Tips on preparing for the survey
The EPC survey looks at a number of key features regarding your property (these include the level of loft insulation, the type of heating system you have and its controls, the method of providing hot water, the type of glazing installed and the proportion of low energy light bulbs in place). These are assessed in order to give your property an energy rating.
To improve the energy rating your property will receive. there are a number of practical steps you can take before the survey. The tips below have been compiled to help you achieve a higher energy rating – and will save you money as well!
The tips have been arranged in order of the most cost-effective first, starting with replacing standard light bulbs with the low energy variety. Some of the later tips (such as replacing a gas boiler with a condensing combination boiler) would only make financial sense if the existing boiler was approaching the end of its natural life.
See which of these can be applied to your property –
1. Replace as many of the light bulbs in your home with energy saving light bulbs as you can. Nowadays low energy bulbs have come down in price substantially and are well worth installing wherever possible in your home. Even some of the non-standard sizes used in some light fittings are now becoming more readily available.
2. If your property has a hot water tank check that it has an insulating jacket or is sprayed with insulating foam. The insulating jacket should be a snug fit. The current recommended thickness is 160mm. If the thickness is less than that, you can fit another jacket on top of the existing one.
3. If you have gas central heating, check that you have thermostatic radiator valves fitted to all radiators (except one radiator, which acts as a safety bypass). This gives room-by-room control of the temperature and cuts down on energy consumption.
4. Ensure that your central heating system has a timer to switch the heating on and off at pre-set times and that the system has a room thermostat fitted.
5. Consider topping up your loft insulation. The current recommended thickness is 270mm (most people have much less than this). There are Government funded schemes which make this a cost-effective option (see www.energysavingtrust.org.uk for more details).
6. If your home has cavity walls, consider cavity wall insulation to cut down heat loss. Again, there are Government schemes which make this a relatively cheap way to conserve energy.
7. If you don't have double-glazing you are losing around a fifth of the heat through the windows, so consider having double glazing or secondary glazing installed in your home. From 2002, most double-glazing comes with a "low-e" coating. This coating helps to keep your rooms warmer by allowing the sun's energy to enter through the glazing and then prevents it from leaving by reflecting it back into the room.
8. The biggest source of energy inefficiency in the home is often the type of boiler installed. For example if your gas boiler is over 10 years old, it will not be very efficient by today’s standards. Most modern boilers are designed to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency. Combination ("combi") boilers produce hot water on demand and are more efficient than standard boilers which need a hot water tank for storage. Condensing combi boilers are even more efficient.