre-Indirect-/171139438793?pt=UK_Home_Garden_Hearing_Cooling_Air&hash=item27d8b498c9 )

because I found combi boilers cheaper than system boilers, I installed combi boilers but did not use the hot water on demand facility. for example Glowworm Betacom A Rated 24Kw Combi Boiler, Flue & Clock LPG

Arran Pritchard

0:33 AM, 3rd October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "02/10/2014 - 23:15":

Ian, I forgot to add, these cylinders are mains pressured, so the hot water coming out is the at the same pressure as the mains cold water coming into the cylinder.

This is what I've used mostly thus far, but now I'm looking to save on the cost of keeping a cylinder of hot water 24/7.

The mains water pressure, if 6 showers were turned on at the same time its unlikely the mains pressure would suffice for all 6 at the same time. A combi cannot provide 4 showers at the same time, so there are restrictions due the availability of water pressure in both configurations.

Landlord Trevor Mason

15:01 PM, 4th November 2014, About 9 years ago


Great discussion,Having same problems with central heating getting overused at the moment. I'm interested in the Landlord Plus Internet Product. Getting a bit bogged down with technicals ...Which internet provider to go with though. May I ask which providers the two members are using if don't mind me asking?

As I feel a bit up in the air as to getting one installed then realising it might not be compatable with Internet Room Thermostat. Seems like say any but ther must be some it doesnt work with. Also is it possible to have some sort of router which doesnt need a computer? to get the internet to be on all the time still thanks Trevor

Nigel Fielden

16:25 PM, 4th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Any internet provider will do Trevor. All you need to do is connect the hub for the thermostat system (whichever one - there are various providers) to the router provided by the internet provider. The connection is standard.

Steve Masters

17:03 PM, 4th November 2014, About 9 years ago

I already provide free internet via wifi to all my HMO tenants, so I just plugged the Inspire Home Automation smart thermostat gateway into to ISP provided modem/router that sits in the hallway. No problems with tenants abusing this. I just add a clause to the tenancy stating I provide a phone line for internet only, not to be used for other purposes.

I use BT Infinity (£26 pcm) or Plusnet (£20 pcm) over a BT line (£160 year) without problems, but as Nigel says, any ISP should be OK. If you are worried ask the smart thermostat provider if your chosen ISP is compatible before you order. Inspire support are very helpful.

If you already have internet then it's all very simple, if you don't then it might be overkill to get internet just for a smart thermostat. However, other smart home automation solutions are becoming mainstream, so it is the way to go eventually. Search "z-wave home automation", very interesting.

BTW, in case your wondering, I'm not affiliated to Inspire in any way, I'm just a satisfied user.

Landlord Trevor Mason

17:30 PM, 4th November 2014, About 9 years ago

I Really do Appreciate answering my questions so quickly both yous Thanks very much Nigel & Steve. Waiting hear back from two providers. Been looking into adding the clauses too I've been every which way you can to possibly over prepare for covering myself towards tenants and energy bills.

Its great idea to officially write it up though on tenancy as clause agree. Think just question striking the right balance towards using the tools remote heating,meters etc available to limit energy suppliers costs and at same time keeping tenants reasonably happy.

Will search z-wave now cheers. Does look great product yes defo worth it in long run .Thanks again!

Robert M

23:32 PM, 4th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Landlord Trevor Mason" at "04/11/2014 - 17:30":

I've now got three HMO properties set up with the Inspire Home Automation Landlord Plus room thermostats, and I've just ordered another two, but these won't be installed until end of next week.

The room thermostats can be linked to any internet provider's router, but personally I use Utility Warehouse for all my utilities (gas, electricity, phone, broadband) in all my properties, including my own home, as I was so impressed with their service and value that I became a distributor for them. Broadband is free for 6 months then £7.99 pcm thereafter, but I don't think I'm allowed to post the link on here so you would need to contact me direct for that.

In my HMOs I have changed the normal phone sockets into internet sockets only, so I do not need to write it into any occupancy agreements as it is physically impossible for residents to plug a phone in to the socket. Good idea to have it in the occupancy agreements, but as tenants often breach agreement terms, then I would recommend changing to an internet only socket as well.

Residents do complain about the room thermostats, as it means they are unable to turn all the radiators on full blast to dry their clothes, so although you can prove that the house is a constant 21 degrees, they will complain that it is cold, but what they really mean is they want to turn the radiators on full all day everyday, so that they can dry clothes in the house whenever they feel like it, rather than peg them out on the washing line, or wash them earlier in the day so they have more time to dry.

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