If you rent a property, particularly an older property, the energy saving measures available to you will be limited. Often landlords have no incentive to make their property more energy efficient because you pay the heating bills.
Investing your money in measures that pay back over a number of years insulating rented homes makes little sense when you’re on a six month contract and could be gone without getting your money back. There are quite a few things you can do that are cost effective though that will pay you back and will make your life more comfortable.
Older properties with single-glazed windows and traditional wooden external doors lose huge amounts of heat through drafts. Foam draft proofing strip is very cheap to buy from any DIY store and easy to fix. Just peel off the backing tape and stick to the frame.
The financial pay back is a matter of weeks and the improvement in comfort tremendous.
Plumbers often put radiators on outside walls under windows. The idea is to prevent cold spots in the room but it’s very inefficient as you are heating the outside world as much as the room!
First of all you want to reflect heat back into the room rather than heating the external wall. This is easy and cheap to do. Take some corrugated cardboard and cut to a size that will fit behind the radiator between the support brackets. Stick ordinary aluminium kitchen foil to the cardboard, shiny side out. Fix the reflective sheet to a bamboo cane (cheap in garden centres). The cane should be wider than the sheet so it ledges on the radiator support brackets. Hang behind the radiator.
It’s not visible in the room. It costs pennies and can be taken with you on moving out if you wish. Because it is so cheap, pay back is very fast. Rooms will heat faster and be more comfortable.
A radiator shelf a few centimetres above the radiator will deflect rising heat into the room rather than into the window or straight up to the ceiling. You can find brackets that hold the shelf that just slide behind the radiator so you don’t need to drill and damage walls.
Just buy some wood or melamine to make the shelf. Cost is but a few pounds per radiator and certainly well worth doing on radiators under windows. Easily removed on moving without damage.
A lot of heat is lost through windows, especially old single-glazed windows. Heavy, lined curtains will help keep the heat in the room by creating a barrier to the cold windows. A further step is to fix the edges of the curtains to the walls with a Velcro strip, further sealing the window from the room.
Roller blinds or vertical or Venetian blinds just in front of the window help to retain heat as well. There’s nothing to stop you having them along with heavy curtains.
On moving the curtains go with you and the blinds can be taken down but there will be a little patching up to do after the blinds come down.
Stripped and polished floor boards may well be fashionable but a good thick rug will make the room more comfortable and it’s yours to move with you.
A friend of ours rented a flat in a converted Victorian house with 12 feet ceilings. In winter it was toasty warm above their heads but cold below. He tried a ceiling fan but it made little difference. His solution was cheap and effective.
He got a large cardboard tube from a carpet supply shop which was placed in the corner of the room reaching to 6 inches from the ceiling. At the base he connected the tube to a robust cardboard box strengthened with some scrap wood and fitted a cheap extractor fan to the box.
Heat was drawn from the ceiling level down to floor level and he halved his heating costs!
As you can see, just because your property is rented doesn’t mean you can’t take some measures to cut your energy usage and subsequent bills. Appropriately insulating rented homes