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HouseWorth
© GetAgent Limited 2024
  1. Blog
  2. EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) guide
House selling tips
25 October 2022

EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) guide

Rosie Hamilton
Writer & Researcher
Old radiator next to a window sill.

Table of contents

  1. 1. What is an EPC?
  2. 2. What is an EPC rating?
  3. 3. Do I need an EPC?
  4. 4. How do I get an EPC?
  5. 5. Can you fail an EPC?
  6. 6. How do I get a copy of my EPC certificate?
  7. 7. EPC document breakdown
  8. 8. Your EPC assement and inspection
  9. 9. How accurate are EPC reports?
  10. 10. What is the EPC register?
  11. 11. New EPC regulations (2025)
  12. 12. Can you sell a property with a bad or low EPC rating?
  13. 13. FAQs

You may not know what an EPC is or if you need one in your house sale or purchase process but our guide will show you everything you need to know about EPCs and your energy rating.

What is an EPC?

EPC stands for ‘Energy Performance Certificate’. An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows how energy efficient, and environmentally friendly a property is. These certificates are a requirement if you decide to put your home up for sale, or if you want to rent your property out.

They're pretty useful for buyers and renters interested in a property, because they give an idea of how much you'd have to pay in utility bills if you lived there - and what improvements you could make to the property to make it more energy efficient.

Energy certificates include two main charts.

  1. One chart will show your home's ‘EPC rating
  2. The other, its ‘environmental impact rating

For each of these criteria, you will be shown your home's current rating and it's potential rating.

What is an EPC rating?

You might be wondering 'But what does EPC rating mean?' Luckily, it's not that complicated.

Your EPC rating is a score based on a review of your home's energy effiency. Properties are scored from A (Highly efficient) to G (Inefficient). The more efficent your property, the higher your EPC rating and the cheaper your energy bills.

To decide an EPC rating, assessors measure the following:

  1. The amount of energy used per m²
  2. The level of carbon dioxide emissions (given in tonnes per year)
EPC ratingNumerical scoreLayman meaning
A92-100Excellent energy efficiency
B81-91Very good energy efficiency
C69-80Good energy efficiency
D55-68Average or below-average energy efficiency
E39-54Below-average energy efficiency
F21-38Poor energy efficiency
G1-20Very poor energy efficiency

What is the highest EPC energy rating?

The highest energy performance rating is A, but it's unlikely that your property will achieve this score. On average, UK properties get an EPC rating D, meaning a score of 55-68.

What is EPC rating D? Is it good?

A D is considered average or below average in terms of energy efficiency. While it’s not the highest rating, it’s still acceptable and meets the minimum legal requirements for most properties. However, if you’re hoping to rent out your property, you must have a rating of *C or higher by 2025.

So is EPC rating E bad?

It's definitely far from the best. E implies the property consumes considerable amounts of energy with potentially higher energy costs. It also suggests there is significant room for improvements to your property's energy infrastructure.

Do I need an EPC?

Yes, you do need one because they're a legal requirement for selling or renting out your property. If your home hasn't received a certificate, you're legally obligated to get a EPC survey done before you put your house on the market - or advertise for tenants - or you could be fined.

In Scotland, you'll also need to display your EPC - which is produced as part of your home report - somewhere in your property. This is usually next to the boiler or electricity meter.

EPC exemptions

There are a few exceptions and cases when you do not need an EPC. Energy performance certificates aren't required for the following types of property:

  • Temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
  • Stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50 square metres
  • Holiday accommodation that’s rented out for less than 4 months a year or let under a licence to occupy
  • Listed buildings - as long as they meet minimum energy standards
  • Residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year

If you think your property falls into one of these categories, talk to your estate agent or conveyancer. They will be able to confirm whether you need an EPC or not, and if you don't, whether a certificate could still benefit your sale.

How can I check if my house has an EPC?

You can check whether your home has an EPC that's still in date by using an online EPC Checker like ours - for free, below. You can also use it to get an instant quote for a new EPC assessment:

Does my house already have an EPC?

EPCs are valid for 10 years, and you can use the one purchased by the previous owner.
So, you may have an EPC and not know it!

  1. Go to the EPC Checker (or use the form above)
  2. Enter your postcode
  3. Click "search epc register"
  4. Select your property address
  5. The results will display if you have a valid EPC
  6. Check the expiration date/valid until date
  7. This is when you will need to redo your EPC

How do I get an EPC?

To get an EPC for your house you will need to:

  1. Check there isn't an existing EPC for your property
  2. Confirm if you need an EPC for your property
  3. Find an accredited EPC assessor
  4. Book your EPC assessement (allow an hour)
  5. Make sure everything is easy to access
  6. Allow the EPC assessor in or give keys to carry out the assement
  7. Pay for the inspection
  8. Wait for the digital copy to arrive (can be as quick as 24 hours)
  9. Wait for the physical copy to arrive in the post

Can I get an EPC online?

You can book your EPC online, and you can retrieve your existing EPC online, however the actual EPC assement is carried out in person.

How do I find an accredited EPC assessor

To get an EPC you'll need an accredited assessor to complete an assessment of your property and produce a certificate. There are a couple of ways to find an accredited assessor:

  1. Through your estate agent: Your estate agent will usually offer to find you an assessor but is likely to receive a referral fee for passing on your details to the EPC provider, which may be added to the cost.
  2. Find an assessor yourself online: This is usually cheaper and our tool will show you quotes for free.

How much does an EPC cost?

An EPC (Energy performance certificate) will cost you between £35 and £120 on average, depending on the size of your property, and the provider.

Is it worth paying more for an EPC?

No, there's no benefit to getting a more expensive energy performance certificate, so it's worth shopping around for the best deal.

Does my house already have an EPC?

EPCs are valid for 10 years, and you can use the one purchased by the previous owner.
So, you may have an EPC and not know it!

In Scotland, your EPC will be included as part of your home report. You can read more about home reports, and selling a home in Scotland here.

Can you fail an EPC?

EPCs don’t have a pass or fail outcome. Instead, they provide an assessment of a property's energy efficiency and environmental impact using a scale from A to G, with A representing the highest efficiency and G indicating the lowest.

If your house receives a lower EPC rating than desired, it doesn’t that you’ve failed - rather, it highlights potential areas for improvement in terms of energy efficiency.

While you can’t appeal the EPC rating itself, you do have the right to appeal the accuracy of the information presented in the certificate if you believe there are errors or inaccuracies. In such a scenario, you should contact the assessor who issued the EPC to discuss the matter.

In any case, it might be easier to simply buy another EPC. There's no limit to the number of EPCs you can purchase for your home in a row. If you've made some significant changes six months on from your last report, ordering a new certificate can be a good way of reevaluating your rating.

How do I get a copy of my EPC certificate?

Finding a copy of your EPC certificate is super simple. If you already have a valid certificate for your house but can't find it, then you need to complete steps to get a copy:

  1. Go to the Find Energy Certificate page on the Gov.UK website.
  2. Enter your postcode and press the 'Find' button.
  3. If your property is not on the list, you don't appear to have an EPC. Don't worry, you can get an instant quote using our EPC Checker.
  4. If your property is on the list, select it.
  5. This document is your Energy Performance Certificate. You can download or print it using the interface on the left-hand of the screen.

How long does an EPC last?

EPCs are valid for 10 years before they expire. After the certificate expires, you should apply for a new one if you are planning on marketing and selling your home.

EPC document breakdown

Energy Performance Certificates are split into several sections detailing your property's energy rating:

Section 1: Your estimated energy costs and savings

The table at the bottom is a breakdown of your property's estimated costs of energy, split into three categories: lighting, heating and hot water. These figures are based on energy rates from the time the EPC was issued.

The small red and green table above contains the results from the bottom table. In red are your property's current energy costs. In green are the savings you could make as a result of recommended changes,

Remember: These running costs do not take appliances like TVs and games consoles into account, so don't be surprised if your actual costs are more.

Section 2: Your energy efficiency rating

This graph illustrates your house EPC rating score in a colour-coded format. The coloured letters start ar the bottom of the graph from 'G (Red/poor)' to 'A (Green/good)'. Your current score (49) is set against a potential score (76). The potential score is what you could achieve if you made specific changes to your property.

The average rating for a property in England and Wales is band (D).

Section 3: Your top actions for energy efficiency

Above is an overview of the top recommended actions to make your home more energy efficient and save money. This list is expanded into a full list of recommendations on page three of the EPC.

Split into three categories (Element, Description and Energy rating), your property's energy features are described in their entirety and scored out of five stars. The lowest scores (2 stars) in the example above belong to 'Windows' and 'Lighting'. Their descriptions ('Partial double glazing' and 'Low lighting in 17% of fixed outlets') explain the below average energy rating.

Below this table (not pictured) should be a brief description of your property's current energy use per squared metre.

This is a full list of recommended measures you can take to increase your home's energy efficiency and EPC rating. The table details their average costs and potential savings, as well as your possible EPC rating after implementing them. You can also see whether these developments are financed by the Green Deal government plan, which could save you some expenses.

Section 6: Your home's impact on the environment

This is a brief depiction of where your home stands on a C02 emissions chart. Lower C02 emissions are associated with EPC ratings of 'A'.

Section 7: Your home's heat demand

One of the last features of your EPC is a table depicting your home's current heating demand. The table illustrates how many kilowatts are currently needed to heat your home, and how many kilowatts certain developments could save you.

Your EPC assement and inspection

What happens during an EPC assessment?

A qualified energy assessor will carry out a survey of your property. This usually takes 2 hours. They will take notes of the size, construction, insulation, lighting and heating of your property. During your EPC assessment you should expect the following to happen:

  1. The assessor will count every light fitting you have as well as the type of fixtures you use.
  2. They will carry out a head and shoulder inspection of your loft space and see how much loft insulation is present.
  3. They will also make a visual inspection of your windows to see how much they insulate your property. If your home has a conservatory they will also take this into consideration.
  4. The primary area of the assessor's inspection is your boiler. They will check its model, heat controls, as well as any connected thermostatic radiator valves.
  5. Throughout their inspection, the assessor will take both measurements and photos of your property. They usually record the height of each room and the overall dimensions of your home.
  6. After the inspection is complete, the assessor will send an invoice for the inspection. Once this has been paid, you will receive the results of your EPC assessment and your certificate.

How do I prepare for an EPC assessment

  1. Make sure theres good access to fittings, windows, boilers and radiators.
  2. Get any relevant documents out. This includes proof of floor plans and sizes and any renovations or improvements carried out. Also make sure you have your FENSA certificate and boiler handbook.

How long does an EPC assessment take?

An EPC assement takes around 2 hours. When you request an EPC assessment, a survey will come round and examine your property and will spend around 2 hours, but it's usually less. Once payment has been received for the inspection, you will receive your EPC.

How accurate are EPC reports?

EPC reports are generally considered to be accurate in assessing the energy efficiency of a property. However, it's important to note that the accuracy of a certificate depends on the quality of the data provided and the qualifications of the energy assessor who conducted the assessment. The validity of an EPC certificate is typically based on the information available at the time of assessment, reflecting the energy performance of the property under those specific conditions.

How can I improve my EPC rating?

Your EPC rating can be improved by making your home more energy efficient. EPCs are rated out of 100 with an alphabetical score, where 'A' is the highest grade and 'E' is the lowest. Research has shown that certain home improvements are almost guaranteed to add points to your rating. Some of these improvements include:

  1. Upgrading your boiler: 40 points Upgrading your boiler will improve the energy efficiency of your dwelling because heat will be transferred much more efficiently around your home.
  2. Install Double glazing: 5 - 10 points Adding double glazing to your windows will help insulate the heat inside your property and help your property stay warm and dry.
  3. Install new or better insulation: 5 - 15 points There are two types of insulation available for your property: wall and loft insulation. Loft insulation will raise your EPC rating by 5 - 15 points, while wall insulation your rating by 5 - 10 points.

You can find out more about how to improve your EPC rating in our blog, 'How to improve your EPC rating'.

What is the EPC register?

The domestic EPC register is the government's database of energy performance certificates. You can use the government register to look at the energy efficiency rating of most UK properties online and free of charge.

This means you can check whether you have a valid EPC already, and compare your property's energy efficiency rating with other similar properties. Unless you opt out of the register, your property's energy performance certificate will be available for anyone to search for too.

Does my house already have an EPC?

EPCs are valid for 10 years, and you can use the one purchased by the previous owner.
So, you may have an EPC and not know it!

New EPC regulations (2025)

The UK government has announced new legislation to take effect in 2025.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) will be raised to a minimum EPC rating of ‘C’ in England and Wales.

Currently the MEES allows for rented properties to be legally let out with a minimum rating of E. To ensure rented properties are improved by landlords to ensure a good standard of living for private tenants, the government has raised the minimum rating to C.

These changes will affect all domestic rented properties in England and Wales and all existing tenancies will have a grace period until 2028 to comply.

Can you sell a property with a bad or low EPC rating?

Yes you can sell a property with a low EPC rating, but a bad rating will certainly affect your chance of selling. High energy costs are a big turn off for anyone looking to move home. To find out more about how you can improve your property's EPC rating, check out our blog.

FAQs

Can you fail an EPC?

While you can't fail an EPC, it's illegal to let out a property that is rated F or G under current Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), with the minimum requirement being E.

In 2025, this minimum requirement will change to C to ensure better standards of living for private tenants.

Who pays for EPC certificate?

The owner of the property is the person who pays for the EPC certificate.

Do estate agents pay for EPC?

Estate agents can pay for the EPC on your behalf, but they charge commission for this task.

How accurate are EPC reports?

While EPC reports are mostly accurate, that doesn't mean they all are. Some outdated techniques to measure floor space have been proven to result in inaccurate EPC ratings. Measurements of floor space are integral to an accurate EPC rating, as a 1% change in property area can result in a 1 EPC point loss.

Need a reliable EPC? You can check here whether your home’s EPC is still valid, or get an instant quote for a new assessment here.

How quickly can you get an EPC Certificate?

You can get an EPC certificate in 2 days. If you're lucky you may be able to get one the next day. The overall process, from booking to having an EPC check, is usually 48 hours. Inspections last 2 hours but can be much shorter.

What happens if I don't get an EPC?

Nothing will happen if you don't get an EPC, but you won't be able to sell your home without one. What's more, you might miss out on potential energy bill savings highlighted by the certificate.

Is it possible to fail an EPC?

You can't fail an EPC you would only be given the lowest EPC rating of "G"

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