We have looked at some renewable technologies and how they affect EPC ratings, along with more conventional forms of heating like electric, gas boilers, biomass and heat pumps. In this blog, we are going to take a look at some of the more unusual forms of heating and what sort of impact they will have on your EPC rating. Should you keep these systems or is it worth replacing with a more conventional form of heating?
Community heating is often found in blocks of flats or on estates built at the same time. Usually gas or oil-fuelled, some biomass systems can also be see these days. Despite the fact that the boiler itself might not be incredibly efficient, the fact that the heating is split between many properties makes community heating a very efficient way to heat a group of properties. EPC software does not consider the efficiency of the boiler, simply the type of fuel used in the community system; but it is fair to say that community heating is looked upon favourably in the software.
Electric Ceiling Heating
Often found in 1970s-era buildings, ceiling heating is very much a relic of the past. Heat rises, so having your heating system in the ceiling means that a lot of heat is wasted and not felt in the room at all. As such the rating on properties with this heating system is going to be very low. We would recommend getting a different heating system installed as a matter of urgency if you want to cut your heating costs and improve the EPC rating. Switching just to a standard storage heater system will improve the rating by 30-40 points typically.
Combined Heat and Power, or CHP for short, is a new technology yet to really take off for domestic properties, but some homes are beginning to have these systems fitted. They are looked upon really favourably by the EPC software and you will get a better rating than with a standard gas boiler.
If you happen not to have central heating, then you may have some form of room heater. This could be in the form of electric heaters that you plug in, gas heaters running off of Calor gas or the mains, or even solid fuel heaters running off wood.
Electric heaters will always be the least efficient and give you the worst rating in the EPC software, unless you have a storage system. Wood and oil room heaters will give a better rating, but still much lower than having a renewable heating system or gas central heating.
Room heaters are usually the most expensive way to heat a property because of the decentralisation of the heating and the lack of control you have in their use.
Flue Gas Heat Recovery and Waste Water Heat Recovery
Often shortened to FGHR and WWHR, these technologies simply try to recover as much heat as possible from the waste water and flue gas emitted from your home. They are rarely retrofitted and often only found on new build properties, to help bring them up to code. Having said that, where they are retrofitted, (usually on a big house refurbishment project), they can bring the rating up by a couple of points. Certainly not a cost-effective way to improve your EPC rating, but they will have a small impact.
Secondary heating – Easy rating improvement
If you have a fixed electric heater in your property, it will be input into the software as a secondary heating system – i.e. the software assumes it is used to complement the main system. Even if you never use this heater, the assessor must put it into the software. This can really drag the overall rating down, in some cases by 5 or 6 points or more. This can make all the difference between an E and an F-rating, so if you are struggling to get your rating up, check with your assessor whether they have included any secondary heating and how it is affecting the rating. It may be worth just getting any cheap electric heaters temporarily removed from the wall when the survey is done.