HMO I live in has Zero Insulation

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    Yes, you're absolutely right, this is the first home I've managed the bills for. I went with Bulb because they were the cheapest on comparison sites.

    An important thing to mention is that our house was empty half of December with the heating set to 10C for Christmas holidays. So £150 for 2 weeks of usage seems about right then.

    We've got a good programmable thermostat, I just don't see the benefit in running it overnight when everyone's tucked in bed - who needs 20C overnight? You'd be sweating like a pig. Like others have said, the rate of heat loss is proportional to the difference in temperature indoor and outdoor, so by heating overnight we're just throwing more energy into the loft for no good reason.
    We run it 07:00-10:30, 16:50-23:00 during the week, 08:00-00:00 on the weekend.

    The main problem we face is that the living room and kitchen (located at the centre of the house) are lovely and hot where we've got the thermostat set to 20C. However, bedrooms are 2-4C colder than the living room.

    So we're faced with three decisions:
    1. Keep the thermostat at 20C, keeping the kitchen and lounge warm, but leaving the bedrooms a cold.
    2. Set the thermostat to 22C, making the kitchen/lounge way too hot, but the bedrooms a nicer temperature.
    3. Properly insulate the walls and loft so that (hopefully) the bedrooms don't lose so much heat and stay warm. That way we get the goldilocks situation.

    Alternatively, maybe I need to get my adjustable spanner out and crank down the living room and kitchen radiators even further (they're already open just 1/4 a turn!).

    Like you say, this stuff is new to me.


      Check the radiators are all properly bled too -- often the upstairs ones are those that get some air inside (they should be piping hot at the top and the bottom of the radiators). Even if they are hot at the tops you might want to check them out. You could I suppose turn one downstairs one off altogether (often unless they have thermostatic valves they don't really go down much until they are nearly shut).

      I wasn't intending any disrespect by the way -- but a house is a big machine, and things cost lots more than you think they do.


        I've already bled them, that was the first thing I did. The landlord had turned all the radiators valves on maximum when we first got the property, so rooms at the 'end' of the heating loop got absolutely no heat. We've had to balance all the radiators ourselves, so I suppose there's some more experimentation to do - I'm going to give your idea of turning one off downstairs a go.

        And yes I'm sure the prices do add up, although we do pay £27.3k per year to the landlord in rent.

        Thanks for the advice


          Any system upgraded at all recently will have TRVs on the radiators. The one in the room without shouldn't have one. If the others stay cold when the the reference room is at normal temperature and the TRVs are full on, the system needs rebalancing. However it is normal for bedrooms to be set colder in a normal house, but, if the bedrooms are effectively bed sits, that might not be reasonable.

          Once the system is balanced you can trim the bedroom temperatures with the TRVs.


            Your problem seems to be due to heat loss caused by inadequate insulation in the loft.

            If you are paying £27K in annual rent, you should ask the landlord to pay for installing 270 mm insulation over the roof joists.


              I agree. I think that full loft insulation would make a huge difference to both the bills and the feel of the place. See if you can persuade the landlord or investigate the free offers. You still have a few cold months left before Summer.



                Looks like we're not eligible for any of the free offers.


                  If you're moving out soon it's possibly not cost effective, but, if the situation arises again, just buy some insulation.
                  It'll pay for itself in a couple of years.

                  But the landlord doesn't pay the heating bills, so there's no incentive for them to do it (unless the EPC drops to an F).
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


                    Thank you for educating me as to how this works.

                    It would be good to have a government mandate all rented houses reach a higher standard, especially with our knowledge and attention to Climate Change, where Britain's horribly inefficient and gas-reliant homes are a threat to us ever achieving net-zero Carbon by 2050 (see link below).

                    With heating being responsible for 37% of the UK's carbon emissions, it seems inevitable that sweeping and radical regulation of rental standards is the easiest and most effective route to reduce our carbon footprint. It seems inevitable this will happen at some point.

                    I think a minimum EPC of C by 2025 would be an ambitious move. Exceptions can apply to properties that can't be modified due to being a listed building, etc.

                    The added benefit is that it allows the government to pretend they're being tough on rogue landlords (as surely any decent landlord already has their property at C).
                    The United Kingdom made history last year when it became the first major economy to commit to pumping no more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than it removes by 2050.


                      The government does mandate that all rental properties reach a high standard, but that standard is lower than the D that yours already rates. (It is a little complex, in that things don't have to be done if the cost too much.)


                        If the hallway is up to temperature but the bedrooms are cold, then the bedroom radiators are likely undersized. The quick solution is to bring up the temperature to 22. Then the living room and hall will be a little bit hot, whilst the bedrooms will not be quite as cold as they were. Obviously this will cost a bit more.

                        I agree it's pointless running heating overnight, I certainly don't do it in the house I live in.

                        I would (as others) expect utility costs for a small 7 bed to be more than 150 average over year, so definitely much more in coldest months.

                        Just because EPC suggests cavity insulation does not mean a property is suitable. In older properties it can cause damp bridging as the cavities in older properties are much narrower and the beads are designed for modern sized cavities.

                        As your moving anyway probably don't get worked up about it. Just bump the heat up a bit.


                          Originally posted by oscarandjo View Post
                          I think a minimum EPC of C by 2025 would be an ambitious move. Exceptions can apply to properties that can't be modified due to being a listed building, etc.
                          I really don't think it is so simple. Such mandating will result in a massive environmental catastrophe as older properties are simply destroyed. There is a massive amount of energy and so on involved in destroying and building properties and setting the bar unrealistically high actually causes more harm than it prevents (and that is apart from the huge destruction of cultural heritage). There are millions and millions of properties that are not worth destroying and only a tiny number of these are "listed".

                          Much the same happened with wonderful schemes years back that caused mass destruction of perfectly good cars.


                            Originally posted by oscarandjo View Post
                            It would be good to have a government mandate all rented houses reach a higher standard.

                            I think a minimum EPC of C by 2025 would be an ambitious move.
                            My rental property, built in 1930 with no cavity walls, has an EPC of D. The only thing that would get it to a C, is solar panels. I'm not paying for that, I'd get rid of it.


                              Originally posted by Mrs Mug View Post

                              My rental property, built in 1930 with no cavity walls, has an EPC of D. The only thing that would get it to a C, is solar panels. I'm not paying for that, I'd get rid of it.
                              So you're saying you have under-floor insulation, 270mm loft insulation, LED bulbs, a modern A-rated Combi Boiler, double/triple glazing throughout, TRVs, a modern programmable thermostat, draught excluders, a modern double-glazed PVC front & back door, sealed chimneys and still get a score of D? I call BS.

                              Solid Walls were previously seen as "bad" on the EPC rating but the RLA campaigned for it to be changed, so maybe since you had that assessment the score might be better now?
                              New software being used to calculate EPCs could see around 80,000 PRS homes re-banded – meaning some landlords may not have to carry out potentially expensive improvement works. New rules concerning Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards come into force in April 2018. From that date, any properties rented out in the private rented sector will need …


                                Originally posted by oscarandjo View Post
                                I call BS.
                                Really. The assessment was done in September. The only thing missing from your list is the under floor insulation. Even with that fitted, it would still be a D.

                                This is the real world. Not just the fantasy world that you seem to think is easily achieved.


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