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

21:29 PM, 9th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Landlord Trevor Mason" at "09/11/2014 - 21:06":

Hi Trevor,

I have my master socket moved to a central position in the house so that all resident can get a good wi-fi signal, e.g. if three floors then it goes on the first floor (not the ground floor). I get an internet only socket installed. The wi-fi router is then plugged into this socket. It needs to be reasonably close to a double power socket so the router plugs into one, and the room thermostat sender unit plugs into the other. The router and the thermostat sender unit ideally need to be about 0.5 - 1.5 m away from each other, and they connect via the wi-fi, so an ethernet lead is not necessary.

The actual room thermostat can be placed anywhere in the house and it will send a wireless signal to the sender unit, which then sends it to the router so that it can all be controlled from your home computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone, from anywhere in the world. However, it is recommended that the room thermostat should be placed where a signal can reach the sender unit, so the least number of walls between the two the better.

The room thermostat does not need to be near the boiler. It can be several rooms away or even several floors away, as it is hard wired into the boiler by your electrician.

Landlord Trevor Mason

22:35 PM, 9th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Many Thanks Robert that great helps alot appreciate your quick response so much.

With me focussing on the cable (with the both ends connections) in the pack.Was making me believe the main connection router via the network was with that small lead. So thought proximity had to be very close. Ok see what mean now.

Think I understand yes it just wi-fi connects wireless so dont need "ethernet lead" to hook up to the main router yes. My kitchen would be ground floor L shape with bathroom/two rent rooms same floor and then 3 storeys up the layout is tough still.

That was/is my concern about wi-fi with so many floors. I will print your comments off take with me and help when speak to virgin engineer.

Trying to make it discreet with internet installed initially so not obvious its for the Thermostat get me drift if I can.

I'm one these persons whose great on everythink to do with computers but this one throwing me off. Thanks again for help.

Landlord Trevor Mason

22:44 PM, 9th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Landlord Trevor Mason" at "09/11/2014 - 22:35":

The router and the thermostat sender unit ideally need to be about 0.5 – 1.5 m away from each other, and they connect via the wi-fi, so an ethernet lead is not necessary.

Sorry ignore my 2nd paragraph as still needs be closely installed though. Sure get feedback from guy installing get ther in end.Wish the product came with the internet installed too ha

Cheers Trevor

Robert M

23:51 PM, 9th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Landlord Trevor Mason" at "09/11/2014 - 22:44":

When a phone line is connected it is usually to the master socket, and this is usually on the ground floor (often in a living room). When BT Openreach do this (every phone/broadband provider except Virgin and Kingston use Openreach contractors) they will not put the master socket in the place you may want it, they will just put it near where the line physically comes into the house. (Perhaps Virgin will be more accommodating and put the master socket upstairs for you?).

I get an independent telecoms engineer to then move the master socket to a location I choose, e.g. first floor, communal area, near an electrical socket. At the same time I get the socket changed from a normal telephone socket, to an internet only socket (so a phone cannot even plug into it). This is then best placed for an even distribution of the wi-fi signal to all the rooms, and also a suitable location for the sender unit of the thermostat.

If Virgin won't place the master socket where you want it, and make it an internet only socket, then you may need to get an independent telecoms engineer in afterwards to do this (if you want it done). I don't deal with Virgin anymore (not since 2006 when they failed to carry out line repairs for 10 weeks but kept billing me anyway) so I don't know their policies, but check whether moving the master socket is allowed or invalidates any guarantees etc.

Landlord Trevor Mason

13:31 PM, 11th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "09/11/2014 - 23:51":

Appreciate All helpful information Robert I actually ended up putting the internet where least expected it to go in the end. I figured they would check where we used have old virgin phone/internet that in attic room see if was live still.

And the reception was 3 bars spot on from the kitchen so all good using Latest hub internet only. Now just got to get my very in demand engineer to sort the Landlord Plus Thermostat out when gets round to it ha. Great bunch on here ..Hopefully I 'll be able add to the site and help others in future Thanks.

Landlord Trevor Mason

23:18 PM, 18th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Landlord Trevor Mason" at "11/11/2014 - 13:31":

We kept losing the connection on installation.

Two options are to get broadband moved to 1st /2nd floor
or look into getting powerline adapters to improve reception instead.

The two options probally equal the cost say give or take.

Has anyone used powerline adapters compatible with this product at all? Thanks.

Nigel Fielden

9:26 AM, 19th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi Trevor

I strongly suggest you fit a wireless access point on each floor. Ideally they should be cabled back to your supplier's router (Cat5 cable is cheap) but if not you can get some of them to daisy chain together using radio.

I always install this way and have never had any complaints from tenants or problems with coverage.

I have experimented with the plug-in extenders in the past and found them to be unreliable due to noise on the mains from appliances.

Robert M

9:53 AM, 19th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Landlord Trevor Mason" at "18/11/2014 - 23:18":

Hi Trevor, as advised previously, I always get the phone line's master socket moved to a central location in the property, so in a three storey property I would move the master socket to the first floor, and change the socket into one that only a router will plug into (so tenants cannot plug in a phone and run up your bill). When the router is centrally located in the house, it provides the best wi-fi signal to all residents, AND as the room stat sender unit is installed near the router, this will be well placed for receiving the signal from the actual room thermostat (wherever you have placed this).

Not sure from your post what exactly is losing connection.
Is the router itself losing connection to the internet? or
the sender unit losing connection to the router? or
the room thermostat losing connection to the sender unit?

The answer to your problem depends on the answer to the questions above.

I have not used the plug in extenders, but (like Nigel) my telecoms engineer advises against them.

Landlord Trevor Mason

11:35 AM, 19th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Many Thanks Nigel & Robert

The unit with the digital screen menu controls was losing connection
to the thermostat sender unit/connected to the router located in the same attic room.

So when gas engineer was installing he kept having to walk from boiler
which was in corner of kitchen to say about roughly 14 yards away and place the digital unit that distance to collect the data during the set up.

He was placing digital unit next to the boiler which turned out to be bit of
blind spot.

Looks like best bet is get telecoms engineer out or last resort the power adaptors

Moving the mains internet connection seems most common sense solution
and placed as you so rightly suggested from beginning.

Guess wont know if power adaptors work either but yes have same concern over unreliable signal as both mentioned.

Had feeling this might happen but didnt know 100% till yesterday.

So just holding off contacting the broadband engineer at the moment..

Robert M

14:07 PM, 19th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Landlord Trevor Mason" at "19/11/2014 - 11:35":

I'm not sure why you have the sender unit and router in the attic, seems a strange place to put it. The further away from the room stat you put the sender unit, (particularly through floors and walls) the less signal will get to it.

The room thermostat (unit with the digital display) can be put anywhere, it does not need to be near the boiler. Indeed it would not make much sense to have it next to the boiler in the kitchen when you are trying to control the heating in the rest of the house, as kitchens tend to be the hottest area (especially next to a boiler). I would suggest putting the room thermostat at about shoulder to head height, in a communal room or hallway, but away from any draughts (not near external doors or windows).

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