Communal heating is a system where heating and hot water is produced from one large boiler instead of each flat having its own individual boiler. The boiler operating times are set by the council’s communal heating policy (see below). Tenants and leaseholders who are connected to the system pay for their heating along with their rent or service charges.
The ‘heating season’ starts on 15 September and lasts for 36 weeks, finishing on 24th of May. Generally, the heating is on for 18 hours a day between 6am and midnight but this can be influenced by external temperatures.. Some communal boilers are kept on 24hours a day because they can only provide hot water when the heating is on.
Communal heating provides many benefits compared to every flat having their own boiler:
- It’s cheaper – The Council can bulk-buys gas so your costs are cheaper than if you had your own boiler. As you pay the same amount every week it also means you don’t get a shock of a large heating bill over the winter.
- It protects the most vulnerable – Uswitch found that 7 in 10 households ration the amount of heat they use as they are concerned about their bills. With communal heating every household gets at least 18 hours of heat per day in the colder months.
- Damp and mould – In council blocks with communal heating, damp and mould is rare as the properties are heated adequately. Living in damp and mouldy conditions is bad for both your physical and mental health.
We have been listening to many residents’ concerns about communal heating. Some residents have been asking for the heating to be turned on during cooler spells over the summer months. In response, the council consulted residents on the amount of communal heating provided over the summer months.
The council has an ongoing process of upgrading the communal heating systems, where funding is available. The new systems are more responsive to changes in outside temperatures and give residents greater control over the heating in your home.