The clocks have changed, it is getting dark earlier and even last year's de-icer was dusted down unexpectedly this morning.
Winter is coming and with it the challenge of keeping fuel bills down as the temptation to turn the heat up or even on rises.
The energy efficiency of a property should be of tremendous importance to homeowners and in particular to landlords.
New rules are set to come into effect in April 2018 that will prevent properties that do not score at least an E rating on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) being let to new tenants or an existing tenancy being renewed with very few exceptions.
What’s more, a property that performs well in its EPC will be cheaper to run and is therefore likely to be more attractive to prospective tenants, making it easier to let and potentially increasing its rental value.
Allison Thompson, managing director at property specialist Leaders Romans Group, says: “Landlords have just six months to get their properties up to scratch, so taking action now ahead of the cold winter months is a good idea.
“Many older buildings – such as those dating back to the Victorian and Edwardian eras – will not easily pass an EPC inspection, so significant time and money is often required to allow them to achieve at least an E rating.
"As April’s deadline draws closer, I expect tradespeople to be in high demand, which is another reason to act now.”
She has outlined five tips to help homeowners and landlords alike over the coming months:
1 - Insulation
Insulating a loft and any cavity walls can make a huge difference to the result of an EPC. Insulation is more affordable than ever before and a highly effective way of retaining heat within a building.
2 - Replace the boiler
An ageing and inefficient boiler is one of the most common causes of energy inefficiency. Replacing – or even servicing – a boiler can drive down power consumption, reduce bills and improve an EPC.
3 - Replace windows and doors
Heat often escapes from rooms in the areas around doors and windows. So if you do not have modern double glazing surrounded by airtight seals you could be losing heat (and cash) in these spaces every single day.
4 - Heating controls
Even if you are happy with your old boiler, you can still make the most of it with modern heating controls. These include room thermostats and individual radiator valves that allow tenants to heat only particular parts of the home.
5 - Efficient lighting
Landlords should replace all existing halogen and standard bulbs with low-energy lighting, compact fluorescent bulbs or light emitting diodes for maximum brightness and minimum energy consumption.