This list of FAQs has been developed with input from the Tenant Advisory Group and feedback from Northern Housing Consortium’s Resident Engagement Conference.

It aims to address common resident concerns and queries.

Answers to some of the questions will depend on your organisation’s policies and procedures. Always double check the answers before sharing these FAQs with residents.

General FAQs

You will need to update this with timeframes from your own programme.

Common timeframes include:

  • Solar panels: Two days
  • Air source heat pump: Five days
  • Floor insulation: One day
  • Loft insulation: half a day

This will depend on the type of work that is being done, and what your processes are. You need to be honest when answering this question so residents know what to expect and can prepare. You can also include ways you can support them to minimise the disruption.

Broadacres Housing provides residents with the below information about disruption when they have an air source heat pump installed:

Air source heat pump: You will be without central heating and hot water for three to four days, though the works can take up to five days in total. We can provide you with temporary heaters, or you may want to stay with a family or friend.

Please clear areas where work will happen, such as around heaters, hot water tank cupboards and where the new radiators and hot water cylinder will be installed. Please take down pictures, ornaments or anything that could get damaged. We may need to lift the flooring on your first floor to install pipework, so please keep these floor spaces clear.

After the install, we may need to carry out some joinery work such as boxing in of pipes. This will be carried out on subsequent days.

Having energy efficiency work done will not affect your rent. Rent increases for social housing are set by the government each year and are not affected by having work done on your home.

Energy efficiency work will not normally affect your service charge, though this will depend on what your service charge covers.

Energy efficiency measures are designed to lower the amount of energy you need to use. This means your bills should be lower than they would be, had you not had the work done.

This depends on what has been fitted, however many common types of energy efficient improvements will keep your home cooler in extreme heat.

Insulation stops heat being transferred from one place to another, so it will stop heat from the sun warming your house as much. However, it will also keep heat generated in the home trapped in.

If you want to keep your home cool you will need to do things to reduce the build up of heat inside your home such as:

  • Closing curtains and blinds, especially when the sun is directly on a window.
  • Opening windows at cooler times of day.
  • Using LED rather than traditional light bulbs; they create less heat as well as saving energy.
  • Turning off electrical appliances if they’re not in use.
  • Reduce the amount of cooking you do in the heat by choosing options like salad or sandwiches.

All homes need to be well ventilated to prevent damp and mould.  Mechanical ventilation systems are often installed in homes that are airtight to prevent a build up of moist or stale air. Trickle vents on windows can also help ventilate your home.

This will depend on your policy. However, If residents must cover the cost of redecoration following work, this could put them off having it done. Our research has found it’s beneficial to give residents the choice of having their homes redecorated or receiving vouchers to cover the cost of doing it themselves. If the housing provider redecorates residents should be given a choice of colours. This will make them feel part of the process and gives them a choice in how they wish to have their home decorated.

This will be dependent on your policy. However, some providers have reported that worry about damage to floor covering is a common concern, and that offering to replace flooring has helped build trust with residents. Replacing floor coverings has made residents feel happier about the work due to be done on their home.

What you offer will depend on your policy. This was flagged by the Social Housing Tenant’s Climate Jury as an important area to keep residents updated about.

This answer was provided by the Health and Safety Executive and Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities:

This depends on what type of insulation is used where and as part of what system. It is therefore very important to ensure that any installation complies with the relevant requirements of the building regulations and building works are undertaken by competent professionals.

The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) is committed to ensuring that retrofit works are aligned with building safety regulations, and requires that all recipients of funding demonstrate compliance with all appropriate safety and construction standards.

Also, in line with PAS2035:2019 standards, a retrofit coordinator will advise on suitable measures that can be installed in all homes, mitigating against potential negative impacts, unnecessary installations, and protecting value for money.

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, the Government has made a concerted effort to improve the fire safety guidance to the building regulations, including but not limited to, a ban of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings, clarification of the guidance, and the introduction of a new building safety regulator.

The Building Safety Act, which became law in April 2022, will toughen construction product regulations and impose more stringent requirements on all construction products, especially those that are safety critical. This will include a new legal requirement for manufacturers to ensure that products are safe before they put them on the market.

Heat pumps

Heat pumps work best and use less energy if you set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature and do not adjust this or turn off the heat pump. They will only warm the radiators if the temperature in the home drops below what the thermostat is set to.

If you switch the heat pump on and off, or move the thermostat between high and low temperatures, the heat pump will have to work much harder, and you’ll end up using a lot more energy.

This will depend on the heating system you are replacing. Most people will save money on bills if:

  • They replace an oil-fired heating system or an older inefficient gas boiler.


  • Fit with a heat pump with a well-designed heating system (the correct size radiators or underfloor heating)


  • Have other energy efficiency measures such as installation, installed.

Heat pumps are three to four times as efficient as gas boilers but run on electricity. The price of electricity is expected to fall over time, so they are likely to offer even better savings in the future.

It is difficult to generalise about costs, so it’s best if you have individual conversations about residents’ personal circumstances. Things like the energy tariff the customer is on will also impact costs, so you could offer support to find the best value tariff.

If you have data about energy bills in similar properties, where the same work has been done, you could share this to give residents a better idea about costs.

Air source heat pumps need to be serviced once a year to make sure they are running properly. This will include things like checking refrigerant levels, cleaning filters, and checking airflow.

You can choose the temperature you would like it to heat your home to, using the thermostat. As with other heating systems, it is recommended to set your thermostat to between 18 and 21 degrees.

Heat pumps don’t produce hot water on demand like a boiler. Usually, a hot water cylinder would be installed so you can have hot water when you need it.

If you don’t have space for a hot water cylinder there are other alternatives, such as heat battery or a hybrid system with a boiler for hot water.

According to manufacturers’ websites they usually last between 15 and 25 years.

No – they generally produce about 40 decibels of sound, going up to 60 decibels if they’re working hard. 40 decibels is the level of noise you get from your fridge, 60 decibels is equivalent to a normal conversation. A lawnmower makes 85 – 90 decibels of noise.

This will depend on your organisation’s policy. When an electric heating system is installed (such as heat pump) gas is usually capped off so you won’t be able to continue using a gas cooker. If you kept the gas supply just for a cooker, you would only use a small amount of gas, but would still have to pay the service charge for the gas supply, meaning you are likely to pay more than if you had the gas supply capped off, and use an electric cooker.

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