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Finding an installer

Are you looking to upgrade your insulation, install solar panels or swap out your old heating system? Here’s everything you need to know about finding the right installer for the job.

Whatever you decide to install in your home, unless it’s a simple task like draught-proofing or adding DIY insulation in your loft space, you’ll need to find someone up to the task.

Here are some simple tips and advice to help you find the right installer for your job.

Shop around for at least three quotes

We recommend that you get at least three quotes from three different installers before carrying out any work on your home to give you options to choose from and to ensure you’re getting good value for money.

Try not to compare different installers on cost alone, as the cheapest might not be the best option. It’s worth checking your quotes for the following:

  • Does the quote cover all the work, or will you need to hire other tradespeople to complete jobs as part of the project?
  • Does the quote include all the products and work required, for example, removing an old heating system, replacing it with a new one and disposing of the old product?
  • Does the quote include all materials required to complete the job, or will you be billed for those on top?
  • What are your payment options? Your up-front deposit should be no more than 25% of the total cost quoted and it should be protected by insurance.

Quotes should also include any information about the product you have chosen to install, for example a specific type of insulation or a new heating system. Check that your installer has considered all available options and offered you advice on which one is best for your home.

Search for a qualified installer

Make sure your chosen installer is fully qualified and, if possible, accredited with a relevant trade body or certification scheme. Members of industry or trade bodies and associations agree to follow a code of professional practice, meaning that customers who use them will receive excellent customer service.

For example, if you’re looking for someone to install insulation, we’d recommend using an installer who is a member of the National Insulation Association.

If an installer has carried out work at other properties in your area, it’s also worth reading their company reviews and checking how other people have rated their work through websites like Checkatrade.

Your installer should also be able to provide you with a guarantee for the quality of their work, as well as any warranties that come with the products they install.

The Competition and Markets Authority have produced this handy guide to finding an installer and working with them through the installation process.

Renewable energy certification scheme

If you’re looking to install a renewable energy system like a heat pump, solar panels, or a biomass boiler, we recommend you use an installer who is certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). You can search their website to find an MCS approved installer near you.

You should also try to find an installer who is listed on the Competent Persons Register. This government-backed scheme allows installers to self-certify that their work complies with building regulations. Once they’ve completed the job, they should give you a certificate of compliance, which means you don’t need to submit a building notice.

Check if you need planning permission

Depending on the type of property you live in and the work you’re having done, you may need to get planning permission or a building warrant from your local planning authority or office.

Additional restrictions apply to listed buildings or homes in conservation areas and national parks, so you should always check if this applies to you. Londoners can access the local planning department via the Planning Portal. You should also check that the installation complies with building regulations in your area.

Always make sure you have the right permissions in place before beginning any installation or energy efficiency upgrades.

Update your home insurance policy

Check with your home insurance provider to ensure that any changes you’ve made to your home are covered by your existing policy. You may need to make some adjustments or add your new system to your policy. Some home insurance policies are likely to cover more common systems, like solar panels, but you should always check first.

What else should I check?

Some installations may require routine maintenance, so ask your installer to leave written details of any maintenance checks that you should carry out to ensure everything is working properly. Heating systems should also be checked periodically for safety.

If you used an MCS-certified installer to fit a new renewable system, you should also receive an installation certificate. Your installer should register your new system within 10 working days of completing the full installation, so check that they’ve done this before they leave your home.

It’s also worth asking your installer to explain how your new installation and any controls work, and they should give you any manuals that came with it.