Households in the UK must futureproof heating system before selling to new generation of 'homeworkers'

Households in the UK must futureproof heating system before selling to new generation of 'homeworkers'

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 By OFTEC

The advice follows a new YouGov survey which reveals 68% of individuals who have been forced to work at home during the pandemic would prefer to continue to do so in the future*.

Remote workers could see higher fuel bills and living costs, particularly in the colder months, so home buyers will likely want to ensure the heating system is efficient and working correctly before putting in an offer.

With many households worrying about the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the property market, OFTEC, the trade association for liquid fuels, has produced a helpful checklist for households in the UK to ensure their heating system is a selling point, rather than something that puts buyers off. The advice includes:

How much does it cost to run?

  • Energy costs are often one of the most important factors people consider when buying a property so make sure you know the facts. If you are planning to sell one of the UK's 1.5 million oil heated homes, be sure to highlight to buyers that oil is currently the cheapest major fuel on the market, over £250 cheaper than mains gas, over £1,000 less than LPG and over £1,400 lower than electric storage heaters when comparing typical annual running costs for an average three bedroom house**.

How smart are the heating controls?

  • Outdated heating controls could potentially put off a buyer because they can make it more difficult to regulate the temperature, making the home less comfortable and leading to higher energy consumption and fuel bills. If your home has modern controls, be sure to highlight the benefits. If not, upgrading to more efficient technology could be an additional selling point. Modern systems can also connect with smart devices which offer even greater flexibility.

How old is the boiler?

  • Modern condensing boilers are more efficient, quieter, and cheaper to run. If the boiler is over 15 years old, it may be worth replacing. Make sure you obtain the 'building regulations compliance' certificate which identifies the age of the boiler and confirms it meets the required building regulations. This should be issued shortly after the boiler is installed.

Know your boiler's history

  • The boiler should be serviced at least once a year to make sure it is working correctly and efficiently. If you haven't had the system checked over, contact a GasSafe (for mains gas) or OFTEC (for oil or solid fuel) registered technician who are recognised as fully competent and will provide you with evidence, such as servicing reports. Using non-qualified technicians to carry out any work could make potential buyers more cautious.

Think about the future

  • Increased living and heating costs will be a key consideration for many buyers, so it is important your heating system is efficient and future-proof. For oil heated homes, a renewable liquid fuel alternative is being developed which could provide a simple, drop-in replacement in the long term.

Malcolm Farrow, from OFTEC commented: It's a popular time of year for house movers and we know an increased number of these buyers will be thinking about space for home working environments along with associated living costs. It brings an increased need to think about their heating system and whether it is fit for purpose.

It may seem strange to think about heating with all this hot weather but, summer is a good time to make improvements to your system as it is not being used. It's an important consideration because, if it hasn't been looked after, it could put off potential buyers or lead to a reduced offer if they anticipate it will need replacing.

*Skillcast, commissioned by YouGov, July 2020

**Sutherland Tables, July 2020

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