Thinking of moving? Five questions to ask about the fuel bills

Tags: news

October 26, 2016

Understanding the energy efficiency of your next home might not be exciting, but with the average energy bill now more than £1,000 a year, it’s worth taking some time over.

Feeling the chill? You’re not alone. According to a recent poll, 60 per cent of us have already caved in and switched on the central heating.

But while the cost of energy bills in your current home might be familiar, what about your next one?

If you’re planning a move this winter, here are some things to consider about the energy efficiency of a home – before moving in.

What's on the EPC?

Energy Performance Certificates (or EPCs) set out a home’s energy efficiency on a scale of A to G - A being the most efficient - and estimated energy costs both as they stand now and after recommended improvements.

The law says that EPCs must be given to prospective buyers and renters for free, so take full advantage and use them to get a benchmark of energy usage and costs.

What's the insulation like?

Loft and cavity wall insulation are two of the most effective ways to keep heat in your home, so ask if either has been fitted. If the answer’s no, the next job is to find out is whether it’s possible.

So long as the home was built after 1920, chances are the walls have been built in two layers with a gap in between. This can be filled with cavity wall insulation which is usually made of mineral wool or foam. Homes built after 1990 tend to already have it.

Some energy providers – including EDF and Npower – offer free cavity wall and loft insulation (you don’t even have to be a customer) which can save around £500. A quick way of finding out if you’re eligible is to call the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234.

What are the windows like?

Find out what the kind of windows the home has - double or triple-glazed, for example. If they were fitted recently, try to get hold of a copy of the guarantee.

If the windows are old or just a single pane of glass, you might have plans to change the them. But bear in mind that covenants in leasehold or listed homes are likely to impose restrictions on which ones you choose, or even if they can come out at all.

However, don’t underestimate the effect of simple self-adhesive tape draught excluder which you can stick around the edges of the window sills. It costs around £8 a roll.

How old is the boiler?

If the boiler in the new home is more than 15 years old, it might be more efficient to replace it. New boilers cost in the region of £1,300 so, if you are buying, you may be able to negotiate on the cost.

Even if you have to pay, you’ll recoup the money eventually as upgrading from a G-rated to a modern A-rated boiler can lop around £340 a year off your energy bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

How green are the integrated appliances?

If you are buying or renting a home with integrated appliances – dishwashers, fridges and washing machines for example – check what energy-efficiency rating they are. For models built since 2010, they should be clearly marked A+++ to D.

Article taken from News&Star on 26th October 2016