How to save energy and money when renting

Illustration of house wall showing energy saving tips for renters

Saving energy might feel a little out of your hands if you’re renting your home.

But there's still plenty of easy, free or low-cost ways to improve the energy efficiency of your rented home, lowering your energy bills and reducing your impact on the environment.

 

Remember though, always seek permission from your landlord or housing provider before making any alterations to better insulate your home and make it more energy efficient.

 

1) Change the lightbulbs to LEDs

LEDs are about 10 times more efficient than a traditional light bulb and have and a tenth of the running costs, meaning the simple switch could save you around £240 a year.

For all things bulb, go to the Energy Saving Trust’s page on energy saving light bulbs.

 

2) Get to know your heating controls and boiler system

As a renter, it’s likely that you may have had to deal with a number of unfamiliar heating controls in your time and may not quite know how they work.

But knowing how your heating works is one of the most efficient ways of saving you money. The Centre for Sustainable Energy have a brilliant guide on getting to grips with heating controls.

And if boilers leave you feeling confused, have a watch of this video to make sure you’re using your boiler as efficiently as possible.

If you have a hot water tank, check that it’s programmed to heat up your water at intervals perhaps an hour in the morning and again in the evening. Only turning your hot water on at the times you need, rather than keeping it heated all day long, could save you up to £150 a year.

 

3) Invest in a window sealing kit

If you don’t have double glazing in your rented home, a good short-term solution for chillier spells is to seal your windows with film to stop heat escaping. 

Have a watch of this step by step guide to sealing your windows, and remember to seek permission from your landlord.

 

4) Draught-proof your home

Draughts can appear in all sorts of places. Windows, doors, keyholes, letter boxes, loft hatches and pipework that leads outside.

A great way of preventing these draughts is to buy self-adhesive foam strips. Here’s how to apply them:

  • Find where the draught is coming from.
  • Wash and dry the window or door that needs draught-proofing.
  • Buy the right thickness of self-adhesive foam for the gap (it comes in various sizes).
  • Cut the length you need.
  • Apply the sticky side of the strip onto the side of the door that the window or door close on to (not the window or door itself).

Take a look at this step by step guide to sealing drafts at home. 

For the bottom of your doors, you can even make your own draught excluder very cheaply.

 

5) Bleed your radiators

If your property is fitted with gas central heating the radiators may not be working to their full capacity because of air bubbles trapped inside them. These air bubbles can be released by what’s known as ‘bleeding’ your radiator.

To check if your radiator needs bleeding, follow these steps:

  • Run hands over radiator when it’s on. If it’s cool at the top and hot at the bottom this probably means it needs bleeding.
  • Switch your central heating off at the boiler and wait for the radiators to cool down before you bleed.
  • Find your release valve at the top of the radiator (with a small square pin) and use the radiator key to release the trapped air.
  • Before you start, put towels between the radiator and the wall and under the radiator and bowl underneath to catch any water.
  • Don’t remove the valve completely, just loosen slightly to release the air.
  • When you’ve released all of the air, water will start to pour out of the valve. Shut the valve with the key and your radiator should be back to full working order.

Here's a great step by step guide to bleeding your radiator. 

 

6) Wrap up your pipes and hot water tank

Insulating your hot water cylinder with a jacket (at least 80mm thick and costing around £15) will keep your hot water warmer for longer, meaning less energy is used heating your home, saving you money.

Covering your hot water pipes with foam insulation will also keep costs down by keeping your water warmer for longer.

Watch this guide for some simple tips on how to do this.

 

7) SWITCH

One of the easiest ways to save yourself money is to change your gas and electricity supplier. There’s a myth that if you’re renting, you’re unable to change your supplier.

MYTH BUST!

If you're responsible for paying the gas and electricity bill directly to the supplier, it's within your rights to change your supplier. This includes properties with a prepayment meter. (Do make sure to check for any special clauses in your tenancy agreement around this, or if your landlord has nominated a 'preferred supplier')

All it takes is a quick phone call or online switch, and you could be saving money in minutes.

People are saving around £219* when they switch to Bristol Energy. Why not see how much you could save?

 

For even more tips:

  • visit our energy saving page.

  • Or give us a call. All our customer care staff are trained to offer energy efficiency advice.

  • If you're in Bristol, you can also pop into our Hub for a chat.

 

Advice and support can also be found at:

 

For more advice about your rights as a tenant:

contact Citizen’s Advice or go to the UK Government site on private renting rights.

 

*Projected average customer saving when switching gas and electricity supply to Bristol Energy based on Ofgem’s standard domestic consumption values.

 

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