Landlords should ask plumbers what they can do to get their properties heat pump ready without necessarily ditching the gas boiler, advises a top energy expert.
Speaking on the Hamilton Fraser property podcast, Rik Smith, head of tenancy services at Goodlord, said although they didn’t need to think about switching immediately, they could consider doing more insulation or fitting larger radiators so the boiler could be set at 50 degrees rather than 70 or 80 degrees, to provide a consistent lower temperature.
“A boiler needs to be the correct size to run efficiently,” he told listeners. “Fitting a 30kw boiler to a two-bed semi is too big and it will run inefficiently. Another tip is that if you have a hot water tank in a house, don’t be tempted to replace it now with a combi boiler. In the future, it will be to your advantage to store water so you’ll need a water tank.”
Smith also advised landlords to reach out to tenants who might be struggling with higher energy bills by telling them about available support, such as The Warm Home Discount Scheme. “The sooner you get sight that your tenant is struggling to pay, the sooner you can help them by asking if they’ve accessed that available money or to offer a payment plan.” He added: “Tenants should talk to energy suppliers who are obliged to help, and the online chat function can be very effective when getting hold of these companies rather than using the phone.”
Smith expects investment in renewables to accelerate and the demand for electricity to rise. “There will be increasing incentives for households to generate and store electricity,” he said. “There’s an idea that ‘time of use’ tariffs might help you stop using electricity at peak times while some kind of storage heaters might come back.”
Hamilton Fraser has published a guide for landlords to surviving the cost of living crisis.