Viewing a house tomorrow that has Calor gas bottles for heating..

Is it possible to have the system changed to central heating? or another means of heating like a heat pump? I know that's probably quite a vague question as I don't know much about the property and the area but I can't see any other houses on that street with Calor gas bottles outside so seems to be the anomaly. 
I'm wondering if there is some reason as to why it hasn't been changed or if its just personal choice.

Thanks in advance.


  • macman
    macman Forumite Posts: 52,866
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    You can change it to any heating system you like, subject to budget, but the exception would be mains gas if there is no mains gas available in the area.
    And that would of course be the cheapest option.
    If you want CH, your only options are mains gas, oil, or a heat pump. Electric wet CH is ruinously expensive.
    Without mains gas, NSH's and an immersion heater running on E7 may be your best option in place of CH.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • rp1974
    rp1974 Forumite Posts: 676
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Unless there's the option of mains gas being available then any offer you make should be reduced by an appropriate amount,as much as possible to accommodate installing the heating system of your choice.
    As above oil can work without being hideously expensive,bar recent price spiking for the obvious reasons as can LPG,but in both cases youd need a check done to ensure you could fit the tanks required for oil,or gas and that there's easy accessibility for refilling them.
    Don't know much about heat pumps,seem a valuable option if you've no alternative to electric heating/water,generally expensive but might be various grants and or funding to help with the cost.Think that until recently you paid upfront for the system yourself and reclaimed a significant amount of the cost back over seven years,uncertain as to what the situation is at the present time,and will likely be different depending on where your based.
    Good luck with the viewing.
  • Reed_Richards
    Reed_Richards Forumite Posts: 3,357
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    Calor gas containers are not very large so it would be worth asking how much they cost and how frequently they need to be changed.  If the vendor answers honestly that should give you some idea of running costs.  
  • matelodave
    matelodave Forumite Posts: 8,388
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    The sums are pretty easy to enable you to get a rough idea of the heating cost and to help you decide whether to go ahead bearing in mind that there'll be a substantial cost to change the heating system to something else and you'd need to find out the costs of the different fuels.

    Have a look at the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) to find out how much energy the place need to provide heat and hot water in kwh. Add them together and it'll give you a rough idea of how much you need. Say you need 15,000kwh for heating and 2500kwh for hot water then the total would be 17,500 kwh as a working baisis

    Propane provides 14kwh per kg or 7kwh per litre so you'd need at least 175000/14 = 1250kg which in 47kg cylinders is around 27 a year (plus a few more if the place has a gas cooker)

    Phone up Calor or Flogas to find out how much 47kg cylinder refills costs. Gas in cylinders is much more expensive than bulk LPG, so if you've got space then you could consider the option of getting bulk LPG installed (you'd need around 2500litres of LPG to provide 17500kwh) but again you need to consider the cost of installation and cost of bulk LPG

    Oil is also a possibilty if you've got space for a tank but you'll need to replace the boiler as well - oil provode around 10kwh a litre so 17500kwh would need 1750litres -  a couple of weeks ago people were whinging that oil had gotten very expensive at around £1.50 or more a litre which could cost around £2,600 or more )

    You'd need 17500kwh of leccy using most forms of heating (radiant, storage, or even hot water etc) however a properly installed heat pump could reduce that down to around 6000kwh HOWEVER leccy is still very expensive at around 29pkwh and likely to to increase substantially in October, so 175,000kw would cost around £5000 and even with a heatpump 6000kwh of leccy will cost you £1750 plus around another £1000 for lighting cooking washing etc)
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • Ebe_Scrooge
    Ebe_Scrooge Forumite Posts: 7,320
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    You need to find out whether mains gas is available in that location.  If it isn't then that won't be an option for you.  Oil is probably one of the cheapest alternatives, but you could consider heat pumps or pellet boilers.  Obviously you've got to factor in storing the oil or pellets, which will add to the cost.  And if you're changing from whatever fuel source is currently being used, you're going to need a new boiler.
    One thought occurs to me - how big are the gas "bottles" you can see?  Are they big tanks, or 47KG bottles like this:   ?
    I only ask because in our village we don't have mains gas - most people use oil.  But some people have these gas bottles in addition to the oil central heating, they're used just to run the cooker hob (if you want to use a gas hob rather than electric which is the only other option).  So it may be that the central heating already uses oil, and the bottle you can see are just for cooking.  Just a thought.

  • lohr500
    lohr500 Forumite Posts: 779
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    There is a thread here on the large 47Kg Calor propane cylinders. Might be worth a read through.

    As per Reed_Richards suggestion, ask lots of questions and establish exactly how the heating works.

    • How does the bottled gas heating work?
    • Is it supplemented by electrical heating in the form of night storage heaters on an Economy 7 tariff or electric heaters run during the day?
    • Does it also heat the hot water or is the water heated by electricity? If electricity, is this on an Economy 7 tariff?
    • Why LPG bottles?
    • Is there no mains gas?
    • Did the householder consider oil or bulk LPG?
    • Does the owner know how nearby properties are heated? 
    If the bottled gas heating and/or hot water are being supplemented by electricity you need to dig into this and establish the monthly electricity usage as well. It could turn out to be a very, very expensive house to run.    

    A lack of investment in the heating infrastructure MAY be a flag indicating a lack of wider investment in the property's upkeep so I would be looking closely at the condition of the property. There could well be a perfectly good reason for using 47Kg gas bottles though, so it would be wrong to jump to conclusions prematurely. 

    From a quick google, a 47Kg propane bottle contains 92 litres of liquid gas. Once you have established if it does have an LPG boiler and how much 47Kg refills are in the area, you could then work out the cost per litre and get quotes from bulk LPG suppliers to supply a tank and LPG. If you plan to stay there for a while and the existing system is relatively new, then a bulk LPG tank may a worthwhile consideration.

    Knowing the cost may help in negotiating the house price down if you decide it is the property for you.
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