Some of these upgrades are simple and require nothing more than a quick trip to the DIY shop, while others are expensive and will probably involve someone with a hard hat and building knowledge.
Before you make any changes, we recommend checking your EPC report to find out where your property is falling short. However, if you’re looking for some general advice on how to improve your home’s EPC rating, here are five areas to consider.
(If you’re unsure what an EPC is or how to get one, start here).
1. Insulate the walls
Up to 35% of heat loss is from heat escaping through the walls. This isn’t much of a problem in newer properties that have wall insulation. But if you live in an older property such as a Victorian terrace or period home, then you probably don’t have any insulation.
Most older properties have a brick wall with a cavity space between the outer and inner wall, or just a solid brick wall. If you have a cavity wall, insulation can be injected into the space between the inner and outer brickwork.
If you have solid brick walls (like most properties built up until the 1920s), then you can insulate them by installing insulation board to the inside of the wall, known as dry lining, then covering this with cladding.
Insulating a solid wall can be expensive, but government grants are sometimes available. Check if you are eligible for partial funding.
2. Insulate the roof
If your energy costs are literally going through the roof, then loft insulation is the next thing to investigate. Up to 25% of heat loss is from this area, so it’s worth making sure the roof space is insulated with a recommended thickness of 270mm. You can usually install loft insulation yourself.
However, if your loft has been converted into a living space then you’ll need to insulate the pitched roof between the rafters – this is less straightforward, so it’s worth speaking to a builder for advice.
3. Upgrade the boiler
If you have an old back boiler (usually hidden away behind gas or electric fireplaces) then swapping to a conventional or modern combi boiler can make a huge difference to your EPC rating. It’s also the way to go since back boilers are inefficient and parts can be hard to find.
Even if you have a modern boiler, installing a heating control system such as a room thermostat and radiator thermostats can also increase the energy efficiency of your home.
4. Double glaze the windows
If you don’t have double glazed windows, this is a relatively easy way to improve your EPC rating. Around 10-15% of heat loss comes from having single glazed windows.
If you want to preserve the period charm, you can use a specialist restoration company to install double glazing to your existing windows. The other option is to go all-in and replace your windows with modern PVC or hardwood double glazed windows.
Just remember, if you live in a listed building then there is a slim chance that you’ll be able to install double glazing but you might be able to install some kind of secondary glazing to the original windows.
5. Small improvements (things you can do right now)
If you can’t wait to get started, we have a few suggestions for easy wins. First up, look around for any unwanted gaps where air can escape. Blocking draughts can make a big difference to your comfort in winter and, in some cases, can count towards your EPC.
- Doors: Fit a brush strip at the bottom of doors to seal the gap.
- Windows: Draught-proofing sash windows can make a big difference.
- Letterbox: Fit a letterbox plate to prevent cold air from coming in.
- Fireplaces: If you want to keep original features such as fireplaces, you can install a chimney cap to minimise heat loss.
Lastly, even switching your light bulbs to low-energy LED or CFL bulbs can help increase your EPC rating. In fact, this is often one of the most overlooked ways and is worth considering if your rating is only a few points below the next rating bracket.
We’ve covered the main ways to improve your EPC rating, but it’s worth checking the recommendations on your existing EPC for specific advice about your property. Also, remember that landlords will need to comply with the Minimum of Energy Efficiency standard (currently EPC band E). If you’re a landlord with a property in East London, please email email@example.com if you need advice on preparing your property ready to rent.
See our full list of property advice articles in our Knowledge Centre.
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