Six heating checks every homeowner and potential buyer should make

Get a fast FREE no obligation estimate for Underfloor Heating Request an estimate

When purchasing a new home, heating is often overlooked when up against factors like location, size, budget and even fixtures and fittings. However, in a typical British home up to one third of the heat produced by central heating systems is lost through the roof, walls, floor, and windows. This means that the health of your potential new home’s heating system could make for some unexpected costs down the line.

Often, we think our key questions about the state of the house will be answered with the homebuyer’s survey. However, surveyors will often only look into the structural aspects of a house, rather than the appliances and heating systems. So, it is worth performing a ‘health’ check on a potential property or even paying for a heating engineer to review the house before purchasing to avoid surprise bills or inefficient heating when you’ve already moved in.

If you find yourself in this position, there are a few initial checks you can undertake to decide if it is worth paying for a full central heating survey. The following checklist should provide a comprehensive look at the health of any house’s heating system.


1. The Boiler: Checking not just whether it is working, but also its efficiency and longevity. A heating engineer can also estimate its age and efficiency. There are some things you can check yourself is if the boiler is floor standing. In this case it will be over 14 years old and potentially obsolete, meaning the majority of spares will be very hard to get, or completely unobtainable. A new wall mounted boiler will be the only option in the case it fails and so worth looking into as a planned expense rather than a panic buy.


2. The Hot Water Tank: If the heating system uses a hot water storage tank, you or your engineer should inspect it for any sign of weeping or leaking joints. You should also check whether it has a thermostat and whether the insulation jacket should   be replaced to improve efficiency. Another consideration is when the tank was last tested. Also check the zone valve condition operation, often located with or below the storage tank these are the valves that divert the hot water flow to either heating or both hot water and radiators.


3. Radiators: Many issues with the heating system stem from the heat emitters rather than the source. It can be hard to tell the internal condition of the radiator but there are still some checks you can carry out. When inspecting the radiators, being careful not to burn yourself, check for cold spots (usually towards the top of the radiator). Cold spots on radiators can indicate air in the system that can which is usually fixed by bleeding the radiator, but they can also indicate internal corrosion and sludge deposits inside the radiator. Look for corrosion and leaks on and around the valves and connectors on the radiators.


4. Insulation: No matter how efficient and up to date the heating system is if the house is poorly insulated it is not going to retain that heat. A poorly insulated home loses 25% of heat is lost through the roof so this is a good place to check to see the level of insulation and if you will need to replace or supplement it.


5. Underfloor heating (UFH) and Manifolds: If the property has underfloor heating this is a great sign in terms of efficiency–assuming it’s not buried in six inches of screed. If you can, try to find out if it is an overlay system like Wunda’s which can heat up in as little as 30 minutes. One of the most common problems when it comes to underfloor heating either not working or working inefficiently is to do with set up. The manifold allows water to pass through its hollow core, this water then is distributed throughout the system.


6. Smart controls and thermostat: Is the heating in the home controlled by just one thermostat? If so, ask yourself this question: would you control all the lights in your house with one switch? Using one thermostat in today’s energy crisis is archaic and counterintuitive. If the home that you are viewing has thermostats in multiple rooms, then they are already ahead of the curve. If not, try to get a quick look at one or two radiator valves (if the house has a radiator). Ideally, you’re looking to see how easy it would be to install a ‘smart’ radiator head. The Good Housekeeping Institute Approved Wunda Smart is an entire smart heating system that allows you to control the temperature of each and every room in your house as accurately as within 0.2degrees thanks to the communication between individual thermostats, smart radiator heads and the HubSwitch.


Top Tip!

When initially viewing a home, it is also a good idea to request that the heating is on in order to check if it seems to be working well. This might feel like an odd request at first but we wouldn’t think twice about checking the lights so why would you leave the heating to chance?It is also a good idea to ask about the house’s history. Find out when the last upgrades were done, when the radiators were installed and if they are drained often.You can also check that the valves are in working order.

Floor heating

Save on your heating bills, Control your comfort & Future proof your home.

Request an estimate