Houses build in Belfast after 2002 have been complying with the latest Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) standards. For this reason, their energy rating is at the top end of the spectrum. However, houses built before 1920 tend to rate quite low in terms of energy efficiency. As Domestic Energy Assessors in Belfast (EPC Belfast), I am often asked by homeowners of old homes what they can do to increase the energy rating of their properties at the least cost possible.
In this article, I am going to provide two simple home improvements that I recommend almost always, that do not require the properties to be vacated and would increase your EPC rating by 10 to 15 points.
EPC improvement no 1: Install a Combi & Condensing Gas Boiler
This is my number one recommendation to all homes that use an old regular oil boiler or an old regular gas boiler. If there is mains gas in your street then investing in a modern gas combi condensing boiler is the best investment you can make. Condensing boilers are far more efficient than regular boilers. Expect to pay between £1,500 and £2,000 for the supply and installation of a combi condensing gas boiler. If there is no gas supply in your neighbourhood, then replace your old regular oil boiler with a new condensing oil boiler. The main advantage of this improvement is that the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating will jump significantly by 10 points or more.
Another major advantage of Combi boilers is that they allow instant hot water in your kitchen and bathroom. That means that there is no requirement for a Hot Water Cylinder, usually taking space in your hotpress. The water cylinder can be removed allowing for more storage space. In Northern Ireland, most oil boilers are in a boiler room at the back of the house. There is also an oil tank that feeds the boiler with fuel. Once you remove the boiler and the tank you will have more space in your rear garden. Then remove the hot water tank from the hotpress and fit in there your brand new combi condensing gas boiler.
EPC improvement no 2: Install new Heating Control Systems (HCS)
Properties built in Northern Ireland after 2002 would normally have a Programmer, a Wall Thermostat and Thermostatic Radiator Valves in all radiators. However, old properties would most likely not have them. Here is what you need:
- The Programmer which allows the occupants of the property to set times for the heating to come on and off.
- The Wall Thermostat which is usually is the living room area. Often, it is set at 18 degrees Celsius. Once the room reaches that temperature the heating goes off thus saving on heating oil or gas.
- The Thermostatic Radiator Valves (aka TRV) which are attached at the bottom of each radiator. Once the radiator reaches a desired temperature then the TRV stops the flow of water through the radiator. In this way, it saves the hot water.
If your house was build prior to 1920s then it is unlikely that these solutions would be present. I always recommend that homeowners spend the money needed for heating control systems and upgrading their boiler to condensing boiler. You will see a significant increase in your EPC rating.
For further information on Energy Performance Certificates in the Belfast area contact epc4less.