8 Immediately Actionable Housing Improvements for a Better EPC Rating

31st March 2021
Harrison Price
Well, while having a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) is mandatory for selling or letting your property, you can easily boost your energy rating with these simple steps.

What is an EPC?

An energy performance certificate or EPC, is a document that is required every time you sell or let a property. The certificate displays the estimated costs for heating, lighting and hot water and shows the carbon emissions released over three years.

How do I get an EPC?

If you’re looking to get an EPC, the first thing you need to look for an accredited energy assessor. You can find one that is closest to you by typing in your postcode on the gov.uk website or alternatively, see our EPC page. We offer EPCs at a competitive rate and cover a large area across Cornwall from Penzance to Plymouth. Contact us to book your EPC today.

So, how do I improve my energy rating?

Remember, improving your energy efficiency rating means you’re lowering your energy consumption and therefore saving money on your bills; win win all round.

Lower your energy consumption with low energy light bulbs

This is one of the simplest ways to improve your energy efficiency rating. By replacing your current bulbs with low energy ones, you’re not only saving money on electricity, you’re lowering your carbon footprint and improving your rating.

There are many options when it comes to low energy lighting, do you choose LED, compact fluorescent or even smart bulbs? And what about the fitting; bayonet, screw or the one with the pins? It can all be confusing but there’s an easy way to find out.

Light bulb edison screw E26

Generally speaking, for screw and bayonet fittings, it doesn’t really matter what type you choose to go for, it would be down to your personal preference but when it comes to the ones with the pins, you only have LED to choose from. Here’s your plan:

  • Note down how many bulbs you have to replace
  • Mark the type of bulb fitting
  • Purchase new low energy bulbs
  • Install the new bulbs

After installing new bulbs, you could see an immediate improvement on your energy rating, carbon footprint and a return on your investment in under 2 months according to this calculation.

Increase air tightness by draught proofing all window and door openings.

A draughty home is an inefficient home, by keeping the warm air inside your house, you can spend less heating it. When you open a window or pass an open door, you may be able to feel a slight breeze and whilst replacing the air inside your home with fresh air is a good thing, what you don’t want is to feel a cold draft at 9 o’clock at night when you’re getting warm and settling down.

Installing draft weather strips and excluders, drastically reduces and in some cases, eradicates the draft entirely. Fit these around your existing window and doors to create a tight seal when they’re closed.

There are many different types of strips and excluders available and we’ve selected a few below that could be suitable for you.

Draught strip Draught strip Draught strip

For extra credit, although it’s not recorded on the EPC, installing draft proofing around your loft hatch can also help you retain the heat.

Retain the heat with increased loft insulation.

You can lose up to 25% of the heat in your house through your loft. This is a huge amount and there’s a simple remedy, install more insulation. Each house is different and while some of you may have a ‘good’ amount of insulation installed, some may have little or even none. Over the years, the building regulations have changed and here you can see how the level of insulation has changed over the years:

Year Recommended thickness of loft insulation
1965 25mm
1975 60mm
1985 100mm
1990 150mm
1995 200mm
2002 250mm
2003 270mm

The recommended depth of blanket style insulation (glass or mineral wool) in your home should be between 250mm and 270mm.

If you have little or no insulation, it is readily available at all reputable building merchants and can either replace or be laid on top of your existing layer. Please be careful when in a loft space and remember, safety first – insulation should always be installed by a competent person.

Sometimes, the joists in your loft space aren’t big enough to accommodate the increased amount of insulation and if you’re boarding your loft as well, you may benefit from loft legs to help support a level above the insulation.

Increase your loft insulation

Always be careful not to overload the boards on top of the loft legs.

Heat your water for longer with less energy by increasing the hot water cylinder insulation

If you have a hot water cylinder in your property heating your water or acting as a hot water storage, you may be able to keep it warmer for longer.

Typically, hot water cylinders range in insulation thickness from nothing to as much as 120mm or possibly more. If your cylinder doesn’t have its insulation thickness documented or printed on it anywhere, you can check yourself by getting a small ruler and measuring the space between the insulation and the heating element cap (the bit the wire goes into). If this is inaccessible, you can use a long pin or cocktail stick and push it into the insulation until you feel the outside of the metal cylinder and measure that. Some cylinders don’t have fixed insulation surrounding them, rather a jacket that is tied around the outside.

You can increase the jacket insulation easily by simply adding more around the outside and ensuring that all the bare cylinder is covered. Tip: try to keep a uniform thickness around the whole cylinder.

If your water is only heated by the hot water cylinder, although it wont increase your EPC rating, you can improve the efficiency by installing a programmer to schedule when your water is heated. You could also do this by plugging your hot water cylinder into a smart plug.

Let your house warm up intelligently and upgrade your heating controls.

Most of us have boilers but a lot of us don’t have an adequate way of turning them on or running the heating system. A good standard is to have these three components:

Now, a programmer will turn your heating on and off at scheduled intervals. A thermostat will trigger your heating system to turn on when the temperature reaches the set temperature threshold and TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves) self regulates and adjusts the flow of hot water to the radiator depending on the setting.

Being armed with all three of these allows you to set your heating to come on at certain times of the day if the temperature is below the setting on the thermostat.

There are other options on the market that include AI (artificial intelligence) and can learn your usage habits to better help you and your families heating needs

Smart thermostat Smart thermostat Smart thermostat

Section your house by replacing missing doors

We all live in our houses differently and some of us remove internal doors to create a better flow within our homes.

In terms of the EPC, it is better to replace these doors to create smaller, easily heatable spaces. We understand that it may be inconvenient to do this but in order to record the room count, it would need a door to be in place.

Please be aware that some removal of doors can be a risk to the occupants. For example, removing a kitchen door can present a fire hazard as there is no material (door) between the spaces and will not help prevent the spread of fire.

Lets record the insulation, make it accessible

If you’ve made improvements to your home, as energy assessors, we need to know about it. Some improvements however are more accessible than others and when it comes to hidden insulation, we need to be able to see it to record it.

With internal wall insulation, if it has been installed on your property, the assessor would need to see documentary evidence of the insulation and it’s thickness in place, or to physically measure the insulation. This can usually be done by temporarily removing a socket and exposing the insulation beneath.

If you have insulation installed in a place where it is not going to be accessible, it may be necessary to contact the installer to ask if they have any evidence to pass on to be able to record the material in place.

Visible Wall Insulation

Make the assessment easy by having all your documents ready.

A lot of time can be taken by frantically looking for documents relating to certain works whilst the energy assessor is in your home. This can be time consuming and stressful but can be remedied by having your documents to hand before the energy assessor arrives.

If you or the previous occupants of your house have had any works done to the property, go and fish out those papers. They could be anything from FENSA certificates to building control sign off sheets but no matter how insignificant you may think it might be, please provide it.

These documents aid the calculation of the EPC by confirming certain aspects of the build. If these documents aren’t available to use, the assessor will have to use a ‘worst case scenario’ and thus could have a detrimental effect on the certificates overall energy rating.

Home improvements
So by implementing some simple improvements, you could drastically improve the rating on your energy performance certificate.

If you are looking to get an EPC, please contact us and we can book you in or you can send us your instruction directly with our order form. We pride ourselves on the quick turn around times and we can talk you through any of the points mentioned in this post to ensure your property’s rating is the best it can be.

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