How To Get My EPC Value
If you’re selling your home, you’ve probably read lots of lists of tips and plenty of advice columns to help you understand exactly which steps you should follow to prepare your home for sale. Among that advice is probably to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate. What is an Energy Performance Certificate, though, and why does getting one matter before you actually sell your home? This how-to guide is designed to demystify the Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC for short, and ensure you have exactly what you need to sell your home.
What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
An Energy Performance Certificate is sometimes called an EPC by estate agents. It offers anyone who might live in the property – like a buyer or even a tenant – a closer look at just how energy-efficient the property is. Usually, you’ll find a list of typical energy costs of the property on the certificate as well as ways that the property could become more energy-efficient.
This documentation was originally introduced in 2007 as part of the Home Information Pack, documentation that told potential buyers all of the basics about a property, like water and drainage provisions, gas and electrical safety measures, and even parking, as well as energy performance certificates. While the home information pack itself no longer exists, the EPC does. In fact, in 2012, energy performance certificates were updated to help support Green Deal legislation, a way to ensure homeowners could easily make improvements to their properties that would save energy.
Currently, energy performance certificates are good for up to ten years, and they’re issued by Domestic Energy Assessors. In fact, the entire process is regulated by the Energy Performance of Buildings regulations. Everyone that is issued is stored in the Energy Performance Certificates Register.
Why Do I Need an Energy Performance Certificate?
EPCs are now required on every home every ten years. Given that the laws regulating them have been around for some time, it’s possible that the EPC done on your home actually happened years ago. The regulations have actually changed since they were issued, too. Those that were reissued in 2018 required that every property be improved to meet the minimum standard if an inspection uncovered problems. It is now unlawful to sell or rent a property that hasn’t been brought up to those minimum standards. Penalties of up to £4,000 can be levied for anyone who breaches the law.
There are some exemptions. If your building is officially protected or listed, you are not required to have an Energy Performance Certificate check. Similarly, if you have a temporary building that will be used for less than two years, no EPC is required. Workshops, industrial sites, and places of worship are similarly exempt. Detached buildings with under 50 square meters of floor space and buildings that are about to be demolished are also exempt from an Energy Performance Certificate check.
Landlords often believe they are not required to get an EPC. That, however, is not the case. Landlords, too, must have an EPC whether they’re renting to new tenants or selling the property. Landlords, though, have a special circumstance when they get the report back. It’s illegal to rent to tenants if you get a rating below E, so in the event that’s the case, landlords will actually need to pay for the various improvements that must be made before they can find new tenants. Fortunately, however, there is a cap on improvements. You are not required to make more than £3,500 in improvements to your property. If it were to cost more than that, there are some changes you can make, then you can obtain an exemption on any other changes that must be made. There are also funding programs to help landlords make the required improvements.
Keep in mind that there may already be an existing EPC on your property. The Energy Performance Certificate Register is a government database, and you can just type your address into the register to see if your property has one. If the Energy Performance Certificate Register has an existing EPC on your property, download it as a PDF, then save it for potential home buyers or renters. If, however, you realise your property does not have an EPC, you’ll need to go ahead and get one.
How Do I Get an EPC?
Now that you know what an EPC is and why you need one, you’re probably wondering exactly what you have to do to obtain one. Fortunately, it’s a fairly easy process. You simply work with an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor. There are many, and a quick online search will usually help you find one in your area. You can even comparison shop to be sure you’re getting the best possible deal. Once you’ve found an assessor with whom you’d like to work, just set up an appointment. You will need to be available when your assessor comes. The process is fairly easy. While they’re on your property, they’ll look at a number of factors. Lighting is one of the biggest. The assessor will look at how many light fixtures you have as well as the kinds of bulbs you’re using. If you have a loft, your assessor will look at that as well. They’ll look to see if there’s any insulation in the loft and learn more about the thickness of the property walls. Windows are another concern for most assessors. The goal is to understand the window type. Single pane windows are the least efficient. Triple glazed windows, though, are incredibly efficient, and they can have a huge impact on the energy efficiency of the property. If they are triple glazed, the assessor will want to know when that glazing was done, so if you have BFRC data, be sure to have it handy. Your assessor will also take a good look at your heating system. They’ll need to see the controls, the thermostat, and any other sources of heat in the home (like a fireplace). Finally, expect plenty of photos and measurements during the process. Those photos may be taken inside or outside the home, as the assessor is expected to be able to back up their assessments with evidence. Expect a few questions, too, about when the property was built, any work you’ve had done to the property, and whether you’re currently on a single or double meter.
Once the assessment is done, you can expect to see your EPC in just a few weeks.
What’s in an Energy Performance Certificate UK Assessors Issue?
When you actually get the assessment, you can expect to see four different sections. The first one offers solid information about the house itself, as well as when the property was assessed and what the average energy costs for the home might be.
The second section will have the actual efficiency rating in it. The rating will be between A and G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least. While new builds tend to have A and B ratings, older hopes usually have lower ratings like D.
Section three usually has some recommendations you can take to help improve the energy efficiency of the property. You may also see a section that helps you understand whether you could be eligible for help making those improvements thanks to the Green Deal.
The final section spells out the features of the property. It also spells out the u-value of each of those features so a potential buyer understands the “why” behind the overall rating.
What If My EPC is Confusing?
If you’re not sure you understand your Energy Performance Certificate UK assessors issued, you can simply contact the assessor you had to handle the process. The contact details are typically within section one. If they still can’t help, it is possible to contact the accreditation scheme for additional help.
What if My EPC Rating is Terrible?
There are lots of small energy-efficient improvements you can make to your property that will help improve your overall rating and help you save on energy costs. Initially, you can upgrade your current appliances to energy-efficient models. Refrigerators, washing machines, and tumble dryers typically take up a large portion of most home electrical bills, so switching to more energy-efficient models can be quite helpful. Replacing your windows and doors can be helpful as well. Heat in a home is typically lost through windows that don’t fit well or doors that let the draft in, so some replacements will be very helpful. If new windows are too costly, you can fit foam around your windows to help improve your rating. Insulating your loft can prove a good investment as well. That will help improve your energy efficiency rating dramatically. After you’ve made the necessary improvements, you can typically have your assessor back out to your property to show them the improvements you’ve made and change the overall rating of the property.
How much is an EPC?
Energy Performance Certificate cost options can vary quite a bit. You can easily get one for under £50, but you may also end up spending as much as £150. Several factors account for the overall variation in cost. The assessor doesn’t have a fixed amount he or she can charge for the service, so it’s worth it to shop around a bit. Additionally, the type of property you own can change the costs somewhat. The overall size also impacts the costs, as does the location of your home. Learning more about what Energy Performance Certificate cost options might be from various assessors will give you the best EPC for the least amount of money is absolutely key before you start phoning assessors.
Book Your Assessment as Soon as Possible
If you’re selling your home, obtaining an energy performance certificate isn’t difficult, but it is a must. The sooner you book your assessment, the sooner you’re likely to get your certificate so you can better market your home. Be sure, though, to check the Energy Performance Certificate Register UK government websites offer. There you’ll find all of the Energy Performance Certificate Register UK entries so you can be sure your home or property doesn’t already have one before you contact an assessor.
Many different home-selling advice columns will make you aware that obtaining an EPC needs to be done as soon as possible, and they’re absolutely right. The process is not a complex one, and it’s one of the smallest costs you’ll likely pay on your home sales journey. The reality, however, is that an EPC absolutely must be obtained as soon as you can in the home sales process. Without it, you cannot begin to let buyers see your property, as once you actually begin showing the property, you’ll need to have an EPC available for them to view so they can get the information they need to bid on your property.
If you’re still not sure how to get an Energy Performance Certificate, it may be helpful to consult with your estate agent to learn more about the best assessors to contact and any moves you may need to make in the home sales process before you actually have your home assessed for its energy efficiency rating. When you’re selling your home, you’re working on a fairly tight timeline. As a result, if you’re going to make some energy-efficient upgrades before you have your home’s energy rating assessed, it’s best to do that fairly quickly. Your overall rating will be better, and the eventual report that the assessor produces will be better as well. Both will help your home fetch a far higher price than it might otherwise get if your energy assessment were to be considerably lower on that initial certificate.
Contact your estate agent to learn more or just reach out to potential energy assessors today to get the quotes you need and begin the process.