Energy advice for renters

The average student spends over £500 a year on energy in the private-rented sector. Check out our energy advice to make sure you’re not paying too much for your energy and have a warm and efficient home.

House-hunting Checklist

  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) All rented accommodation will have an Energy Performance Certificate which the landlord is legally obliged to let you see. The EPC has an A to G rating system, where G is the poorest level of energy efficiency and A is the best. You can search for your homes EPC online.
  • Signs of damp. When looking around a property, it’s important to look out for the tell-tale signs of a damp – smell, mould and condensation. A damp property is hard to heat and can have a significant impact on your wellbeing. Try and avoid damp properties or ask the landlord to take action. You can find more information on damp online.
  • Energy-rating of appliances. Appliances have a rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). The more efficient the product, the less it will cost to run. Find out more.
  • Heating. Heating is important to avoid problems of damp and to live comfortably. Check if the house is heated with gas or electricity, and ask the current tenants (if possible) how they find the heating.
  • Insulation. Insulation, including double glazing makes a home more energy-efficient, and therefore easier and cheaper to heat. Ask the landlord what insulation there is for the windows, walls and roof.
  • Gas safety certificate. If your property uses gas, your landlord must provide you with a copy of the Gas Safety Record. They must provide a copy to each tenant within 28 days of each check.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their property. The landlord must make sure the alarms work at the start of each new tenancy, and tenants are responsible for checking them and requesting new batteries or a replacement alarm.
  • Speak to current tenants. The best way to find out what a property is like, and how much it costs to run, is to speak to the current tenants. If you can, ask them what their experience has been.

Heating your home

  • Close curtains and windows to keep the heat in.
  • Open your windows for a short time after showering or cooking to get rid of steam and moisture, even when it’s cold. It requires more energy to heat moist air than dry air!
  • Fit simple low cost measures like “radiator panels” and “secondary glazing film”.
  • Put on layers to keep warm.
  • Understand your boiler settings and controls so you’re not heating an empty house.

Energy Saving

  • Don’t leave lights and appliances on unnecessarily. This uses energy and money.
  • Buy energy efficient appliances. The majority of electrical appliances such as light bulbs will have an energy efficiency label which ranges from A to G. The better the rating, the less the appliances will cost to use. Find out more.
  • Put a lid on your pan when cooking. It cooks food quicker and reduces condensation.
  • Defrost your freezer. It makes it run more efficiently.
  • Don’t overfill the kettle. It boils quicker and uses less energy with less water.
  • Wash clothes at lower temperatures. 30°C is fine for most clothes.
  • Take shorter showers. Heating water takes a lot of energy and is expensive.

Energy Bills

  • Switch supplier or tariff.  If you pay the energy bill directly yourself, you have the right to switch supplier or tariff. Switching can save a typical household up to £300 a year so it is worth making the switch. Check out a price comparison website, such as uSwitch or Look After My Bills to find the best deal for you. If you are worried about energy bills and falling debt, you can find advice online. Please note that currently the advice is not to switch until the energy crisis abates.
  • Understand your bill.  Bills can be confusing, in fact 60% of people in the UK find their bill hard to understand. Follow the guides to help you understand your bill.
  • Get a smart meter If you pay the energy bill directly yourself you can request a smart meter from your energy provider at no extra cost. Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity is being used and show how much it’s costing on a handy in-home display (IHD) –making it easier to identify energy wastage. Check out our advice video and a printable leaflet.
  • Take meter readings. It’s really important to keep track of your energy usage in order avoid nasty shocks, so we encourage you to locate your electricity and gas meters when you move in and take meter readings (take a photo of the readings on the meters). This will be really useful if you think your energy provider may have charged you too much later in the year.

Please note: Eligibility of smart meters may vary. Consumer action is required to obtain cost savings and budgeting benefits of smart meters.

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