Every property we survey has one. What is your assessor looking for in the kitchen and is there anything that you can do to improve your score here? We’ll look at the rules that apply in this room and how your assessor will apply them.
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One of the busiest rooms in any home, the kitchen makes up part of the EPC. When completing an EPC assessment, this is the room that I usually start in. A nice flat worktop to lay my pad on and start sketching out the floor plan after I’ve already got a rough idea of the layout walking through to it.
There is nothing too dissimilar about this room to the other rooms in your home but there are a couple of additional things we need to check.
As with the other rooms, we’ll have a look at the radiator. Are there any? Do they have a TRV? We’ll check the main light to see if it has an energy saving bulb or not. We’ll also look at the windows to determine their construction and age.
Your assessor will have to put in a little more thought in this room though.
Is Your Kitchen a ‘Habitable Room’?
First, do we classify this as a habitable room? The rules state that you must be able to fit in a table and chairs for four people to be able to count it as habitable. The table and chairs do not have to be in the room, but your assessor needs to estimate whether they would fit. This will transform the room into a kitchen diner and can be counted as a habitable room.
How do habitable rooms affect the EPC? Well in short, not too much. I completed a survey earlier today and I thought I’d test it. The house was a 3 bedroom mid terraced house and the result it got was a band C with 75 out of 100 points. The kitchen was large with plenty of space for a table with four chairs. After the survey and the certificate was uploaded, I created a test property with all the same details. Except the kitchen. I didn’t count this as a habitable room. The score stayed the same. Then I wanted to see how far I’d need to go to see a difference, and which way that difference would be. The habitable rooms needed to be adjusted from 5 to 2. This reduced the score to 74. The result on this property may not be representative of the outcome on all homes, my estimate is that the lower the score on the property, the more the affect will be. However, this is clearly not a place to jump bands on your EPC.
External Doors: Which is Best?
Most kitchens also have a back or side external door. Part of the EPC is for your assessor to total the number of external doors and check for those that have improved thermal properties, like composite doors. Ninety nine times out of one hundred our customers won’t have any information about the thermal properties of their doors. Its usually on a quotation, invoice or specification document for a new door. In the case where this is missing, we need to mark it down as a ‘normal’ door. Some points are lost here, but again not certificate.
Revisiting the property from earlier today. Lets have a look to see what improvements would be made if they client had a composite back door with the documentation to back it up. A half glazed (typical back door) will have a U Value of around 1.40W/m2/K. If we apply this to the house, it makes no difference to this home’s EPC score. To gain a single point in this home, the average U Value across the two doors (front and back) would need to be 0.5W/m2/K. This is roughly the equivalent of two non glazed composite doors.
The final difference in kitchens is the potential for under cabinet lighting. To squeeze every point out of your EPC, make sure you have energy saving lighting EVERYWHERE. We’ve completed so many EPCs where one bulb is not energy saving and this was the difference between gaining an additional band. The home from earlier today had 40% energy savers, which is one of the poorer ones we see. If they had LEDs in every fitting, it would have been an additional one point. Not a huge deal, but this would have left the property just 5 points short of band B for less than twenty quid. There is a link between house values and EPC prices and lenders are looking at EPCs when making lending decisions. It’s well worth upgrading your home to the best EPC score you can.
If you are squeezing out points, trying to get to that next band, there are a couple of opportunities in your kitchen. If you can get a 4 seater table with chairs in there, leave no doubt in the assessors mind and put it there prior to your assessment. If you do have composite doors installed, dig out your paperwork to find those U-Values. Finally, LED lighting. Make sure every fitting has some form of low energy lighting installed. This could gain you up to three points, just in this room and tip the scale in your favour for a higher valuation and an easier mortgage application