With the UK economy facing a year of recession and households struggling to pay their bills, tenants and their landlords face additional burdens. Failure to keep up with rental payments and allowing rent arrears to accrue causes problems for all involved. Tenants become fearful of losing their homes, and landlords face a loss of income and may even find it a challenge to pay their own bills.
One of the biggest headaches for householders is the dramatic spike in fuel prices. The UK Government has provided substantial financial assistance to help households to pay their pay their energy bills, but there are many ways that house holders can take action to save money.
Easy no-cost solutions for tenants
The simple act of turning down the temperature dial on a combi boiler down to 60°C could save the householder as much as £100 a year.
The flow temperature is the temperature that the boiler heats the water up to before delivering it to the radiators. This is not the same as turning down the room thermostat. The room thermostat sets the overall temperature for your home. By turning the flow temperature down, the room temperature will stay the same, it just means that it will take longer to achieve that temperature.
Additionally, £70 a year saving could be realized by simply turning down radiators in rooms that aren’t being used and only being turned up when in use.
However, people over 65, young children under 5, and those with underlying health issues, will be more susceptible to colder conditions. It is essential that they can be kept warm and healthy by maintaining a temperature of 18°C.
A further £70 a year saving cane be made by turning appliances off at the socket. All electrical home appliances, including televisions, computers, and game consoles, continue to draw power while in standby mode. Turning off the device at the socket and removing the plug will stop this unnecessary energy drain.
Changing your washing cycle down from 40°C to 30°C can reap up to £40 a year, while cutting down on the use of a tumble-drier can net an extra £70 a year saving.
Closing curtains at night, can prevent precious warmth and turning off all unnecessary lights can further reduce heating costs as well.
Low-cost solutions for tenants
Additional actions may involve a moderate level of expenditure for the tenant, between £10 to £150. But once these improvements have been made, they will soon pay for themselves in reduced in heating bills.
Finding and fixing draughts by applying appropriate draught-proofing materials is a cheap and extremely effective way to reduce energy bills and could save up to £60 a year.
Replacing standard lightbulbs with energy saving equivalents could bring savings of £55.
Energy suppliers, can install a smart meter free of charge which can be used to track energy use through the day and over the week to see where more savings can be made.
Spend-to-save home improvements for landlords.
These larger home improvements will involve more expense and may well be beyond the reach of many tenants. And while landlords may not see the immediate benefits of this expenditure, they will see long term benefits in the terms of reducing damage to their property from damp, mould, and condensation problems. They will also see the benefit of increasing the desirability of their property for future letting opportunities.
These improvements include insulating hot water tanks, installing smart thermostats and heating control systems, installing or augmenting roof and loft insulation, and fitting or renewing double glazing.
It might also be worthwhile considering renewing boilers, switching to heat exchange pumps and fitting solar panels. Although these may require some considerable initial out lay, they will provide long term benefits in the form of increasing the resale value of the property and keeping one step ahead of the governments long term energy strategy. In many cases, financial incentives in the form of full or part grants may be available.
The UK government has provided a very useful energy saving tool on GOV.UK that can give tailored advice on what improvements could be right for the property.