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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Alex Williams

11:29 AM, 17th May 2014, About 9 years ago

You are far too humble 😉

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:33 AM, 17th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alex Williams" at "17/05/2014 - 11:29":

Now that is a new one on me! 🙂

Jeremy Smith

12:00 PM, 17th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alex Williams" at "17/05/2014 - 11:29":

One should always be proud to be so humble !

Matthew Sands

18:41 PM, 18th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi there...

...my comments are:-

...first of all, is there a room thermostat installed in a suitable area? If not, I recommend this as an absolute MUST. Without this, the boiler will be 'live' for 100% or any 'timed on' heating period, and will cycle on and off on it's own internal thermostat regardless of whether or not the house requires further warmth. Also it follows that the pump will be running continuously when the heating is timed on, this alone being approx equal to a 100w light bulb.

It is possible to get roomstats with a blank place over the knob, allowing you to choose the temp. I use Honeywell ones, usually obtained second hand off eBay for a few quid.

Another suggestion I would make is to offer the residents, as part of the tenancy deal, a set number of hours heating per day, and set the timer or programmer accordingly. Clearly if you find that controls are being varied you would have to act accordingly, such as by fitting some kind of lock or cover.

I am also assuming that a how water cylinder, if any, has it's own thermostat fitted on the side and acting on a motorised valve. If not, another place for great improvement. Also what is it set for. I usually go for about 50 to 55 deg c.

The blogger who mentioned about including a set cost only also had a good point.....

One other thing....I suggest you make it a requirement that the residents do not employ their own heaters eg fan heaters etc in their rooms.....> I had a situation once where an occupant was leaving these on out of spite. The upstairs flat got so hot that the heat began to descend the stairwell, where it came to my attention!

Hope the above is relevant and helpful.

Ian Ringrose

21:18 PM, 19th May 2014, About 9 years ago

The hot water tank MUST be set to at least 60 deg to stop Legionella, you are now required to do a formal Legionella risk assessment as well.

Robert M

21:57 PM, 19th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "19/05/2014 - 21:18":

A lot of combi boilers don't have a temperature gauge that measures in degrees, just a dial that indicates a gradual increase from cold to whatever the hottest temperature the boiler heats up to, so how do we know if it is set at 60 degrees or more? Are landlords expected to take a thermometer and measure the temperature each time they visit the property?

Ian Ringrose

22:09 PM, 19th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Normal Combi boilers are very low risk for Legionella as they don’t store warm water.

However the full HSE guidelines could be read to say you had to check the temperature of water at all the taps.

Pete Judd

11:23 AM, 20th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "19/05/2014 - 22:09":

My combi-boilers have a thermostatic valve fixed after the boiler which mixes cold water into the hot to deliver it at a constant warm temperature. That way even if the boiler is turned up it just delivers less hot water mixed with more cold. The tenants are quite happy with this and also there is less chance of people scalding themselves. The thermostats being mechanical require no power and hence no cost.

Ian Ringrose

11:53 AM, 20th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Having the water hotter can sometimes lead to less water being used, as people don’t wash up under a running hot tap if it feels too hot. However there are regs for max temperature for hot taps on new baths.

Alan Loughlin

8:50 AM, 21st May 2014, About 9 years ago

I think the problem lies in having the energy included in the rent, we rent a house where the tenants wanted the energy included, but I charge them this in addition to the rent, as a seperate ítem, they also consume a lot, but I do not care, they use more so up goes their payment, not my problem.

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