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What Central Heating Checks Should You Carry Out Before Buying A House?

There can be nothing more depressing than moving into your dream home, only to have the heating system go down a month after you move in. Yet a gas central heating safety check is one of the most commonly overlooked items when buying a property.

You checked the vendors’ TA6 list for defects and disputes. You arranged for someone to inspect the house for damp, and someone else to inspect it for woodworm. But did you bother to have a central heating check before buying the house? If your heating system knowledge is somewhat limited, paying for a qualified engineer to undertake central heating checks and give you a written report before you exchange contracts, could save you much greater expense in the future.

A Central Heating Check Before Buying The House

Firstly, ask the seller for the last 12 months gas safe certificate and boiler maintenance records. If these can’t be produced, then an engineer’s inspection should be booked. Your gas central heating safety check should include:

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The Boiler: Checking not just whether it is working, your engineer can also estimate its age and efficiency. For instance, if the boiler is floor standing, it will be over 14 years old and obsolete, meaning the majority of spares will be very hard to get, or unobtainable. A new wall mounted boiler will be the only option. Boilers with flues fitted will also be old and inefficient and should be replaced to improve efficiency and reduce running costs.

The Hot Water Tank: If the heating system uses a hot water storage tank, your engineer will inspect it for any sign of weeping or leaking joints. He will also check whether it has a thermostat and whether the insulation jacket should be replaced to improve efficiency

Radiators: It’s not just those big, heavy old radiators which can cause problems. Even older slim-line models can develop blockages caused by hard water. Your engineer will check for cold spots, (which would indicate blockages), corrosion and leaks, and check whether the radiators are fitted with energy-saving radiator thermostats. Blocked radiators can be unblocked by having the system flushed through with a limescale treatment to improve efficiency. Other things your engineer would look for during your central heating checks is a thermostat on the boiler, whether there are wireless room-thermostats fitted, and whether they are working correctly.

If you are moving to the countryside, and your new house isn’t connected to natural gas, your heating system may be run by propane gas or oil. Both will have outside storage tanks for the fuel, and these also should be included in your central heating check before buying the house. Tanks, and pipework to the house should be checked for corrosion and leaks. Plastic fuel tanks have a working life of around 15 years, and are likely to become brittle when subject to heavy sunshine. Check the tank stand, it should be either a concrete base, or a steel tank holder, timber frames are not suitable.

What should you do if your central heating checks show problems?

You don’t have to be a qualified plumber or heating engineer to be able to tell if the boiler is flashing up and the radiators are getting hot. If you’re happy with that - way to go. However, even with everything apparently working, your engineer’s comprehensive central heating check before buying the house can give you a more in-depth picture of the efficiency of the system, and an approximation of how much you can save with a new boiler, or full system upgrade.

Obtain a couple of estimates for the work to be done, before approaching the vendors. In a time when raising a mortgage is, for many, a hard path to tread, they may choose to meet the cost of the heating upgrade, or reduce the asking price for the property, rather than risk losing the sale. If the seller won’t budge, and you so want the house, consider upgrading anyway. Contact your local or county council, to see if any government grants are available to help with your boiler, or heating upgrades.

Although it means a financial outlay upfront, a new boiler or system will come with a 10-year warranty, safeguarding you from any nasty financial surprises, and allowing you to immediately begin recouping the cost, with greatly reduced energy bills.

For more information give us a call today at 0131334 8250. We look forward to hearing from you!

To arrange a quote in the comfort of your own home call:  0131 334 8250

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