Being a first-time home buyer can be daunting enough without having to worry about whether the property’s boiler is up to the job of providing you with plenty of heat and hot water. With that in mind, David Willetts, Commercial Director – Aftersales at Baxi Heating, gives his advice on what to look for in your heating system.
Moving into a new home can be an exciting time, before you get the keys to your new house, there’s a few things that you should consider. Take the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of the property, in short, this rating is used to provide information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs. The certificate also provides recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money. It is the seller’s responsibility to order an EPC before they market the home; if you’re buying the house, the seller must show you the EPC.
With efficiency savings in mind, viewing the EPC could even allow you to haggle down the price. For instance, if the house is rated as E, F or G then considerable work will need to be done to the property to boost its energy efficiency – meaning you could end up having to spend money replacing appliances such as the heating system or insulating the home. It’s worth talking with the seller to negotiate these costs and see if they will carry out any remedial works before you agree to buy.
Once you’ve got the keys you’ll be thinking about where to put your furniture and what colour to paint the kitchen. Too-often overlooked however, is the need to check your heating system. A few questions to ask yourself include, ‘does my heating system meet my needs?’, ‘when was the boiler last serviced?’, and ‘how old is the boiler?’. Knowing the answer to these questions, can help you to decide whether its time to replace the boiler or get it serviced.
When you buy a home, space is often the biggest consideration. If you know that the home needs a new boiler then it could be the right time to invest in a combination (or combi for short) boiler. Combi boilers don’t need any additional water tanks, freeing up space in the loft or airing cupboard.
Always make sure that you check what type of boiler you have installed when you move into a property. You may find that that the existing boiler is a non-condensing model. These will still provide you with heat and hot water but they can be expensive to run and maintain – the last thing you want to worry about when you have a new mortgage to consider.
While modern condensing boilers are over 90% efficient, an old standard efficiency boiler could be as little as 70% efficient (or less), so for every pound you spend on gas, 30 pence is wasted! Another problem could be that your heating engineer may have difficulty getting parts for older boilers. Although at Baxi, we make a commitment to hold parts for boilers for at least 10 years after we stop manufacturing them – any older, and you’re going to struggle finding genuine approved parts.
Where is it safe to install a boiler?
If you opt to replace or upgrade your boiler after getting your hands on the keys then there are one or two things you need to consider when getting a new one fitted.
If your boiler is going to be installed where there is a risk of it getting cold, such as the garage or loft, then check that the appliance has built-in frost protection. Your installer should also insulate the condensate pipe, so it doesn’t freeze in the winter and cause your boiler to shut down, leaving you with no heat or hot water when you need it most!
They can be unsightly, but one of the key things to think about is the boiler’s flue pipe, as this conveys exhaust gases to the outside, either through an outside wall or through the roof. Always be sure to check the location of the flue before you buy the home, as a poorly located flue pipe could be classed as a ‘nuisance’, leaving you counting the cost of getting the pipe relocated.
Another thing to consider is where the condensate pipe will run. This pipe removes the cooled down gases from the boiler, and should be fitted internally to avoid the risk of freezing. These are concerns that your Gas Safe Registered installer will already be aware of, and can offer expert advice and guidance on where best to install your new boiler.
If you’re in the market for more than just a home and are also looking to maximise fuel and energy efficiency, then considering replacing the existing boiler for a modern condensing boiler could be a great first step in your new property. Indeed, depending on the property, this could result in savings of up to £200 a year. Condensing boilers also have lower emissions of toxic gasses making them much better for the environment, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by over two and a half tonnes a year.
Moving into a new home is never stress-free, but by prioritising energy efficiency before you get the keys could save you from a hefty repair, replacement or upgrade bill once you move in.
We shouldn’t see the heating system as ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’. The boiler should be at the forefront of your mind when purchasing a home, after all – what’s a home without the comfort of heat and hot water?