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Viewing empty flats, concerned about heating.

I'm going viewing a number of flats and houses over the next couple of weeks. Some of them are empty and may have been empty for some time.
The oldest is an 80's flat, but the estate agent's description doesn't mention the heating. There are radiators on the walls, but I can see from the pictures that the flat does need updating. The EPC says the boiler needs upgrading to a new condensing boiler. This is a flat I rather like the look of - lower service charges, like the layout & it's ground floor onto a nice garden. But I'm concerned about the heating, what can I do? Other than asking if it works, and I don't know if anyone will know. Can I get it tested, or ask for the owners to have it tested?
The other empty flats are much newer so less likely to be a problem, but I guess there still could be issues.  
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Comments

  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Posts: 12,395
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    You can ask questions, but you need to do your own due diligence.  If you know someone who knows one end of a boiler to another take them with you on a first viewing.

    If you are the  minded to make an offer you need your own engineer to visit and provide a condition report in addition to the general buyers surveys.
  • Doozergirl
    Doozergirl Posts: 33,718
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    edited 30 December 2023 at 8:55PM
    If they're recommending that the boiler needs replacing for a condensing boiler then I'd simply
    budget for replacing it (and maybe the rads) within the offer price.  

    Having a gas boiler is a benefit in a flat as it's cheaper than electric heating.  Condensing boilers have been in the regs for at least 15 years now so it sounds like it doesn't have much longer in it.  Fine if you're living with it already, but an item to budget for quickly if you're a new owner.   Get it sorted asap and reap the benefit of slightly lower bills. 
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
  • bobster2
    bobster2 Posts: 443
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    If you're viewing these with the intention of possibly buying - you could just ask for it to be turned on! Either before you go for a viewing - or if you turn it on when you arrive you should be able to feel radiators getting warm within 15 mins.
  • Miri_J
    Miri_J Posts: 19
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    If they're recommending that the boiler needs replacing for a condensing boiler then I'd simply
    budget for replacing it (and maybe the rads) within the offer price.  

    Having a gas boiler is a benefit in a flat as it's cheaper than electric heating.  Condensing boilers have been in the regs for at least 15 years now so it sounds like it doesn't have much longer in it.  Fine if you're living with it already, but an item to budget for quickly if you're a new owner.   Get it sorted asap and reap the benefit of slightly lower bills. 
    I would definitely budget for it, I'm just concerned about moving in there possibly around March / April with no heating! 
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,348
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    Unless it seems straightforward to do (empty properties might have had plumbing drained down), I would leave any testing until later in the process anyway - you want to know that it was still working when you exchange.
  • twopenny
    twopenny Posts: 5,319
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    I bought a house, 20yrs old that hadn't been lived in for 15yrs. The boiler was original but hadn't been used much.
    It took a week (in late November) for the guy to come and test it, replace a fan that had rusted and was good to go.
    I also knew that others neighbours still had the original boilers 20yrs on and still working.

    The EPC may just be saying that because it's the thing to have condensing now.

    So it's worth asking when the boiler was put in and definitely when it was tested. There may be a lable and date of testing on the boiler. 
    Might give you some time on moving in until summer and getting what you want.
    I spent the first week in the bedroom with rocking chair, books and an electric fire so I had one room warm and cosy. A couple of plug in heaters in the hall and kitchen so it wasn't too cold.
    Surprisingly it was very relaxing after the hassle of moving, no tv or internet :)
    Keep thinking I should have a week like that now for total chill out.

    Ground floot with garden sounds nice and worth some effort.
    They usually sell on quickly if that was a case down the line.

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  • eddddy
    eddddy Posts: 16,143
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    edited 30 December 2023 at 10:03PM
    Miri_J said:
    The EPC says the boiler needs upgrading to a new condensing boiler. 

    An EPC doesn't comment on the condition of a boiler - and it won't say that a boiler "needs" upgrading.

    Do you mean that "Replace boiler with new condensing boiler" is a "recommended measure"? Like below?




    If so, that's just telling you that the property would be more energy efficient (i.e. a bit cheaper to heat) if you swapped the current boiler for a condensing boiler.

    It's not suggesting that the current boiler isn't working, or needs repair. But as others say, if it's a non-condensing boiler, it's likely to be quite old. (But it might be serviced regularly, and have had many old parts replaced with new ones - or it might not.)

  • Albermarle
    Albermarle Posts: 21,180
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    edited 31 December 2023 at 1:39PM
    Miri_J said:
    If they're recommending that the boiler needs replacing for a condensing boiler then I'd simply
    budget for replacing it (and maybe the rads) within the offer price.  

    Having a gas boiler is a benefit in a flat as it's cheaper than electric heating.  Condensing boilers have been in the regs for at least 15 years now so it sounds like it doesn't have much longer in it.  Fine if you're living with it already, but an item to budget for quickly if you're a new owner.   Get it sorted asap and reap the benefit of slightly lower bills. 
    I would definitely budget for it, I'm just concerned about moving in there possibly around March / April with no heating! 
    In a flat at that time of year, you should be able to keep warm enough with two or three electric heaters.
    Small cheap fan heaters/ convector heaters/oil filled radiators cost only between £15 and £50.

    Also with a reasonably well insulated flat, the savings from switching from an older gas boiler ( it it works of course) to a newer condensing one would not be that great . Maybe only £200 a year .
  • Soot2006
    Soot2006 Posts: 2,151
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    I wouldn't overthink it if that's the only concern and you otherwise like the flat. You've had good advice here.
    Our old house had an old boiler in it when we moved in. Was a probate and the system hadn't been used in a while. But it "worked". It wasn't efficient and it wasn't amazing, but it made the rads warm enough so we didn't freeze and then, at our convenience, we replaced it.
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