Check a property’s energy efficiency before buying

There are so many extra expenses involved when it comes to buying a new home that it can be difficult to keep on top of everything. Solicitors fees, stamp duty, moving costs and a hundred other little extras all add to the significant sum you are likely to invest. At this time, it can be easy to discount the role that long term costs will come to play in your new home. The truth of the matter is that some houses can prove to be considerably more expensive than others, irrespective of their buying price. A house with low energy efficiency will have higher energy bills and more home improvement costs. Here is a guide to some of the things you should check before buying a new property, and the measures you can take to improve a building’s energy efficiency.

How do you know if a building is energy efficient?

green home
In October 2008, the government introduced Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). These are a lot like the information that comes with a new fridge freezer or cooker, and explain how efficient a property is by giving it a rating between A and G (the most efficient being A). Every seller and landlord must have an EPC to be able to show you, before you decide to buy, which is valid for ten years. If you’re not sure exactly what the property’s rating will mean in terms of how much you will have to pay in energy bills, you can enter the reference number from the EPC at this website for more details.

Common reasons for low energy efficiency

Central heating boilers generally account for over half a property’s energy bills, so having one which works well and is energy efficient is essential. As with fridges and buildings, boilers also come with energy rating certificates (from A to G) which give you a clear indication of how expensive it is likely to be to run. As a general rule of thumb: the newer a boiler is, the more energy efficient it is likely to be. If the seller doesn’t have a certificate for the boiler, you can find its energy efficiency at this website.

boilerThere are many common boiler problems with old models, and boiler replacement costs can be quite high. If you decide to replace the boiler before moving into your new home, make sure you get more than one quote.

An energy efficient house is an insulated house. Two of the areas from which homes can lose the most heat are the loft and the walls. Make sure you check that the loft has at least 270 mm of insulation, and find out whether the walls are solid or cavity. Most homes built after 1920 have cavity walls, and in many cases, these will already be insulated. If they are not, it will cost somewhere in the region of £500 to get insulation installed, but you should make this back after a few years.

Make any changes early on

Expenses Whenever you can, choose to move into an energy efficient house or, if that is not possible, make the necessary improvements from the very beginning. This will result in lower energy bills, the overall reduction of the property’s carbon footprint, and a warmer, more comfortable new home for you and your family.

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