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EPC ratings explained – Your guide to understanding EPC certificates

If you’re thinking about either buying or selling, renting or letting, EPC ratings will come up, and you’ll need to know what they mean.

With the climate-change crisis remaining hot on the agenda for the UK government, a poor EPC rating could be just the factor which tips your property plans over the edge.

What is an EPC rating?

The ‘Energy Performance Certificate Rating’ measures your property’s overall energy efficiency. It’s measured from A to G – ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ being the least. The higher the rating, the less it costs to heat and power the property.  A low EPC rating implies poor efficiency, which means the property will cost more to run and have a greater impact on the environment.

EPCs also measure the property’s carbon dioxide emissions, which is a factor emerging to the forefront of buyer’s concerns in today’s climate.

The importance of a high EPC rating

In the UK, it is unlawful to sell or let a house with an EPC lower than the minimum rating of ‘E’. A low EPC rating which is only just within the margin won’t compete with a high EPC rated property, especially if the buyer is torn between the two. It should come as no surprise that most buyers will opt for the property which costs less to run and produces less carbon emissions.

What is the process?

You can find the EPC for your current or prospective house via the EPC register online website. An EPC rating is measured in sections, the first section outlines the house’s estimated cost of energy and is divided into 3 categories: lighting, heating, and hot water.

Next on the list is the all-important energy efficiency scale. Much like the ratings you see on the back of appliances, this scale measures your property’s overall efficiency from A to G.

Alongside these measures is a ‘potential rating’ which indicates the potential efficiency of the house if suggested improvements are made.

How long does an EPC certificate last?

EPCs last for 10 years. Already having a valid EPC rating makes for a much quicker process when selling your property, as you won’t need to get your property’s efficiency re-evaluated. If your EPC has expired, or your property is yet to be assessed, you will need to arrange for an EPC rating before you can legally put your property on the market.

How can I improve my property’s EPC rating?

  • Double or triple glazed windows provide good insulation and can prevent you from losing around 20% of your home’s heat, therefore you won’t need to waste energy on extra heating.
  • Replace your appliances with higher energy ratings. For example, if your appliances are ranked B, swap them out for some that are ranked A++
  • If your EPC rating is just scraping the margins, then switching to LED lightbulbs could make that last bit of difference. They’re energy efficient, eco-friendly and they work just as well.
  • Heat rises, so either roof or loft insulation is a key factor in boosting your property’s rating. With good insulation, you can save up to 25% of heat lost through your property.

Looking for more information? Get in touch with your local office today.

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