As landlords in England and Wales will be prohibited from renting out excessively draughty homes as of 2018, there is more incentive than ever to keep tenants warm and happy. Forget the recent, patronising suggestions from Ofgem, such as “eat a packed lunch to save money” – here are some less insulting tips on reducing heating bills.
Tips For Tenants
Only heat the room you use: This might sound painfully obvious, but tenants living in homes with central heating often think nothing of flicking the heat on for the entire day, even if they spend the majority of their time in the kitchen or living room. That means your whole upstairs floor is toasty, warm, and haemorrhaging money.
Check the temperature: When we wake up first thing on a winter’s morning, we’re all freezing. But turning the thermostat all the way up just isn’t worth it. Studies have shown that anything over 20 degrees Celsius is uncomfortably hot for prolonged periods of time – the optimal temperature is around 18.
Don’t block radiators: Arrange your furniture so that nothing is obstructing your radiators and heating vents. It is also a good idea to keep sofas and chairs away from exterior walls, so that you feel less in the way of draughts.
A smelly kitchen is a warm kitchen: Most modern kitchens are equipped with a vent over the hob, to clear away the steam and smells of cooking. But these vents also suck up warm air. The best way to keep your kitchen warm is to shut the vent off. Once you’ve finished cooking, turn off your oven and leave the door open – this will continue to emit heat for a good half hour, enabling you to eat your dinner in comfort.
Tips For Landlords
Check the doors and windows: It’s important to find any gaps in the windows and doors of a property that might let a draught out. Repair worn and torn weather-stripping, seal gaps with adhesive foam tape, or even invest in double glazing.
Insulate the fireplace: A ‘chimney balloon’ will prevent valuable warm air from escaping up the chimney. Of course, it goes without saying that if your tenants love their working fireplace, this is not advisable. You can also insulate the attic, including the access door, to prevent warmth from escaping through the upper levels of the property.
Fit the property with thermal curtains: Temperatures plummet during the night, and thermal curtains provide excellent insulation for windows, reducing heat loss by as much as 25%.
Install a programmable thermostat: In all likelihood, you’ve already done this. But it might also be worth making sure your tenants know how to use it, beyond the ‘on’ and ‘off’ switch.