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    Key Boiler Checks for Homebuyers: What You Need to Know

    By The reallymoving Team Updated 5th Apr, 2024

    When looking to buy a property, it is important not to overlook utilities like boilers. Faulty boilers could lead to issues which could cost you a lot of money down the line.

    When buying a new property, boilers are a concern for many people A surveyor will comment on a boiler installation, but they cannot check or confirm if a boiler is operating safely and there will be also be paperwork from the conveyancing solicitor about the boiler installation certificate if there isn’t one it’s wise to secure a Gas Safety Certificate, your seller may pay for this, but if not, it’s worth paying for one yourself. If buying the property to let, letting with a Gas Safe Certificate is a legal requirement.

    A problem with the boiler or central heating system of your new property could prove incredibly expensive to fix and if you find a problem in advance you may be able to re-negotiate the price you pay for the property. Better still you will know you/your family or safe So, if you’re worried, Jack from JustBoilers.com has given us some insight into what to consider about the boiler when purchasing your new home, and before you get your survey.

    Where the boiler is located

    It might sound like an obvious thing to think about, but you’d be surprised how many people move into a new property and suddenly realise they don’t know where the boiler is! Ask your seller where the boiler is located, and take a look at it if possible. 
    Boilers can be located anywhere in the house, from small cupboards in kitchens and bathrooms to hard-to-reach loft spaces. If access might be an issue for you, you’ll definitely want to find out where the boiler is to make sure you can reach it in an emergency.
    Ask your surveyor to check if the boiler is legally located according to Building Regulations. They can be located in most places, but sometimes they will need to be on an outside wall and they can’t be located too near sinks, baths and WCs.
    At the same time, you should ask your seller where the stop tap is. This small piece of information could prove essential if you have any water-related issues shortly after you move in, so don’t forget to find out!

    The make and model of the boiler

    The make and model of the boiler will give you a clear indication of the quality of the boiler, and how old it is. You might be asked to confirm the make and model of the boiler if you choose to purchase a boiler insurance policy, so it’s worth knowing this ahead of time. Your seller should be able to confirm this information for you.

    The age of the boiler

    The age of a boiler can have a real bearing over how efficient it is, and how likely it is that it’ll need replacing in the near future. Modern boilers are designed to be highly efficient, while older versions can be less so.
    In extreme cases older boilers that are due to be replaced can even be dangerous. Talk to your seller about the age of the boiler in the property, and find out if there are any known problems such as leaks or damage to the unit.
    Boilers typically last anything from 10-15 years, so once you know how old your boiler is, you can budget for when you need to buy the next one.

    The type of boiler

    The type of boiler can have a significant impact on how well it performs. Different types of boiler will suit different requirements, so it’s worth thinking about how you’ll be using the boiler to decide on which type would best suit your needs.
    For example, if you have a large family and everyone tends to shower at roughly the same time in the morning, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a boiler that’s up to the job. Similarly, if the property you’re thinking of buying is detached, with a good number or rooms to heat, you’ll need a unit that’s powerful enough to keep every room in the house toasty and warm. That’s why it pays to check the type of the boiler installed in the property before you do anything else.

    There are several different types of boiler that you’ll find in properties in the UK. These include very common ones like gas combi boilers and regular boilers, and the likes of electric boilers and immersion heaters. System boilers are another type to be aware of, these tend to have separate water cylinders which will service different taps at once, so you won’t need a water tank.
    You might find that the property has what’s known as a flow boiler. If this is the case, you should be aware that the boiler will come with higher running costs. A flow boiler converts gas to electricity to run, which is a more expensive way of doing things than some of the more typical options such as gas combi boilers.

    "Consider factors such as family size and property layout when choosing between gas combi boilers, regular boilers, or even alternative options like electric boilers and immersion heaters. System boilers offer versatility, serving multiple taps simultaneously without the need for a water tank." Stephen Day from iHeat.
    Reallymoving says: When buying, be aware there is a shift away from gas boilers. New gas boilers are being completely phased out in the UK by the mid-2030s, so checking the boiler when buying your next home is becoming more important than ever. Making sure your boiler is energy efficient, or ideally a low-carbon system, can not only help reduce your carbon footprint, but can increase the value of your home for the future.

    The hot water cylinder

    Don’t overlook the hot water cylinder, if there is one at your new property. These units are not all created equal. In fact, newer hot water cylinders are far more efficient, and therefore cheaper to run, than their older counterparts.
    If the cylinder is insulated only by a red plastic covering then it’s likely that it’s an inefficient unit, which may need replacing with a newer version. The tank should also have its own thermostat, so check that this is visible and working.

    The gas safety record

    All boilers should be checked and serviced annually, so your seller should be able to provide you with a complete gas safety record detailing when the boiler has been serviced, and whether the unit passed all the required safety checks. Quite often you’ll find this record on a sticker on the unit itself, or it can sometimes be found on the last page of the boiler’s instruction booklet.
    However, this is only a legal requirement in rented properties, so when buying, this isn’t a cost to save money, knowing the boiler is safe is essential. Hopefully the seller will pay for it, but if not, it is worth securing your own safety certificate.

    Boilers should be serviced only by a qualified gas safe registered engineer who should be Gas Safe Registered. The details of this person will be provided on the safety record. If the boiler is due to be serviced in the near future, ask your seller can arrange to have this done before you move into the property.

    Buying a new property is a huge decision. There’s so much to think about before you decide whether or not to commit, but that’s no reason to overlook the heating system.
    While many of us take our heating for granted, when it goes wrong it can be a real nightmare. Make sure you’re fully aware of the type of boiler that your new property has, and you’ve checked up on its inspection history to ensure the unit has been serviced regularly. Your seller should be able to provide you with all the information you need on the property’s boiler and central heating system, so you can go into the sale with confidence.

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