Should I get a Central Heating Survey?

It is estimated that only 20% of people get a professional Homebuyer survey undertaken at a property prior to purchase. Of those who don’t buy a condition report, RICS estimate that one in five end up uncovering faults with their property, while a further 17% of people end up paying out more than £12,000 to make their new homes habitable. If there are issues with the Central Heating system or heating oil contamination, it is possible that this could be much more expensive. 

Homebuyer Property Survey Reports vary in detail depending on the level. It is highly recommended that you undertake one of these surveys as it can identify potential issues, which may be rectified by the seller prior to the sale. 

It must be noted that in general the following applies when it comes to the central heating system during property surveys: 

  • Only accessible parts of the system are visually inspected 
  • No tests on the system or appliances
  • No checking of energy efficiency heating installations 
  • No enquiries about heating oil contamination or other environmental dangers unless visible. 


If you have concerns regarding the age or condition of the heating oil infrastructure or a surveyor has identified a potential issue, it is recommended to appoint a specialised surveyor such as SSS Alleviate to undertake an Oil Heating Risk Survey . 

If you don’t fully assess your oil central heating system, the future costs could include the following: 

  • Existing heating oil contamination – If you buy a property with heating oil contamination, you may find the house is not habitable. It is likely that you will be liable for the remedial works which on average cost £30,000 but can often cost in excess of £100,000. The issue gets more complicated if a neighbour or natural environment has been impacted.
  • Inefficient Boiler – If you purchase a property with an inefficient boiler, you could literally be throwing money away. It is estimated the average boiler energy efficiency in Northern Ireland is 65%. Meaning for every £100 of oil you are wasting £35. If the boiler is in disrepair or has poor energy efficiency, you may be required to upgrade it which may cost between £2,750 – £5,220. 
  • Replacement Oil Tank or base – If the heating oil tank is in disrepair, it may require replacement and likely needs the replacement of the tank base. It is possible that this work may cost between £2600 – £4100 to meet regulations. 
  • Non – Compliant with Fire Regulations – It is a requirement that your heating oil system complies with the fire regulations as set out in the building regulations. There may be some costly works required to ensure your system is compliant, this includes fire protection measures e.g. fireboard. 
  • Replacement of Oil Feed Pipe – If your heating oil feed pipe has failed a pressure test or has not been replaced in many years, it may require replacement. If this is not inside protective pipe, it can be very difficult to replace especially if it is below ground. If it travels below a garage, house or patio, your costs could start to increase significantly as the labour and disruption increases. 

Our Heating Surveys contain a mix of hands on and visual inspections to provide you detailed information to prevent potential issues following purchase. If these issues are pointed out prior to the sale it is possible that they may be rectified by the seller or some negotiation may be possible with the sale price. It may also just educate you about what improvements could be made to prevent the loss of oil or improve energy efficiency. 

Get in touch now to book your Central Heating Survey.