Efficient heating systems

It’s not the only energy efficiency measure you can adopt but it is certain to improve your EPC rating if your boiler was installed some years ago.


Your boiler can account for over half your fuel bill. If your gas boiler is older than 2005, it’s worth upgrading as this will count considerably towards your EPC rating. Upgrading to a high-efficiency condensing gas-fired back boiler or condensing combi boiler could be all you need to do to reach the required E rating for private letting.

The choice of whether to use a combi or standard boiler will depend on how much hot water you use:

  • if you don’t use a lot of hot water and don’t need to use water in the kitchen at the same time someone is having a shower, then a combi boiler may be the best option as you don’t lose heat from stored hot water
  • a standard boiler with a hot water storage cylinder is more efficient than a combi at producing hot water in the first place, but the cylinder needs to be well-insulated

In both cases, opt for a condensing boiler which recovers some of the heat from the flue gases.

If installing a new system, make sure the opening for the flue is made correctly (ideally core drilling the stone from the outside in and not from inside to out) – sloppy installers can do great damage to stone walls and can create damp and draughts.

Heating controls

Installing thermostatic valves (TRVs) on each radiator will also improve EPC ratings as they allow individual radiators to be turned off when not required.

Radiators which distribute heat from a central gas boiler should be sized to suit the heat losses of the room. They are often located under windows as this is the often the one space that is clear of furniture, and because the heat can counteract any downdraft from windows. If repositioning radiators, it is generally better to place them on an internal wall which will retain the heat. The down draught problem from glazing can be counteracted (see windows).

Room heaters

Focal point fires make a room feel warmer, both by providing an element of radiated heat and psychologically, however, living flame type fires are an inefficient use of energy.

If installing a focal point gas fire, you will need to check your chimney flues.

If you don’t have central heating, electric storage heaters use off-peak electricity to ‘charge up’ overnight and then release heat during the day. A standard electric storage heater has two controls – an ‘output’ setting and an ‘input’ setting. The output setting will control how much heat is given out (as long as there is stored heat available).

Bottled gas heaters can be dangerous if the heater or connection is faulty, which results in carbon monoxide poisoning. If badly sited, they have also been known to set fire. We don’t recommend them for these reasons.

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