UK Covid19 Lockdown: Only emergency repairs allowed, Landlords and Estate Agents told

The latest advice issued today is that although tradespeople can complete repairs at properties if they take precautions, landlords should avoid face-to-face contact with existing or prospective tenants.

The government has told landlords and letting agents that they should not conduct house viewings or complete routine inspections of properties, but has said that their tradespeople can complete emergency repairs.

See the source imageBut confirmation has yet to come through from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government about essential tasks such as gas safety and electrical equipment testing and whether these will be exempt from the lockdown as ‘essential services’.

It is also understood that ministers are considering whether to allow many of the companies serving the private rented sector to continue doing their work if a property is owned by someone working in frontline health and emergency services.

Until yesterday industry organisation Gas Safe Register was recommending to landlords that they book inspections by an approved engineer as soon as possible if their renewal date was within the next two months.

The organisation says that following the lock-down announcement last night, it is urgently seeking guidance from the Cabinet Office and the Health and Safety Executive about whether residential property safety inspections will be deemed ‘essential services’.

Also, landlords who are refurbishing properties can continue their work as construction sites have also been given the green light as essential service, it was confirmed this morning.

But all this advice from government remains just that – guidance; the necessary legislation to make it an offence to ignore the rules has yet to make its way through parliament, although this is expected to be achieved at any moment.

One grey area is whether landlords can help tenants move into or out of a property; there are a large number of outstanding rental tenancy contracts that were signed and paid for up-front before the Coronavirus shutdown, and now lockdown, gripped the nation.

Source: LandlordZone

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How to read your smart meter and get the best from it

The major benefits of smart meters is that you no longer have to take manual readings, as your meter data is recorded automatically. Your smart meter is in constant communication with your energy supplier, ensuring that your energy bills are accurate and based on the most up-to-date figures – no more meter readings and no more estimates! However, if you would like to keep taking smart meter readings to keep an eye on your energy use, here’s how to manually read a smart meter.

Reasons to take a manual smart meter reading

  • You’ve switched energy providers and your smart meter isn’t compatible with your new supplier’s systems.
  • Stay in control of your energy use by setting budgets and comparing your energy use across the day/week/month.

How to manually read a smart meterSee the source image

If you prefer to take electricity and gas readings for yourself, here’s how you can check how much energy you’re using by reading your smart meter. You can read your smart meter by taking a look at your in-house smart meter display unit. This display will show you your daily, weekly or monthly energy use in terms of money, kilowatt hours and carbon emissions.

How to read a smart meter

Remember that when you got your new smart meter installed, the readings began from 0, so you will have a new set of readings – they won’t carry over from your old meter. Not all smart meters look exactly the same, but we’ve put together this guide that applies to most smart meters.

Your smart meter will generally display:

  • A budget market
  • Battery status
  • Time
  • Text area
  • Touch buttons
  • Light indicators
  • Costs and consumption
  • Fuel view
  • Energy display dial
  • Wireless signal strength
    how to read a smart meter

How to read a smart electric meter

Your electricity consumption is measured in kilo-watt hours (kWh), so this is the number you’ll need to look for. You won’t need to record the numbers after the decimal place. Here’s how to read different types of smart electricity meters

How to read smart electricity meter with a keypad

See the source image

  • Press ‘9’ on the keypad
  • A series of letter will appear
  • You’ll then see eight digits on the screen followed by the letters ‘kWh’.
  • These digits are your meter reading; in this case,

How to read an Economy 7 smart meter

This type of meter takes records day and night usage.
How to read an Economy 7 smart meter

  • Press ‘6’ on the keypad until the letters ‘IMP R01’ followed by eight digits appear (usually your night/off-peak reading).
  • Keep pressing ‘6’ until you see ‘IMP R02’ followed by eight digits (usually your peak/normal reading).
  • Use the digits ahead of the decimal points as you readings.

    How to take a smart meter reading if you have two buttons

    How to take a smart meter reading if you have two buttons

  • Press the ‘Display Select’ or ‘Display’ button.
  • The meter display will then scroll through to the meter reading.
  • Look for the number followed by kWh – this is your meter reading.

How to take an electric smart meter reading if you have A and B buttons

  • Press the A button
  • Keep pressing until you reach ‘TOTAL ACT IMPORT’.
  • The number shown below this is your meter reading.

OR

  • Press and hold the A button for at least two seconds.
  • Keep pressing A  to cycle through the displays.
  • The numbers you see followed by kWh is your meter reading

How to take a smart meter reading if your meter has 3 buttons

  • Press the button in the middle.
  • Your meter reading is the number shown below IMP.
  • If you have a two-rate meter, R1= Rate 1; R2 = Rate 2; T = total.
  • You can see all readings by pressing the middle button again.

If you have a button on the left and two buttons on the right:

If you have an orange button on the left and blue buttons on the right:

  • Press the single button.
  • You’ll see a row of digits with kWh – this is your meter reading.

How to read a smart gas meter

Both gas and electricity smart meters have a numerical keypad. Here’s what to do if you want to take a traditional meter reading:

How to read a gas smart meter if you have a keypad

How to read a gas smart meter if you have a keypad

  • Press 9 on the keypad.
  • You’ll see VOLUME on the screen
  • You’ll then see a row of digits followed by M3 at the bottom right – this is your gas meter reading.

 

How to read a gas smart meter if you have A and B buttons

How to read a gas smart meter if you have A and B buttons

  • Press the A button.
  • Keep pressing until you get to METER INDEX.
  • The digits shown below this is your meter reading.

    How to read a gas smart meter if you have a left arrow, a circle and a right arrow

    How to read a gas smart meter if you have a left arrow, a circle and a right arrow

  • Press the circle button in the middle.
  • Your screen will show ‘current meter reading’ at the top.
  • The row of digits followed by M3 is your meter reading.

How to read your smart gas meter if you have 3 square buttons

How to read your smart gas meter if you have 3 square red buttons

How to read your smart gas meter if you have 3 square red buttons

Your buttons may or may be labelled or unlabelled.

  • Press the button on the left.
  • You’ll see a row of digits followed by M3 – this is your smart meter reading.

How to read your smart gas meter if you have arrows to the right of the screen

How to read a gas smart meter

  • Press the arrow at the top.
  • You’ll see a row of digits followed by M3 – this is your meter reading.

See the source image

We hope that this guide is useful in helping you to take a manual meter reading from your smart meter and help you with home energy management to reduce your energy usage to save on energy bills and the environment, Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need any help!

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TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Safety at Home: Carbon monoxide kills

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless, non-irritant gas, killing 50 people each year in the UK and making hundreds more seriously ill.

CO poisoning occurs when gas-fired appliances such as boilers, cookers and fires are not operating correctly. With research indicating that nearly a quarter of UK homes have one or more defective gas appliance, it is vital your appliances are checked regularly.

See the source image

If your boiler is more than 10 years old or has been infrequently serviced in the past, you really should get it checked by a Gas safe registered engineer. Fitting a European standard certified audible carbon monoxide alarm is a vital second line of defence after having  your appliances safety checked. It is essential that your alarm is marked with the EN50291 safety standard and with the CE mark.

Vital signs and symptoms to look out for CO poisoning include:

  • Sooting and staining on or around your gas boiler or other gas appliances.
  • Excessive condensation in the room where an appliance is installed.
  • A lazy, yellow-orange gas flame instead of blue.
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and can be mistaken for flu, a virus and even food poisoning.
  • Breathlessness
  • Lost of consciousness

For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning visit http://www.hse.gov.uk

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TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

COP25 Climate Change: Major emitters disagree over UN deal

UN climate talks in Madrid enter their final scheduled day with divisions emerging between major emitting countries and small island states.

Negotiators are attempting to agree a deal in the Spanish capital that would see countries commit to make new climate pledges by the end of 2020.

See the source image

But serious disagreements have emerged over how much carbon-cutting the major emitters should undertake.

The talks have also become bogged down in rows over key technical issues.

Negotiators arrived in Madrid two weeks ago with the words of the UN secretary general ringing in their ears – António Guterres told delegates that “the point of no return is no longer over the horizon”.

Despite his pleas, the conference has become enmeshed in deep, technical arguments about a number of issues including the role of carbon markets and the financing of loss and damage caused by rising temperatures.

Source: BBC News

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Gas failure in part of UK render homes without heating in freezing temperature

Thousands of people spent the night without heat in freezing temperatures below zero after gas outage in Falkirk on Sunday morning.

Hundreds of engineers are visiting homes in the area as part of a major operation to tackle the gas network failure.

Fire brigade helping with distribution of heaters in Falkirk

Heaters and portable cookers have been distributed to vulnerable residents and 14 schools and nurseries are closed.

Gas infrastructure company SGN said it had now begun reconnecting supplies to homes across the area.

The company said previously that it had hoped to visit all 8,000 affected properties by Monday afternoon.

By 21:30 on Monday, SGN confirmed it had reconnected gas to 3,000 properties.

More than 250 engineers are going door-to-door to turn off gas supplies at the meter for safety reasons.

Falkirk Council said the majority of schools in the area, as well as Kinnaird Waters early learning and childcare centre, would reopen on Tuesday.

Bainsford primary school and nursery class, Larbert early learning and childcare centre, and Kinnaird primary school and Thistle Wing will remain closed.

Source: BBC News

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Essential tips on empty property

When a property is unoccupied – between tenants, awaiting sale, or the resident is absent for any reason, it is expected that the property will be exposed to greater level of risk than any other time.

Below are some few tips that can help;

  • Security – Review and implement adequate security measures and remove valuables
  • Water supply – To avoid the risk of freezing causing serious damage, systems should be drained down and the water switched off at the stopcock. Alternatively, the central heating system be active 24 hours per day (not timed) at a minimum of 15 degrees centigrade. If possible, the water should still be switched off at the stopcock (note – some boilers work on mains pressure, making this impractical). If any water is stored in the loft, the access hatch should be left open part way, allowing warm air to circulate in the loft space.
  • Water tank – Ensure it is kept warm or emptied
  • Regular visit – Inspect the property as often as possible
  • Gas and electricity – Ensure Gas and electricity are switched off at the mains if not in use.
  • Maintenance – Keep the property and grounds tidy
  • Insurance – If you don’t tell your insurer that the property is empty, at best the cover under your policy may be restricted. At worst be invalidated completely, leaving you totally uninsured. Many insurers will refuse to provide further cover, some may continue but with severe restrictions. There are specialist insurance companies that offer unoccupied property  insurance.

 

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Home energy saver: Buy green appliance

Most home appliances are switched on 24hrs a day or used everyday and as such uses the most energy and cost the most money to run in the home.

The next time  you have to replace your fridge, freezer, washing machine or dishwater, shop around to find one with a A or A+ energy rating. As these appliances use less energy, they also cost less to run. When buying a new appliance, look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo, which proves the appliance has met rigorous standards to qualify for the Energy saving Trust’s scheme.

Energy saving washing machines have to be AAA-rated to qualify, gaining an A in energy efficiency, spin efficiency and wash performance. Home appliance are used everyday, fridges, freezers are switched on 24 hours a day, so if you still have an old appliance, you’re sure to be wasting energy and money.

 

 

 

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

 

UK government suspends fracking indefinitely

The government has called a halt to shale gas extraction – or fracking – in England amid fears about earthquakes.

The indefinite suspension comes after a report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said it was not possible to predict the probability or size of tremors caused by the practice.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said it may be temporary – imposed “until and unless” extraction is proved safe.

Labour, Lib Dems and the Green Party want a permanent ban.

20 Properties damaged as mains water pipe burst in Tipton UK

A burst water main caused widespread property damage. Discoloured water gushed metres into the air and flooded Park Lane West in Tipton.

A house partially collapse due to the burst main on Monday afternoon (14/102019), South Staffs Water confirmed.

Tipton

Dramatic pictures from Park Lane West in Tipton, Birmingham, showed external walls had given way completely.

Pete Aspley, wholesale service delivery director at South Staffs Water, said: “Due to the burst water main, around 20 properties on Park Lane West appear to have been damaged, one of them severely.

Tipton water burst

“We have a team on site who are working with the emergency services and we are in contact with the people affected.

Read more from Yahoo News UK

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How to be Debt Free

Majority of us have debts which range in various degree, size and complexity. The most important thing about debt is how it is managed and the effect it has on our general wellbeing. This short article is about the most effective and affordable way to manage your debt and thereby being debt free in no time.

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REVIEW YOUR DEBT

The starting point is to have a comprehensive review of your total debt in a simple format that provide an overview of all your creditors and the amounts you owe. The total amount of debt and interest paid on each of the debts is very important to place priority to the sequence and affordable amount to payable. The best option is to have a debt payment plan bases on affordability and priority with categories such as non-negotiable, large amount, high interest, negotiable, small amount, low interest etc.

 

REVIEW YOUR INCOME AND EXPENDITURE

It is very important to review your income and expenditure with the aim of increasing your disposable income. There are several ways of doing that which will be a topic on its own. Our focus here is to maximise income and minimise expenditures as much as possible to have the much needed disposable income to manage debt effectively.

Home energy

TALK TO YOUR CREDITOR

Always let your creditor know as soon as possible if you are struggling or aware of a situation that will affect you making payment. Using your payment plan call all your creditors to negotiate an affordable amount and frequency of payment you can maintain. Most creditors will work with you to set an affordable minimum payment plan as long as possible.

 

REGULAR REVIEW OF PAYMENT PLAN

Once you have been able to set affordable payment plan with all your creditors, it is even more important to maintain and review your payment plan regularly to aim at making affordable adjustment where necessary to clear off your debt as soon as possible. Also don’t forget to seek financial help and advice either free or paid.

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Dennis Bebo MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP