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  • FIRST POST
    • cagreen13
    • By cagreen13 13th Jun 19, 4:45 PM
    • 21Posts
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    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 2
    • Richie-from-the-Boro
    • By Richie-from-the-Boro 14th Jun 19, 4:16 PM
    • 6,497 Posts
    • 4,871 Thanks
    Richie-from-the-Boro
    Stored water and heat is about 30% cheaper than normal electric.

    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]

    10 litre minimum INDIRECT CYLINDER, two immersion ports. partL insulated start @ £100 [ish] (see screfix site). non-Dimplex 3.4kW storage heater £300+ [ish]. If your current hot water cylinder has enough gravity a straight swap is easy and cheapest. look for the dimplex book - its here.

    Best to you cagreen13.
    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
    • Richie-from-the-Boro
    • By Richie-from-the-Boro 14th Jun 19, 4:31 PM
    • 6,497 Posts
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    Richie-from-the-Boro
    Underloor insulation is never easy or cheap. Usually a suspended timber floor can be anywhere from 6" to 3-4'. for cross flow if yours was built after the 20's that's normally air-brick cross flow anyway. Loft hatch and particularly non-balloon open fires are a very very major loss of expensive heat energy.

    A 5 or 6 brick pier crawl space will be 16-18", plenty of advice on the interwibble on who/what/costing, certainly summer is better than winter, this IMO is where you should consider cost/benefit spend.
    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
    • cagreen13
    • By cagreen13 14th Jun 19, 6:18 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    cagreen13

    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
    Originally posted by Richie-from-the-Boro
    Hi Ritchie, thank you for this and your other replies. I really appreciate the time and thought you have given this. This is an area Iím coming to completely cold (ha ha) and though I can sit down and do the maths on prices / kWh I am totally out of my depth on the technical side. Thatís why Iím grateful for advice from anyone whoís not a salesman!

    Now I have an admission to make: I didnít understand quite a lot of what youíve said! Re the water, was your opinion that I should be on an E7 rate or that I shouldnít because itíll be a long time before I see a return? Iím still quite keen on solar water heating for green reasons, if that makes a difference.

    Iím also not sure what you mean by leccy counter distribution at 30%?

    I also wondered, as you obviously know about Quantum, if in your experience it would be a good investment for someone who is working from home during the day a lot? It sound like they are so good at storing heat, I wondered if they would give you warm evenings at the price of being cold earlier in the day? If I decide to stick with electric and get another storage heater for my living room I was thinking about trying one. If I found it worked well I could gradually replace the others as needed. Or have you found that to really get the benefit you have to have more than one and use them as an integrated system?

    I understand if you think youíve spent enough time answering my questions and youíve had enough! Thanks again.

    I have a day off next week and am planning so sit down with a large spreadsheet and try to start getting my head around options, costs, and technical details. Thank you to everyone who has responded so far, Iím grateful for all the different opinions my question has raised. It gives me a chance to look at things from several different angles.
    • markin
    • By markin 14th Jun 19, 8:54 PM
    • 846 Posts
    • 692 Thanks
    markin
    An air to air heat pump, split unit for the office or living room may also be worth considering rather than a new storage heater, most run at around a cop of 6, until its something like 7c outside, so 1kwh in, 6kwh of heat out. And it can cool you in the summer!



    You could possibly get all 3 for under 18K depending on your quotes, and save gas during the day and only use it for the evenings/night.
    Last edited by markin; 14-06-2019 at 9:03 PM.
    • Richie-from-the-Boro
    • By Richie-from-the-Boro 14th Jun 19, 9:05 PM
    • 6,497 Posts
    • 4,871 Thanks
    Richie-from-the-Boro
    Water

    The Off-Peak should supply the bottom element and the On-Peak the top one and should be wired :

    - isolator switch ~to~ off peak controller ~ to top & bottom elements

    The off-on-peak is automated. the stat should be set @ above 55 įC to meet Legionella requirements. with the unrestricted on-peak supply able to be switched manually by the householder using the button on the boost controller. These buttons should act on each other - such that internally - both can never be on at the same time.

    This is a schema for a split Consumer Unit i.e. separate on and off Peak supplies, different wiring exists for Combined On And Off Peak Supplies and different again for On Peak Only Supply :



    This is old school but still available water controller. other brands and newer digital can be had. You already have an electric water immersion heater somewhere, put simply you change it for a PartL type compatible cylinder, put in a water controller and wire it into your existing 20a ring from your consumer unit. you already have water to and from and 20a 3kW wiring from your existing Consumer Unit. so your costs will be (1 water cylinder) (2 water controller) (3 two stats and two heating elements) (4 cost of changes to the conumer unit and plumber.




    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
    • Richie-from-the-Boro
    • By Richie-from-the-Boro 14th Jun 19, 9:18 PM
    • 6,497 Posts
    • 4,871 Thanks
    Richie-from-the-Boro
    On dimplex
    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
    • AndyPK
    • By AndyPK 15th Jun 19, 11:11 AM
    • 3,990 Posts
    • 1,163 Thanks
    AndyPK
    Richie - While that wiring diagram maybe the ideal, by the time the OP has spend all that money on installation the payback will be minimal.

    This is the case if the op already uses cheap rate to heat the cylinder, and rarely needs to override or boost.

    While modern cylinders have great insulation, they only last 10-15 years before leaking!


    personally I like these timers.
    They can be used either with single or dual immersions.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Timeguard-TRTM7-Economy-7-Analogue-Immersion-Timer-with-Boost-Control/281939082416?epid=2254743702&hash=item41a4e0fcb0:g :ESsAAOSwBt5ZLpJN


    or a small boost timer boost unit is available
    Last edited by AndyPK; 15-06-2019 at 11:16 AM.
    • Richie-from-the-Boro
    • By Richie-from-the-Boro 15th Jun 19, 12:53 PM
    • 6,497 Posts
    • 4,871 Thanks
    Richie-from-the-Boro
    HiYa Andy, #15, O/P's water is not on E7 ring/CU. Sparky could certainly wire existing non-E7 cylinder into the existing E7 circuit.

    Where s/he wants to get to depends on filling the gap between from-and-tp and thus far we have almost zero idea of wiring setup/controller/water and heat size/ insulation/chimney leech/ etc. With £25k starting .. .. all my suggestions (excluding underfoot) could easily be done for £2k.
    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
    • Richie-from-the-Boro
    • By Richie-from-the-Boro 15th Jun 19, 1:13 PM
    • 6,497 Posts
    • 4,871 Thanks
    Richie-from-the-Boro
    Both Horstmann and Timeguard, £60-80 between trade & retail both very good, both will certainly do the job. Using his existing cylinder on E7 circuit is no disruption and cheapest. Just a question of sparky pulling (after checks) from the non-E7 and inserting the load into E7 side. (assumption) single bottom standard 3kW heating element. No provision for boost/over-ride/isolation.

    NOTE I've never in my 3 dwelling E7 life used the "boost isolator contactor", can't speak to the Timeguard but the Horstmann has the isolator and I assume the Timeguard ditto. Sparky needs to check there's not an old school anytime on-demand "boost" switch.

    Regards Andy.

    1+6
    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
    • cagreen13
    • By cagreen13 15th Jun 19, 9:38 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    cagreen13
    Thank you Richie and Andy. I have to admit that this has all got more technical than I am currently prepared for. I was originally hoping for general pointers on which way to go over the choice of gas / E7 / renewables, and you have all been really helpful. My thinking was at a very preliminary stage when I posted, and I now need to get some quotes and expert advice about my current setup. You are obviously a lot more expert than me, so thank you for all your help and I’m sorry if I’ve caused any disagreements!
    • Richie-from-the-Boro
    • By Richie-from-the-Boro 15th Jun 19, 9:53 PM
    • 6,497 Posts
    • 4,871 Thanks
    Richie-from-the-Boro
    No problems cagreen13.
    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
    • PeterHR
    • By PeterHR 16th Jun 19, 11:42 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    PeterHR
    Do you have suspended wooden floors (floorboards on joists) or concrete. If Yes - is the void big enough for someone to get under and insulate, and also to seal the gaps between the floorboards and the walls usually hidden by skirting boards. In many houses you would need care doing this to ensue gas fires etc got enough air - but in an all electric house it's not a problem. Doing this would considerable reduce heat loss.

    For heating I would look to air sourced heat pumps powered of photo-voltaic solar panels during the day and economy 7 at night as the heat source, but then you have to get the heat into the house. The nice thing about heat pumps is you get something like 4Kw heat for each KW you put in - but efficiency decreases as the temperature differential (out/in) increases.

    If it was a new build - you'd probably be looking at underfloor heating using piped warm water, as it's not you could use radiators (which would need hotter water) or maybe a ducted warm air system which might be OK to fit if you have suspended wooden floors, especially with good space underneath.

    You could use water filled radiators, maybe double the size for heat pump heat source compared gas. Or just go for gas.
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