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Home heating: what to consider before you buy

Heating is really at the heart of your property's comfort, so make sure that when buying a property you have a reliable and efficient system – or the money for a brand new installation.

When searching for your property check how it is heated. The two main types are Electric and Gas heating. A new Gas combination boiler that supplies hot water to both taps and your central heating will be the best and most efficient option without going into renewable energy sources.

Struggle on with an old heating system or replace?

Find out how old the gas boiler is, whether it has an up to date service certificate and when it was last serviced. An old or poorly functioning gas boiler can cost thousands to replace but doing so may save you money in the long run. So getting a new high efficiency boiler from the likes of Worcester-Bosch and Vaillant could be a worthwhile investment to help cut your bills.

Radiators and pipework – get them working more efficiently

Older boilers might actually be fully functional, but the radiators and pipework might not be working to their maximum efficiency. You can tell if this is the case by turning on the heating and feeling the radiators for any cold spots.

Over time, debris will build up inside radiators, which will cause cold spots to occur on radiators and will prevent them from emitting heat as well as they should be. The way to fix this is to get a Powerflush of your central heating system. This is a deep cleansing of your radiators and pipework, carried out pumping round a chemical solution that’ll break down any sludge or debris that might have built up. It’ll cost around £500.

Having a heating engineer perform a system Powerflush has been proven to considerably improve the efficiency of central heating systems. However, to stop the debris from building up again so quickly, having a Magnaclean installed can be beneficial. This protects your central heating system from sludge build up and should be included with most new boiler installations. If you have to get a new boiler installed for central heating, it’s definitely worth asking your heating engineer for one of these as it should only cost around another £200 and will prolong the life of the system.

Water tanks

Some heating systems might utilise a hot water cylinder. This will either be located in an airing cupboard or a loft in the property. You should check the insulation around the cylinder – does it have insulation wrapped around it? If not, this is something you can purchase and fit yourself relatively cheaply and will help conserve energy as well as save money.

Electric immersion heaters

If your new property has an electric immersion heater then you might need an electrician or professional plumber to inspect it. It’s worth noting that not all plumbers will have the skills needed to work with mains electrics, so it is best to check – or use a firm that checks – that the tradesmen have a current membership to one of the big trade associations. If it’s an older system then there might be the chance of a limescale build up within the tank and pipes, which is a plumbers job to fix.

Guy Andrews, PGS Services Ltd,

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