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  • FIRST POST
    • cagreen13
    • By cagreen13 13th Jun 19, 4:45 PM
    • 21Posts
    • 5Thanks
    cagreen13
    Install gas or go green?
    • #1
    • 13th Jun 19, 4:45 PM
    Install gas or go green? 13th Jun 19 at 4:45 PM
    Hello, I am looking for advice as I am feeling crippled by too much choice! I have been thinking about updating my antiquated heating arrangements for years but never had the money to do it. I now have a £25,000 budget but it feels like such a huge job that I'm struggling to decide what to do.

    I live alone in a detached bungalow which is built in a + shape, meaning a lot of outside walls. I have cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and had new double glazing in 2005. There is no gas supply and currently the heating comes from storage heaters: two modern, one quite old and one from the Ark which only gets switched on when the temperature hits 0. My main water tank is heated by an immersion heater which I only switch on when I want a bath. Usually my hot water comes from a small separate immersion heater for washing up and my electric shower.

    The heat I get from the storage heaters is expensive and on the coldest days my living room isn't comfortable as the storage heater in there is too small for the space.

    The most obvious thing to do would be to get my house connected to a gas supply. Other houses along my road have done this so it should be quite straightforward. However, gas central heating feels like a step backwards considering that we're all meant to be moving towards a greener future.

    I've considered ground source heat pumps but a builder friend has told me he thinks the technology "isn't quite there yet." Considering that my house is so difficult to insulate, although I love the idea of this option I'm afraid that if I go with it I will end up with a system that doesn't provide the heat I need. Does anyone know if heat pumps can come with any form of backup if the weather is particularly cold? Could you have gas central heating as well, or storage heaters?

    I am also thinking about solar water heating, if it could be connected to my immersion heater.I believe I could claim money back via the renewable heat incentive. Unfortunately I missed the boat with solar panels for electricity now the feed-in tariff no longer exists.

    I have been driving myself crazy trying to work out my best options within my £25k budget. I am not planning to move and so am looking for what can save me money long term. I'm 41 and I like the idea of generating as much of my own energy as possible in the long run so my pension (should I ever catch up with the ever increasing retirement age!) is not all spent on heating. I also want to be as green as I can afford to be.

    I have considered:

    1) New efficient storage heaters + solar water heating. Hope that one day storage heaters can be replaced by a ground source heat pump, or look into whether a heat pump could be used alongside storage heaters.

    2) Put up with the disruption of having gas installed. Also install solar water heating to keep water bills down. Accept that I might have to have my garden dug up a second time if ground source heat pumps become a viable option. (Could I use the same radiators for both gas and heat pumps?)

    3) Take a chance on the ground source heat pumps in conjunction with solar water heating and think about additional heating if it all goes wrong. (I've pretty much ruled this out!)

    If anyone has any advice, I would be extremely grateful for your thoughts. In particular:
    • Does anyone have experience of using solar water heating with an immersion heater?
    • Does anyone know if you can use backup heating with ground source heat pumps and if so, what kind?
    • Does anyone have experience of any of the renewable technologies I've mentioned, and do you have any advice?

    I am sorry that my post is so long. Any advice would be very welcome.
Page 1
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 13th Jun 19, 5:10 PM
    • 4,656 Posts
    • 2,997 Thanks
    matelodave
    • #2
    • 13th Jun 19, 5:10 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Jun 19, 5:10 PM
    Gas if you can get it. It's probably cheaper and more controllable than other forms of heating.

    I'm not everso convinced about solar hot water. When we had an airsource heatpump installed nine years ago I was tempted to go for solar hot water but even the installer suggested that as I would probably only pay £100 or so a year for hot water, the £2k cost (at that time) of installing it would probably take around 20 years to pay back.

    Our airsource heatpump does what it says on the tin, gives us cheap heating and hot water BUT it was fairly expensive at around £7500 against say £3k -£3.5k for an oil boiler ,oil tank and installation but we'll recover about £5k in RHI over seven years, so I reckon it's probably paid for itself already.


    It does have a back-up facility with a 6kw immersion heater which can supplement the heating if it gets everso cold, but we've been ok down to -15 so I've got it turned off. Those systems that rely on the boost heater to give higher temperatures will cost a lot of money to run so you need to ensure that the heating and hot water system is suitably specified to use low flow temperatures.

    I estimate that our energy cost is around 4p/kwh (based on a Cop of around 3 and leccy at 11.5p/kwh) which is still more expensive than mains gas, but we can't get gas, so our options are storage heaters, LPG, Oil,biomass or what we've got - but we'd need space to store the fuel whether its a big oil tank, gas tank or a shed for the biomass.

    I'd advise you do you your sums very carefully to decide what would actually work best for you - we are at home all day, so the slow response and continuous running of an ASHP at a low flow temperature works for us. It may not be suitable if you want fast response or a high temperature system.

    A poorly spec'd system will cost a lot to run and you wont be satisfied.
    Last edited by matelodave; 13-06-2019 at 5:13 PM.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
    • AndyPK
    • By AndyPK 13th Jun 19, 5:49 PM
    • 3,990 Posts
    • 1,163 Thanks
    AndyPK
    • #3
    • 13th Jun 19, 5:49 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Jun 19, 5:49 PM
    I would have electric PV solar panels, which charge up some large batteries in an outhouse.

    This stored elec can be used to power lights, immersion and instant water heater. Ideally everything used during the day.

    Then use E7 night rate for your heaters.

    I think this tech is with us now.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 13th Jun 19, 6:14 PM
    • 4,656 Posts
    • 2,997 Thanks
    matelodave
    • #4
    • 13th Jun 19, 6:14 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Jun 19, 6:14 PM
    I spend less than £1k a year on all my energy (heating, hot water, cooking etc)

    If I squandered £25k on an all off grid solution it would take me 25 years to get my money back.

    Possibly less if energy costs rise, possibly more if the solar panels, inverters, and batteries don't last for 25 years and need replacing
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
    • cagreen13
    • By cagreen13 13th Jun 19, 6:16 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    cagreen13
    • #5
    • 13th Jun 19, 6:16 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Jun 19, 6:16 PM
    Thank you. I certainly do have a lot of suns to do before I make a decision! I work from home some days so constant heat would work for me. It’s one of the reasons I don’t completely hate storage heaters.
    • cagreen13
    • By cagreen13 13th Jun 19, 6:32 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    cagreen13
    • #6
    • 13th Jun 19, 6:32 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Jun 19, 6:32 PM
    I should probably clarify that when I said I had a 25k budget, that was the total maximum and not what I was aspiring to spend! I would ideally like to make other home improvements at the same time, to make the most of one period of disruption. They will of course all be carefully considered and costed. ��
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 13th Jun 19, 6:57 PM
    • 8,691 Posts
    • 7,552 Thanks
    Norman Castle
    • #7
    • 13th Jun 19, 6:57 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Jun 19, 6:57 PM
    I would start by getting quotes for the gas connection and heating system and use that as a comparison for other options.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
    • markin
    • By markin 13th Jun 19, 7:28 PM
    • 846 Posts
    • 692 Thanks
    markin
    • #8
    • 13th Jun 19, 7:28 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Jun 19, 7:28 PM
    Battery's just aren't ready yet, But the is a new range of carbon enhanced designs on the way and solid state being developed not too far off, I would expect the Tesla PowerWall 3 to have carbon in it.



    Solar will likely be cheaper in 5 years also...
    • PennineAcute
    • By PennineAcute 13th Jun 19, 7:40 PM
    • 511 Posts
    • 278 Thanks
    PennineAcute
    • #9
    • 13th Jun 19, 7:40 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Jun 19, 7:40 PM
    Make your decision before 2025, otherwise you will have installed mains gas and cannot get a combi boiler. If my memory serves me correctly, new installations of gas heating is banned from 2025.

    Or it is maybe just new gas main installtions that are banned from 2025.
    • silverwhistle
    • By silverwhistle 13th Jun 19, 7:51 PM
    • 2,695 Posts
    • 4,031 Thanks
    silverwhistle
    I spend less than £370 (projected) for all my energy, although that's following a 50% price increase, courtesy of OFGEM. I don't cost in the labour for scrounging and prepping my wood, but that saves me the cost of gym!


    My water is mostly heated by spare power from my solar panels - 8 months of the year and help outside that period too. I also use a small oil filled radiator in the shoulder months to mop up spare power. Bear in mind that from the beginning of next year there should be a return based on what you export which again changes the economics of it (as opposed to now when new installations will have to donate surplus to their DNO!).


    If you over-specced on PV panels but had W as well as S facing you'd extend the useful period of the day you received power but not conflict with the restrictions on peak power output. Even then you can get permission for greater outputs, others on here can advise more.



    Certainly gas is cheaper at the moment, but there is a general move to decarbonise the economy and I can understand your motivation. I do have gas I can turn to but ironically only turn the central heating on as frost protection when I go off skiing and occasionally bursts for hot water.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 13th Jun 19, 7:52 PM
    • 98,597 Posts
    • 67,050 Thanks
    dunstonh
    We are on oil and at some point we will move to an alternative but the technology is not there yet and there are better ways to spend our money first (some of the windows are single glazed and some brickwork is single layer with no insulation).

    If you are going to spend £25k (or have that amount available) it won't just be about the heating method but also retaining heat. The "green" systems work best on well-sealed houses. They are not as effective in houses with substandard insulation. I
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • reeac
    • By reeac 13th Jun 19, 8:03 PM
    • 1,368 Posts
    • 545 Thanks
    reeac
    The RHI transforms the economics. You can recover a good deal of the capital cost over 7 years. One point, though, is that presumably you have no radiators and associated pupework at present so you'd have to get all that installed. This will need costing although the good news is that the system can be designed to suit the lower temperature output of a heat pump.
    My son is about to convert from oil to an air source heat pump system having discussed it with a neighbour who switched about a year ago. If our 22 year old boiler were to go seriously wrong I think that I would follow suit.
    • Richie-from-the-Boro
    • By Richie-from-the-Boro 13th Jun 19, 8:26 PM
    • 6,497 Posts
    • 4,871 Thanks
    Richie-from-the-Boro
    "on the coldest days my living room isn't comfortable as the storage heater in there is too small for the space"
    Says it all really. Radiation is good Convection is bad. So any standard 3.4kW storage heater £300+ wired in-line could be supplement your living area, installed and wired in 30 minutes.

    In most cases many many people who've had storage heaters for 40-50 years still have not learned to use them correctly, e.g. I've never opened a damper - ever.

    Stored water and heat is about 30% cheaper than normal electric. Unless someone has been unlucky they are maintenance free. Get on a good E7 tariff. Last advice stay clear of Fischer and other similar advertisers, they are NOT storage heater, they STORE no heat.

    Save your money for the real need - insulation & glazing. Best of luck.
    Disclaimer : Everything I write on this forum is my opinion. I try to be an even-handed poster and accept that you at times may not agree with these opinions or how I choose to express them, this is not my problem. The Disabled : If years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years - Alf Morris - ℜ
    • busybee100
    • By busybee100 13th Jun 19, 8:26 PM
    • 1,332 Posts
    • 2,595 Thanks
    busybee100
    We downsized last year to a house with small storage heaters. I really struggled with what would be the best for us as I would have loved to invest in ashp and solar. Eventually I opted for a gas supply and central heating, it still doesn't sit well with me but I just couldn't make the figures work. The big thing for me is adequate heating in Winter, now that's sorted I can think about solar for when the next incentive comes along and then an ev. It did feel like a huge decision but it was thinking about heating that made me realise which route to take.

    • cagreen13
    • By cagreen13 13th Jun 19, 9:11 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    cagreen13
    [/QUOTE]Stored water and heat is about 30% cheaper than normal electric.

    Last advice stay clear of Fischer and other similar advertisers, they are NOT storage heater, they STORE no heat.

    Save your money for the real need - insulation & glazing. Best of luck.[/.[/QUOTE]

    Thank you for mentioning water - I forgot to mention that my water isn’t heated by my E7 tariff and that’s something I need to look into. Any advice on how? Aside from the obvious of contacting my supplier?

    Yes I have seen through Fischer...my good storage heaters are from Dimplex and have been very reliable. I’d be tempted to stick with them if I went down this route but need to do more research.

    I’d love to do more in the way of insulation but I’ve already done cavity walls and loft. When the previous occupant bought the bungalow new in the 50s he filled every crack in the floorboards with sawdust and glue to stop the draughts. Pretty enterprising for the time but now I simply can’t face the thought of trying to get the floorboards up to add insulation! I might well end up without a floor!
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 13th Jun 19, 9:33 PM
    • 10,090 Posts
    • 12,666 Thanks
    Owain Moneysaver
    Good thick underlay and carpet makes a surprising difference to a wooden floor.

    Or cork tiles/underlay under laminate or engineered wood if you want a solid floor finish.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • bristolleedsfan
    • By bristolleedsfan 13th Jun 19, 10:39 PM
    • 7,885 Posts
    • 9,897 Thanks
    bristolleedsfan
    Make your decision before 2025, otherwise you will have installed mains gas and cannot get a combi boiler. If my memory serves me correctly, new installations of gas heating is banned from 2025.

    Or it is maybe just new gas main installtions that are banned from 2025.
    Originally posted by PennineAcute





    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47559920
    • Richie-from-the-Boro
    • By Richie-from-the-Boro 14th Jun 19, 12:20 AM
    • 6,497 Posts
    • 4,871 Thanks
    Richie-from-the-Boro
    Stored water and heat is about 30% cheaper than normal electric.

    Last advice stay clear of Fischer and other similar advertisers, they are NOT storage heater, they STORE no heat.

    Save your money for the real need - insulation & glazing. Best of luck.[/.[/QUOTE]

    Thank you for mentioning water - I forgot to mention that my water isnít heated by my E7 tariff and thatís something I need to look into. Any advice on how? Aside from the obvious of contacting my supplier?

    Yes I have seen through Fischer...my good storage heaters are from Dimplex and have been very reliable. Iíd be tempted to stick with them if I went down this route but need to do more research.

    Iíd love to do more in the way of insulation but Iíve already done cavity walls and loft. When the previous occupant bought the bungalow new in the 50s he filled every crack in the floorboards with sawdust and glue to stop the draughts. Pretty enterprising for the time but now I simply canít face the thought of trying to get the floorboards up to add insulation! I might well end up without a floor![/QUOTE]

    Most regulars on this site know I'm a fan of Quantum. With water you need a partL type compatible cylinder preferably with enough head-height for gravity fed hot water system. It's a heck of a price for a centrally controlled water and heat system and will be a - l o n g break even point.

    However if you install a 3.4 kW any brand in your [most of your waking life] your living room you will have a sufficiently comfortable area to spend your life. The trick (and there is one) is to learn to use NSH and drive the % of night use ALL water and heat to 30%+ of ALL use.

    - you will, twice a year need instant on demand heating
    - you need both water and heat on E7
    - you need a 'best' tariff for your area code
    - you need leccy counter distribution @ 30% +

    Best of luck in your thinking
    Disclaimer : Everything I write on this forum is my opinion. I try to be an even-handed poster and accept that you at times may not agree with these opinions or how I choose to express them, this is not my problem. The Disabled : If years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years - Alf Morris - ℜ
    • GunJack
    • By GunJack 14th Jun 19, 8:39 AM
    • 10,795 Posts
    • 8,094 Thanks
    GunJack
    Nice to see you still inhabit MSE Richie
    ......Gettin' There, Wherever There is......

    I have a dodgy "i" key, so ignore spelling errors due to "i" issues, ...I blame Apple
    • Richie-from-the-Boro
    • By Richie-from-the-Boro 14th Jun 19, 12:24 PM
    • 6,497 Posts
    • 4,871 Thanks
    Richie-from-the-Boro
    Nice to see you still inhabit MSE Richie
    Originally posted by GunJack
    Regards GunJack.

    Nice to know you also are still active on MSE gun jack. You always made common sense helpful suggestions over an extended time on the techie sub-site.
    Disclaimer : Everything I write on this forum is my opinion. I try to be an even-handed poster and accept that you at times may not agree with these opinions or how I choose to express them, this is not my problem. The Disabled : If years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years - Alf Morris - ℜ
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