All electric house. Poor EPC rating and no heating. Help!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
41 replies 13.3K views
MaikeruMaikeru Forumite
44 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
We just bought a 3 bed 1970 built townhouse in London that has no gas supplied to the entire cul-de-sac. Most of the other houses in the development rely on original electric underfloor heating installed in the concrete floors when they were originally built. Our electrician has discovered this is beyond repair (it was listed in the property particulars and we were assured by the seller it was fine, but it totally isn't). The electrician said it would be £20,000 to replace due to the concrete floors and not really worth it anyway as the running costs are so high. He's surprised the other houses still have it working after 44 years!

The house was tenanted and had storage heaters, but my wife hated the look of them and has had them removed and ordered NOBO panel heaters. I'm thinking of whether or not to return these before we open them as I've heard infrared panel heaters are more energy efficient.

We were a bit scared to find the EPC in 2010 was only 'F' (despite an identical house two doors down being rated 'D' in May this year). The properties have flat roofs so insulation probably isn't great. Their windows were rated 3 stars and ours 1 star for reasons I cannot fathom - both properties are double-glazed. Their electric immersion heaters were also rated 3 stars and ours 1 star - I think they're identical! Their underfloor heating was rated 3 stars (how such an inefficient system could be awarded that I have no idea) and the storage heaters in our property at the time 2 stars.

We desperately want at least an EPC 'E' rating (I don't want to have a property I couldn't rent out after 2018 if need be). Switching to energy efficient lights may be a good start, as the ones we have got 1 star.

The other issue is obviously the heating system. I have ordered a quote for gas pipes to be extended to the cul-de-sac, but I will need 4 out of the other 16 houses to pitch in and I don't know how much it will cost till I get the quote back in a few weeks (though he did say it would definitely be less than £10,000 per property).

I have been quoted £7,000 to install an electric boiler; but I understand these are 3x the running costs of gas boilers (£1800 annually on average as opposed to £600). I don't really think we need heating in every room at all times so panel heaters (with timers and sophisticated controls) don't seem like a bad option right now. Storage heaters seem pointless since we both work all day and the heat will mostly be gone in the evenings (not be mention paying for all other electricity at higher prices on Economy 7). My current 2 bed flat has no gas and we've been fine for 3 years with convector wall heaters than look like they probably cost about £30. This is why the lack of gas problem never really entered our minds!

I am not allowed install LPG or oil boilers either as the houses are too close together and there is only a communal garden (no private).

This has all been a bit of a shock to the system. We do feel like a young and naive couple that didn't know what they were getting into - but this was literally the only 3 bed house we could afford in a nice area of London with good schools and transport links. These houses have still risen in value hugely over time in line with the rest of the London market (I can only assume due to the location) so I guess some people musn't mind the gas thing, but there's no denying how much of a minus point it is.

Any advice at all would be much appreciated! We don't want to sell for at least 5 years now for various reasons so we have to make the best of it.
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Replies

  • Try another gas installer for another quote, I mean for new supply, are you far from other gas pipes? ON any benefits to get help with costs?

    read other posts here to find more views and solutions.
  • MaikeruMaikeru Forumite
    44 Posts
    The gas pipes are on the main road at the front of the cul-de-sac. I thought that only your local gas supplier could quote for infill work? Are there alternatives?
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Welcome to the forum.


    There are hundreds of posts on all aspects electrical heating in this section and I suggest you read a selection.


    The conclusion you should reach is that all electrical heating is 100% so don't believe any hype about 'magical' electric heating.


    Without doubt the cheapest electrical heating will be storage heating on a Economy 7 tariff - and that will provide Hot Water at cheap rate electricity. Your wife might consider the new storage heaters look better than the ones she had removed.


    The EPC rating is something of a farce/lottery, a 2 day course makes the assessors 'experts'!
  • Maikeru wrote: »
    We just bought a 3 bed 1970 built townhouse in London that has no gas supplied to the entire cul-de-sac.
    Wow - didn't know such developments existed!
    We were a bit scared to find the EPC in 2010 was only 'F' (despite an identical house two doors down being rated 'D' in May this year). The properties have flat roofs so insulation probably isn't great. Their windows were rated 3 stars and ours 1 star for reasons I cannot fathom - both properties are double-glazed. Their electric immersion heaters were also rated 3 stars and ours 1 star - I think they're identical! Their underfloor heating was rated 3 stars (how such an inefficient system could be awarded that I have no idea) and the storage heaters in our property at the time 2 stars.
    EPCs are not the bible, although they often give a rough guide. A lot depends on the assessor and how they punch the numbers into the software (which is what comes up with the stars).

    Are the windows metal? That might be why. There's also a big difference between 2G windows (double glazed). The old ones have a much smaller gap between panes, conduct more heat through the spacers, and don't have low emissivity coatings. All that said, windows themselves only have an effect proportional to the amount of wall space covered... so if you have small windows it's not necessarily a huge deal.

    Draught proofing is another thing though and should be seen to. That said, it won't affect your EPC (which is another example of how limited EPCs are).
    We desperately want at least an EPC 'E' rating (I don't want to have a property I couldn't rent out after 2018 if need be). Switching to energy efficient lights may be a good start, as the ones we have got 1 star.
    That's one of the easiest ways, yeah. The section on payback in the EPC should outline that.
    The other issue is obviously the heating system. I have ordered a quote for gas pipes to be extended to the cul-de-sac, but I will need 4 out of the other 16 houses to pitch in and I don't know how much it will cost till I get the quote back in a few weeks (though he did say it would definitely be less than £10,000 per property).
    I never quite understand the outlandish quotes for gas installation. We almost purchased a house last year and was quoted £180 for it! Granted, the pipe was only about 20m from the front door, but...

    I've read a large part of the cost is labour digging the trench. Not sure if you can DIY that...
    I am not allowed install LPG or oil boilers either as the houses are too close together and there is only a communal garden (no private).

    I'm not sure if it's worth looking into the district heating elements of the ECO CERO scheme... I don't know much about that aspect. You would need some of your neighbours to come in on it.

    The only other thing to look into is insulating the property, getting it as air tight as possible, then getting an ASHP of some sort. But by the time you invest in the insulation and buy the ASHP, that's a big capital cost. Still, something to look at and who knows whether what you learn may help.
  • edited 29 August 2014 at 8:25PM
    JohnandabbyJohnandabby Forumite
    510 Posts
    edited 29 August 2014 at 8:25PM
    Perhaps the windows were replaced after the EPC was done in 2010 - one problem with EPCs is that because they are valid for 10 years they may not bear any resemblance to the actual property bought... Our house was a D rating in 2010 when we purchased it and is now a B rating, but I could still use the lodged EPC if I didn't want to pay for a new one.

    Purely in terms of EPC ratings, the heating system options would be as follows (from best rating to worst):
    Gas boiler
    Air source heat pump
    Electric storage heaters
    Direct electric panel heaters
    Electric boiler

    For a poorly insulated house, this would also be the same order for running costs.

    If you have such significant differences in the EPC items to a similar house, you might want to spend £50 first getting a new EPC to check the correct starting point. Ideally you would have done this before getting the storage heaters removed to get a better rating, but you could ask the EPC assessor to tell you what the EPC rating would be for a few different heating systems - they can adjust the systems and see what the rating would be prior to lodging the EPC.
  • JC_DerbyJC_Derby Forumite
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    Won't the gas co, service the road, if enough of the homeowners want it? By that I mean lay the mains with customers paying for the service.
  • Richie-from-the-BoroRichie-from-the-Boro Forumite
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    Maikeru wrote: »
    The house was tenanted and had storage heaters, but my wife hated the look of them and has had them removed and ordered NOBO panel heaters.

    Stay with NOBO on day rate, and pay extra day rate for hot water or reinstate the efficient storage heaters on night rate and continue to receive cheap hot water on E7. This will need to be decided within 8 weeks or so, you have made a lot of mistakes, don't rely on the neighbours if they've made no move in the last 40 years they are unlikely to bend to your will. The original underfloor tariff will probably have been E10, which was originally designed for ceiling & the much more efficient underfloor heating, here the whole concrete floor itself is the radiator using electricity 3 times cheaper than the NOBO rate..

    Best of luck !
    Disclaimer : Everything I write on this forum is my opinion. I try to be an even-handed poster and accept that you at times may not agree with these opinions or how I choose to express them, this is not my problem. The Disabled : If years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years - Alf Morris - ℜ
  • PincherPincher
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    That's why people have tongue and groove wooden floor boards with underlay and carpet on top. You can lift all of it for access to the cables and pipes beneath. If you have anything below that needs access, burying it in concrete is just madness.


    The cheap solution is obviously to look at the EPC from your neighbour, get the contact details, and call the EPC inspector to do your house. We look forward to your future tenants coming onto the forum with the same unresolved issues.


    There is a Budhist saying, The bitter sea is endless, turn your head and there is the shore. Sell the house to a Romanian, and make 10~20% profit. Somebody who has access to builders, plumbers, and electricians can do a decent job (or horrible job) a lot cheaper and quicker than you can.


    I blame cars. It used to be that your first car is a lemon, and you buy an Alfa Romeo, and learn what to check, and what not to do. So the lesson was £2,000. Cars are a lot more reliable these days, so the first thing you cut your teeth on is the house, and the lesson costs £20,000.
  • Why would we stay on economy 7 when we would be paying through the nose for all our other daytime usage? We work all day and there probably wouldnt be much storage heat left by the time we get home.

    I am pretty sure the neighbours are not on economy 10. That would mean they couldnt turn on the underfloor heating until 8pm.

    We can replace the concrete embedded underfloor heating if we have to -
    we had budgeted 10K to upgrade the heating system before buying the property anyway, another 10K we will feel a sting but will do it if we really have to. I just cant believe its the best way of heating an all electric house in 2014.
  • [http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/scotland/consumer_s/consumer_energy_supply_s/consumer_energy_and_your_home_e/consumer_getting_an_energy_connection_e/who_can_connect_you_to_the_gas_or_electricity_grid.htmUOTE=Maikeru;66379987]The gas pipes are on the main road at the front of the cul-de-sac. I thought that only your local gas supplier could quote for infill work? Are there alternatives?[/QUOTE]
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