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Suggestions for future heating system

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jimmy_s

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I agree with both those points.

Regarding the second point, we explored gshp option when we moved into our current house. Would have required possibly X2 100m boreholes and the proposed site was right next to the house. We live in a very wet area with a high water table, and when I thought about it I didn't like the freeze-thaw aspect of the ground on which my house sits; half of which doesn't have foundations. I'm no builder so perhaps that's unfair and unfounded, but I do seem to remember finding some stuff on the internet along similar lines.

The ground won't freeze unless someone makes an buttocks of sizing the boreholes. Freezing ground is a result of trying to extract too much heat out of the bores.

Wet area with high water table is good as any water movement near the boreholes will improve heat transfer
 

jimmy_s

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I would stick with the biomass short term and concentrate on insulating the place.

Its worth doing heat loss calcs to see what size heat pump you need. Ideally if you can do the heat losses to BS EN 12831 as that's what the MCS installers have to base the sizing on. If you can and intend to install UFH then I would crack on with that. Long term its the best solution I recon whether you stick with biomass or a heat pump in the future.

UFH is a radiant heating system whereas radiators are mainly convective. In UK we use dry resultant temps as a comfort temp index. for draught free or low air velocities the equation for dry resultant temp (T res) simplifies to 1/2 air temp plus 1/2 mean radiant temp. The air temp will be lower with UFH to achieve comfort generally so running costs less.

I'm in a similar situation and am insulating and installing UFH as I refurbish the house. Were on oil and I recon probably ok for a while yet but long term I will have to get a heat pump.

I will probably design and install it myself however.
 

woodieallen

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Hi all,

.....

I currently have a 40kW biomass boiler which provides all heating and hot water for a 6-bedroom 220m2 house......

So then learned folks: what are your thoughts? What would you do and why?
Keep it. Why get rid of it ? Do a CBA on how much you are going to pay to instal ANY other system. How much it's going to cost to run. Then do the sums on simply carrying on with your known working system and just continuing to put in fuel as you do now. If you need 40kW to heat your house then you're going to need 40kW regardless of your heat source.

It's a no-brainer IMO.

Bit like trying to justify spending £4500 on double-glazing with an annual payback of £75 in energy savings.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Just a thought - before anyone does calcs. involving D/G costs (or, in reality any other costs), make sure the quotes are up to date. Our two front windows were done a few months ago and the price increase over a couple of years ago was frightening.
 

MARK.B.

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For those waiting for the change over to a new Energy supplier I just got my new tariff from Octopus ,to be honest i thought it would be more,I know it's a variable tariff and likely to go up once the honeymoon period is over but it gives me some time to shop around and change if needed without incurring any charges.

Your prices (including VAT) are:
  • A standing charge of 26.82p per day and 19.89p/kWh for your electricity.
  • A standing charge of 26.11p per day and 3.94p/kWh for your gas.

My thoughts up to now are to play the waiting game for the next few years and let the madness descend as every dodgy dealer out there suddenly becomes a expert fitter of magical devices that will cure all your problems for the best price out there. Also the powers that be are in a bit of a pickle at the moment and as yet no real/meaningful /practical plans have yet to emerge that will enable mass conversions that will be needed to be effective for the masses at a price affordable to all.
I have no clue what the answer is and not trying to be political, and to be honest at this stage it matters little who is running the show on our behalf as all parties are going to have to come up with a whole new way of thinking to come up with any solution that has any chance of working out,there will likely be a whole rash of madcap ideas and knee jerk reactions for a few years as huge sums of money and massive amounts of resources are wasted hunting for that all elusive perfect ending to this conundrum we all find ourselves in.
Of course boilers pack up and I may be forced to choose sooner than planned a new pumped system of some sort or just stick another combi in, but in all honesty despite having looked at what both Air and Ground systems do the cost will be the ultimate decider in how i go forward when needed. We do plan to upgrade insulation where needed and will probably spend more now than first thought .
Any way those were just my thoughts at this moment,when my wife makes up my mind for me I will let you know ;);):LOL:
 

Bartfatboy

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I'm not laughing. But I am smiling :) People tend to put insulation at the top of the list, which I agree with, but I think joint top are the simple measures such as a jumper etc, etc.

I have thermal long johns and tops, thick socks etc which I wear throughout winter. The house is usually around 16-17c in winter at peak. When it r occasionally reaches 18-20c we start to get hot under the collar and unconformable, even without the thermal layers. Most people naturally acclimatise to their environment; be it levels of heat, hunger, etc. Heat a house well into the 20s, and over the years you'll feel the cold a lot more as your body resets to the new "normal". I totally accept that different people have different tolerances, but at the same time I think the above holds true.

I personally can't understand why how we use energy is often not discussed, or at least left to the margins. So many people have a shower a day (some more!), wash clothes after one or two uses, heat houses to the point they can sit in shorts and t shirts, etc etc. If we hadn't evolved into this era of cleanliness, I think a lot of what is now considered normal would be considered anal OCD type behaviour. We scramble around looking for new innovative ways to make everything greener - which is a great thing - but for me the elephant in the room is our usage.

I feel I must say something on topic now to counter my off topic rant! To the OP, I would be inclined to stick with what you've got for the time being. I think we're in a period of flux and it's hard to know what the future will hold for different energy prices, changing installation prices and grants, new green legislation, and new innovation in heating systems which perhaps haven't surfaced yet.
I very much agree with a lot of what you say there, the one thing I would add is that you have to factor in old age and the reduction in movement it brings. Everyone always complained that my parent’s (who were of the same mind as you are) place was cold but my parents were fine until their mobility and ability to do those things that had kept them warm reduced. At which point they ended up using oil filled rads in their bed and sitting rooms.
Whilst not wishing to be a doom monger, I think far too many people think”it” (old age and infirmity) won’t happen to them! Having seen two very fit, active and strong people slowly become infirm I am very much in favour of future proofing and putting things in place so that one can live out your days as comfortably and as stress free as possible.
 

ortogo

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Hope my recent experience might be of interest, in 2018 I completed the self build of our latest house a dormer bungalow of 2250 sq ft, a friend of mine also completed a self build around the same time his was a house of approx 1800 sq ft. Both homes were very well insulated as we are both in the building trade and realise that insulation is the cheapest way to ensure low running costs. We installed an oil boiler for heating and hot water, my friend went down the air source heat pump route. My friend used a specialist heating firm to install his ASHP system which cost him £16,000 (this does not include the cost of the underfloor heating or oversized upstairs rads the ASHP system was connected to), our boiler and oil tank cost £2,100, our heating system uses ordinary rads so there was quite a cost saving there as well. Over the last 3 years our oil consumption has been constant at 900-1000 litres per year, so on average, by buying our oil in the summer when its cheapest its cost us roughly £600 per year. Unfortunately my friends ASHP has not been so economical, stripping out the domestic electric costs (lighting and household electrical use), the ASHP is using £1500-£2000 per year.
This might be a bit simplistic, but our oil system saved us £13,900 in purchase price and every year going forward we will be saving £900-£1400 per year in running costs. Just for a figure lets say the boiler lasts 20 years (although I know of many that are over 30 years old and still going strong) including the cost of the ASHP system my friend stands to be around £35,000 out of pocket, and the cynic in me says that until all the electric produced in this country comes from renewables a lot of the extra expense will come from burning fossil fuels, so how is that helping global warming?
 

Mal-110

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Really interesting posts. I agree with the point about insulation before anything else. Insulation of Walls is covered by building regulations in the UK. Chapter C,5, Walls. There is a map (quite a poor one but more detailed version is available at a cost). This map shows exposed areas of the UK, this is followed by a detailed table of wall types and levels of insulation. I have added a PDF for those REALLY interested. I short if you live in the exposed west and have a brick built building then a full retrofit of insulation may not be the right choice. I live in a level three area and some houses have experienced penetrating damp and mould issues following full fill insulation. This could be the result of poor installation of course. Nevertheless I think it's prudent to go through the regulations before adding any more insulation.


 

Jacob

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A lot of the talk on here is about systems which the majority of the population simply could not afford, even if they lived in suitable places for installations, which many don't.
Maybe future heating "systems" should be dealt with firstly by economics rather than technology.
Rationing - give everybody a maximum energy allowance in kwh per annum, tokens to spend how they like, on energy, whether on transport, heating, whatever. Companies providing goods/services would need to price in ration tokens as well as money, to pay for the fuel which they need. Let the market take control!
 

AJB Temple

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Crazy idea Jacob. Befits your political ideology, but deluded in reality. Will never happen.

The more nutty bits aside ^, this is an interesting discussion as I face a boiler replacement dilemma. Rural, no gas, building unsuitable fo solar or underfloor heating. The really big problem with change to a low carbon system of any kind, is the huge capital cost (maybe partly allayed by drip feed grants but you still have to fund the outlay) and the immense payback period (even with a pessimistic view of fossil fuel costs in the future). For those of us who expect to move - eventual retirement and downsize in my case - within 10 years, it makes no sense to install expensive systems unless they demonstrably add to property value.

Read the article in the media by John Humphries (ex Today R4) about his real life experience installing and running a GSHP in his Welsh farmhouse. Installation was text book via a full renovation: underfloor heating, lots of insulation, used a large adjacent field to bury the pipes....and the house remains cold, with a steep increase in electricity costs not delivering comfort. We need to understand why some installations simply do not work usefully and the examples of positive vs negative are too few currently.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Maybe future heating "systems" should be dealt with firstly by economics rather than technology.
Rationing - give everybody a maximum energy allowance in kwh per annum, tokens to spend how they like, on energy, whether on transport, heating, whatever. Companies providing goods/services would need to price in ration tokens as well as money, to pay for the fuel which they need. Let the market take control!
That's letting the state take control, not the market.

Retro fitted insulation is a bit of a rabbit hole - the RICS apparently advised that cavity insulation shouldn't be used in exposed areas, which counts out places like the majority of Cornwall.
 

Pineapple

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Survival mode again - yes as much insulation as you can but also internally zonal so that your main living quarters, the woodburner, the thermal store, are all in one zone, with the rest of the premises cooling down if things are getting difficult.
I was brought up by the "Thriftiest" father in Yorkshire....I'm accustomed to living in a relatively cool house & wearing wooly jumpers & thick socks in winter.
I have tried a couple of padded jackets with little success but last year I bought a 100% DUCK-DOWN (EIDER) Jacket on ebay for £50.oo (The Eider List Price would have been over £300.oo ) I started wearing it in November & continued through to April, when I had to abandon it for the summer, because it's too warm.
My Point is that with the 100% duck-down jacket on I don't need to heat my house (Night-Storage Radiators) to any more than 5*C to prevent the pipes from freezing ! = I use the purest form of "Central Heating" in that I eat well & keep moving to maintain my body warmth. - The Down Jacket does the rest !
 

Jacob

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Crazy idea Jacob. Befits your political ideology, but deluded in reality. Will never happen....
You mean it doesn't befit your own deluded political ideology :LOL: .
It worked pretty well in WW2 and in subsequent fuel scares. The 1973 50mph limit was highly effective in terms of reducing demand and also accident rates.
We are in an emergency situation - emergency measures are long overdue. I don't expect much will come from Cop26.
 
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Jacob

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I was brought up by the "Thriftiest" father in Yorkshire....I'm accustomed to living in a relatively cool house & wearing wooly jumpers & thick socks in winter.
I have tried a couple of padded jackets with little success but last year I bought a 100% DUCK-DOWN (EIDER) Jacket on ebay for £50.oo (The Eider List Price would have been over £300.oo ) I started wearing it in November & continued through to April, when I had to abandon it for the summer, because it's too warm.
My Point is that with the 100% duck-down jacket on I don't need to heat my house (Night-Storage Radiators) to any more than 5*C to prevent the pipes from freezing ! = I use the purest form of "Central Heating" in that I eat well & keep moving to maintain my body warmth. - The Down Jacket does the rest !
Yes they are brilliant. Mines UniQlo ultra light which are quite cheap £60 ish. And Helly Hansen underwear!
 

Jacob

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That's letting the state take control, not the market.

...
No it's allowing the market to work within parameters, as they all do currently anyway. No change, just adjusting the rules and letting the market work out how to do it
 

Lard

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I’ve been following this conversation with interest and here’s my query…..our 1960’s bungalow has the ugliest facing brick known to man 😢 but does have nice wide soffits 😊. The cavity walls were ‘bead’ filled many years previous to us moving in and, perhaps fortuitously, we have had no issue with damp/interstitial condensation (IC) etc.
I would like kill a few birds with as few stones as possible and so why don’t I add further EXTERNAL insulation and have it rendered to any colour certified suitable by she who knows better? Thus warming the house and vastly improving its looks at the same time.
Am I imagining this but did I not read somewhere that there is the potential to cause IC through the addition of external insulation? Surely I’m correct (thinking back to my old ONC study days and the dew point curve) that by increasing the EXTERNAL temperature the dew point is pushed outwards and, therefore, lessening the chance of causing IC? Something in me is saying that I may cause a problem but I can’t see how? Any thoughts?
 

dickm

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Just a couple of points. Someone commented that forced ventilation/heat recovery is difficult to instal. In a bungalow like our's, it's a doddle. Box with fans and heat exchanger in the roof void, ducting to all rooms in the same space. Our's was put in in 2000, and has run continually ever since, with occasional filter changes. It's finally getting a bit noisy as the motor bearings wear, but that's not a big deal. If anyone wants the spare ducting and fittings that were left over, contact me!
The other point which needs stressing is that there comes to most of us a point where our physical abilities decrease and as a result, our need for warmth increases. The best down jacket and slippers won't keep your feet warm. DAMHIKT
 

Jacob

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I’ve been following this conversation with interest and here’s my query…..our 1960’s bungalow has the ugliest facing brick known to man 😢 but does have nice wide soffits 😊. The cavity walls were ‘bead’ filled many years previous to us moving in and, perhaps fortuitously, we have had no issue with damp/interstitial condensation (IC) etc.
I would like kill a few birds with as few stones as possible and so why don’t I add further EXTERNAL insulation and have it rendered to any colour certified suitable by she who knows better? Thus warming the house and vastly improving its looks at the same time.
Am I imagining this but did I not read somewhere that there is the potential to cause IC through the addition of external insulation? Surely I’m correct (thinking back to my old ONC study days and the dew point curve) that by increasing the EXTERNAL temperature the dew point is pushed outwards and, therefore, lessening the chance of causing IC? Something in me is saying that I may cause a problem but I can’t see how? Any thoughts?
It's a good idea in principle but immensely complicated because of the detailing required at every point where new add-on meets old, mainly in terms of keeping water out, as well as cladding the insulation itself. Effectively building a new house around the old.
Much cheaper and easier to line the inside and add about 100mm to all the external walls, deal with floors and roof.
 

Spectric

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but I am a big fan of thermal mass.
I think that the two most important factors in future heating will be insulation and thermal mass, one to retain the heat and the other to provide a dampening effect for the heat source input. Underfloor heating with a good covering of screed works well, may take longer to heat up but once at setpoint you only need to trickle heat in to maintain, again insulation below is very important and overall insulation of the building. The problem we seem to have in the Uk is that we are still building houses that are not up to a standard especially when it comes to insulation, it is much cheaper to build right than try and retrofit and it has been shown that houses can be very warm with very little heating if the walls are very thick made with the correct insulation and using warm loft spaces with heavily insulated roofs but it is not helpful when your primary / only goal is making big bucks.
 

eribaMotters

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Lard, we bought an early 70's bungalow of about 100m2 the tail end of 2017. It had no cavity wall insulation and between 25 and 50 mm in the loft. We could not get the place warm.
An 80m2 extension has gone on the side of which 55m2 is workshop/garage, so we now have a 125m2 of living space in the bungalow. Building control unofficially advised me against cavity wall insulation because of potential internal condensation problems, and as the external rendering was so bad we went for external insulation and K Rend finish.
Unfortunately for use the builder used the incorrect insulation that he di d not fit correctly. The wrong K Rend and beads followed and this was not applied correctly. It resulted in 100m2 of mess and a call to the K Rend rep. The only way forward was to remove the lot and start again. The builder has gone bankrupt so I've ended up with a £11K bill to sort it out. The job is now done and looks wonderful. The builder drops me £100/200 through the letter box every couple of weeks, but I'll never see the full amount back. I've also put 350mm of insulation in the loft and now have a very comfortable house and about £90 month gas/electric bill.
I would advise on exterior insulation and K Rend but please contact K Rend directly for a list of approved contractors.

Colin
 

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