How to tell if your next home will be warm
The topic of staying warm at home has never been more pertinent. In the face of a cold winter and rising fuel prices, Ovo Energy – Britain’s third-biggest energy supplier – sent an email to its customers in January, containing ideas on how to stay warm.
Ovo’s advice was ridiculed in the press. The firm’s ‘simple and cost effective’ tips included cuddling your pets and loved ones to stay cosy, eating ‘hearty’ bowls of porridge and consuming ginger (but not chilli as that makes you sweat) and doing a few star jumps.
While the pointers were well-meaning, they aren’t very practical on a long-term basis. A better solution is to ensure your next property is as energy efficient as possible, allowing you to enjoy a warm home without resorting to a daily diet of Quaker oats.
EPC ratings are your best friend
If you are moving home soon and want to know if the property will retain heat, there are a few things you can look out for. The first is the EPC rating – which shows how energy efficient the property is. All dwellings, whether to rent or for sale, will be listed with an EPC rating – look out for the coloured bar graph on our property details.
Properties are given a letter to show how energy efficient they are – an A rating is the best and G is the lowest. Although properties for sale can have any EPC rating to be sold, landlords can only rent out properties that have an EPC rating of E or above.
If a property’s current EPC is more than 10 years old – or if the home doesn’t have an EPC at all – an energy assessor will visit and look at certain aspects to decide how good its energy performance is. The heating system makes up the largest part of the EPC calculation, so a high rating is a good indicator that the property will be warm. Also taken into consideration by the assessor are windows, loft insulation and the external structure – all of which have an impact on how well heat is retained and cold air kept out.
Ask to see energy bills
While an EPC certificate will provide a guide to a home’s ability to generate heat and stay warm, seeing energy bills or smart meter readings from winter months will give you an idea of how heavily the current occupants rely on gas and electricity.
Energy bills are good for guidance but ensure you know if the property is heated using a gas-fired boiler or by electric storage heaters when interpreting the figures. In addition, bear in mind other energy usages outside of heating a home – lighting, powering electrical goods and cooking on a gas stove, for instance.
Be vigilant on viewings
If you are looking around a property between the months of November and March, there’s a good chance the heating system will be fired up when you arrive. Check the warmth coming from radiators and ask to see the boiler, noting the make and model. Don’t forget to ask about alternative sources of warmth, such as underfloor heating, electric towel rails, wood burning stoves, open fires and gas fireplaces.
If you would like more information on EPC ratings and what to look out for when moving home, please contact us today.