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What are my heating and electricity options?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
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throwaway12345throwaway12345 Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
Hi all,

I own an Edinburgh tenement - top floor and I am intending to extend into the attic. At the moment I have a mains gas supply which goes to my hob and a fire in the lounge. I have a meter which allows me to use Economy 7 rates and all hot water is via an electric immersion water tank. I have electric storage heaters but have never used them since moving in a few months ago. There’s one bathroom but when I extend upstairs that’ll be increased to two... so it’ll be three double bed/a good sized lounge, a good sized kitchen/dinner, two bathrooms, and an office/nursery/whatever (there’s an extra single bedroom but it’s not a great size for that use).

A long-winded intro but that’s just to give context. Not sure I’m particularly enthusiastic about putting in radiators downstairs... but retrofitting underfloor heating might be ballache. I’m going to be redoing all the flooring on that level though... so could have wet underfloor heating... or electric underfloor heating. Then upstairs I could install anything fairly easily.

The obvious answer would be a combi boiler and an indirect unvented cylinder, right? Just in terms of cost etc? But are there better options which aren’t going to cost VASTLY more?

Don’t think I can do solar... then ground source heat pumps I guess are a no... so the alternatives are a direct unvented cylinder and electric under floor heating OR are fuel cell CHP a legit option now? Any subsidies on the horizon which’ll make them a decent option with us needed to shift away from natural gas fired combis? There doesn’t seem to be much up to date info around CHPs as though they were a flavour of the month concept a few years ago and then kinda died a death in the UK.

How would you heat and power my flat given I’d be starting from scratch and have the option of using mains natural gas?

Thanks!

Replies

  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    I would be sticking GCH all over as it's cheaper than electric. Radiators come in all shapes and sizes.

    Last thing you want is to try and heat your flat during a very cold winter with electric storage heaters.

    I'm also assuming your tenement is listed as you are in Edinburgh? That will also have an impact on what you can do externally.
  • throwaway12345throwaway12345 Forumite
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    It’s not listed, nor is it in a conservation area (on the edge of it but outside).

    Yeah, head says GCH... heart says there must be some environmentally preferable option I haven’t thought of which won’t cost the Earth/might open up if there’s a push to green home energy use across the UK.

    I moved in the middle of October and the flat hasn’t been that cold most of the time. Not enough faff about with the electric storage heaters (don’t even know if they work!)... the fire in the lounge a handful of times was fine.
  • kuratowskikuratowski Forumite
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    I have gas central heating in my flat. To make this greener, I get my gas supplied by Green Energy UK - they produce the gas themselves from animal waste so it's carbon neutral, as I understand it. It is a bit more expensive than a standard gas supplier (so not really MSE) but it makes me happier.
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    Options are

    1 all electrical
    2 all gas
    3 mix of the two

    You currently have a mix of the two Using electricity for your water and a single gas fire to heat your flat
    My guess would be that the cheapest option would be to stay like this by simply adding another gas fire into the attic. This would require a small gas pipe probably just 5mm in size.

    Converting to an all gas system via a combi boiler would be the cheapest to run but it will cost you £4-£6k to install said boiler and radiators and it's a lot of messy work which might be okay if you're doing a big refurb anyway. Just putting a second gas fire upstairs night cost closer to £1000

    Another option might be to just buy a couple of cheap plug in electrical heaters for upstairs
    Keep using the gas heater in the lounge for most your heating needs for both floors as hear rises with the plug in electrical heaters used to keep the place warm for the days the gas fires alone is insufficient
  • SolarchaserSolarchaser Forumite
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    I'd say see if you can contact home energy Scotland and the energy saving trust, as they will be able to asses your home.

    In general the first rule is insulate, insulate, insulate.

    Gas is still cheaper at the moment, but if you can do wet underfloor heating, it would imo be a better way of heating the house, rather than unsightly radiators.

    You can get help from the Scottish government with moving to renewables/energy efficiency either an interest free loan, or Grant's in certain circumstances.

    Perhaps an air source heat pump would work for you, or heat batteries like sunamp which was developed with Edinburgh university.
    West central Scotland
    4kw sse since 2014 and 6.6kw wsw / ene split since 2019
    24kwh leaf and Lux 3600 with 17kwh useable storage
  • edited 6 January 2020 at 8:31AM
    Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    edited 6 January 2020 at 8:31AM
    Hiya, if your heating needs are already quite low then you might be able to get away with one or two small ASHP's, in the form of A/C units. Perhaps a couple of 2.5kW or 3.5kW units, pulling approx 500-700W each. There are also multi-split units where you have one outside fan/compressor unit, but multiple indoor units.

    But beware the coldest period which starts now(ish), and colder than usual years, as you are relatively new to the property. This is what you need to design the solution to meet, and when outside temps are at their lowest the output (COP) of the ASHP's could fall all the way down to one, so approx 500-700W.

    Edit - Just thought, and sticking with the 'worst case scenario', if you haven't needed the storage heaters yet, then you already have them as a fall back for extreme conditions when the small A/C units might struggle.

    So a relatively cheap, easy and quick solution, with an already installed/built in additional fallback for extremes.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    Hiya, if your heating needs are already quite low then you might be able to get away with one or two small ASHP's, in the form of A/C units. Perhaps a couple of 2.5kW or 3.5kW units, pulling approx 500-700W each. There are also multi-split units where you have one outside fan/compressor unit, but multiple indoor units.

    But beware the coldest period which starts now(ish), and colder than usual years, as you are relatively new to the property. This is what you need to design the solution to meet, and when outside temps are at their lowest the output (COP) of the ASHP's could fall all the way down to one, so approx 500-700W.

    Edit - Just thought, and sticking with the 'worst case scenario', if you haven't needed the storage heaters yet, then you already have them as a fall back for extreme conditions when the small A/C units might struggle.

    So a relatively cheap, easy and quick solution, with an already installed/built in additional fallback for extremes.



    Storage heaters are unnecessary if the likes of octopus energy keep their agile tarriff it's cheap-er rate for about 21h a day followed by 3h of expensive pricing. So it's not economy 7 but economy 21

    Can even set it up so the property itself is thermal mass to get over the 3h expensive pricing by simply over heating 3-4 degrees just before the expensive rate kicks in.

    I'd be tempted to go all electric next time I need a refurb of these types of tarriffs were guaranteed or long term. A couple of heat pumps for base load heating. As many plug in electrical heaters as you want for top up. They only cost £20-30 each and will last a lifetime. Store them away during the summer months plug them in for winter

    A tank or instantaneous heater for electric water

    Since the heat pump would do the bulk of baseload annual heating and average electricity prices for those 21h look to be around 8p the heating should be reasonably affordable
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