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Author: Subject: OT: Heating a house without gas
tegwin

posted on 10/6/20 at 05:38 PM Reply With Quote
OT: Heating a house without gas

I expect a few of you are rather knowledgeable on this topic...

I am looking at buying a small bungalow...its a collapsing mess which was heated by an oil boiler. I am assuming it will be FUBAR so assume there is no heating system....

The nearest gas main is 2.3km away so there is no way I can get natural gas. A shame as this would have been quite a cheap way of getting heat.

I see this as a nice place to live but also an investment so I can't justify spending thousands on bells and whistles for a full green system sadly.

So what would people suggest? I like the idea of solar/water and a thermal store but the cost very quickly starts to ramp up.

House is tiny, so I would guess 10-15KW loss....

Any of you tried any innovative solutions?





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Mike Wood

posted on 10/6/20 at 05:54 PM Reply With Quote
Sounds like scope for laying underfloor heating in living areas (living room, kitchen, lounge) powered by an air source or ground source heat pump? Get some good insulation at the same time. Later add in solar panels to aid the electricity requirement.

Not that I have tried this or costed it out, unfortunately. So advice of others needed.

Cheers
Mike

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nick205

posted on 10/6/20 at 06:03 PM Reply With Quote
No idea myself, but how much do oil boilers cost?

Is there a serviceable oil tank on site there?

You may have already looked, costed and even ruled out that option, but I wonder if it might be the cheaper way of getting the place set up and heated.

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tegwin

posted on 10/6/20 at 06:06 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nick205
No idea myself, but how much do oil boilers cost?

Is there a serviceable oil tank on site there?

You may have already looked, costed and even ruled out that option, but I wonder if it might be the cheaper way of getting the place set up and heated.


You may be right.
I had hoped to ditch the tank and have more space for a garage but its all cost.

A new oil boiler seems to be around 1500 for the unit its self... A thermal store and a set of solar panels come in higher and won't provide all the demand....

Wonder what value (if any) having green energy, or the pretence of it, might add to a property.... shrug....





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v8kid

posted on 10/6/20 at 06:38 PM Reply With Quote
Non-condensing oil boilers are cheap and bulletproof for any make but will only get around 75% efficiency which at current oil prices is affordable but 6 months ago was expensive.

Condensing oil boilers are expensive and much more complex But good makes (Bosch/Worcester) are bulletproof with 7/10 year guarantee out of the box.

Both give beefy power outputs circa 30-40 kw so have very fast warm up times and if you have DIY underfloor heating which is ridiculously easy boost the efficiency 10% due to low return temp.

Used to be plenty available on 2nd hand market.

Plastic tanks are best but there are some silly regs on siting is you are likely to be scrutinized although in my experience building inspectors have a healthy disregard for the regs which do not affect the building directly (fire prevention).

Can be noisy as they have a centrifugal fan which blows copious amounts of air.

Green tech is expensive and fragile with more than its fair share of bandits jumping on the bandwagon with little product knowledge.

Solar panels straightforward but to get grants need to be approved installers who charge for the privilege. Solar water heating is a good DIY prospect if you are interested in that stuff with short payback.

Depends on the time you are prepared to put in. Oil and underfloor is a painless diy option based on well-established principles and just works.

Cheers

David





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Daf

posted on 10/6/20 at 08:13 PM Reply With Quote
This is a subject I'm very interested in, 18 months ago we moved into a project house with a 25 year old boiler in the middle of the country with no mains gas. I spent a lot of time researching the best way to replace the heating and I went for an air source heat pump (despite much advice telling me not to), these receive a lot of bad press but in my own personal experience I wouldn't consider going back to an oil boiler.

I can share a lot more of the detail and costings payback with you but in summary:

- House is 4 bedroom medium/large sized
- Cost to install the system 11k
- RFI payment back from the government 385 a quarter for 7 years (10,780)
- Cost to run is ~60% of what the old oil boiler was costing (at 0.49ppl not the current prices) and I have put 1k worth of insulation in

I must stress the heating principal is different to a conventional system, if you come home and think oooh it's cold I'll bang the heating on for a couple of hours then it would be expensive to run - as you see many people complaining about. But if you set it to a comfortable temp (ours is at 18 day 16 at night) and let it do it's thing it's a nice environment. if the temp starts dropping outside it might bring the radiators on a little bit to maintain the heat as apposed to a conventional system that's very binary.

The best way I can describe it is like the difference in a modern car with climate control compared to the old days with a heater knob where you were either sweating or freezing!

For me there's no going back, why would I the house is a lovely comfortable temp all the time and the actual cost for installation will be 220 and it's costing 40% less. That said I can understand why the system wouldn't work for other people who prefer a "binary" heating option.

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tegwin

posted on 10/6/20 at 08:46 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Daf
This is a subject I'm very interested in, 18 months ago we moved into a project house with a 25 year old boiler in the middle of the country with no mains gas. I spent a lot of time researching the best way to replace the heating and I went for an air source heat pump (despite much advice telling me not to), these receive a lot of bad press but in my own personal experience I wouldn't consider going back to an oil boiler.

I can share a lot more of the detail and costings payback with you but in summary:

- House is 4 bedroom medium/large sized
- Cost to install the system 11k
- RFI payment back from the government 385 a quarter for 7 years (10,780)
- Cost to run is ~60% of what the old oil boiler was costing (at 0.49ppl not the current prices) and I have put 1k worth of insulation in

I must stress the heating principal is different to a conventional system, if you come home and think oooh it's cold I'll bang the heating on for a couple of hours then it would be expensive to run - as you see many people complaining about. But if you set it to a comfortable temp (ours is at 18 day 16 at night) and let it do it's thing it's a nice environment. if the temp starts dropping outside it might bring the radiators on a little bit to maintain the heat as apposed to a conventional system that's very binary.

The best way I can describe it is like the difference in a modern car with climate control compared to the old days with a heater knob where you were either sweating or freezing!

For me there's no going back, why would I the house is a lovely comfortable temp all the time and the actual cost for installation will be 220 and it's costing 40% less. That said I can understand why the system wouldn't work for other people who prefer a "binary" heating option.


Thats interesting thanks. Are you direct heat or running a thermal store/buffer tank?

Financially that sounds very appealing but only if I was planning to stay for the 7 years. Is the payment locked in regardless of what a new government might do?





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tegwin

posted on 10/6/20 at 08:46 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Daf
This is a subject I'm very interested in, 18 months ago we moved into a project house with a 25 year old boiler in the middle of the country with no mains gas. I spent a lot of time researching the best way to replace the heating and I went for an air source heat pump (despite much advice telling me not to), these receive a lot of bad press but in my own personal experience I wouldn't consider going back to an oil boiler.

I can share a lot more of the detail and costings payback with you but in summary:

- House is 4 bedroom medium/large sized
- Cost to install the system 11k
- RFI payment back from the government 385 a quarter for 7 years (10,780)
- Cost to run is ~60% of what the old oil boiler was costing (at 0.49ppl not the current prices) and I have put 1k worth of insulation in

I must stress the heating principal is different to a conventional system, if you come home and think oooh it's cold I'll bang the heating on for a couple of hours then it would be expensive to run - as you see many people complaining about. But if you set it to a comfortable temp (ours is at 18 day 16 at night) and let it do it's thing it's a nice environment. if the temp starts dropping outside it might bring the radiators on a little bit to maintain the heat as apposed to a conventional system that's very binary.

The best way I can describe it is like the difference in a modern car with climate control compared to the old days with a heater knob where you were either sweating or freezing!

For me there's no going back, why would I the house is a lovely comfortable temp all the time and the actual cost for installation will be 220 and it's costing 40% less. That said I can understand why the system wouldn't work for other people who prefer a "binary" heating option.


Thats interesting thanks. Are you direct heat or running a thermal store/buffer tank?

Financially that sounds very appealing but only if I was planning to stay for the 7 years. Is the payment locked in regardless of what a new government might do?





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Daf

posted on 10/6/20 at 08:58 PM Reply With Quote
Yes the payment is locked in, I've got a full schedule of the dates when I'll be reviving the payments for the remaining 6 years. All I have to do is sign annually to say the system is still installed and still working.

It's all plumbed in to my existing radiators, technically they system should be more efficient with underfloor heating not the rads but that would have been major disruption and cost for only a small gain really.

Another point I missed is noise - if you search online people will tell you they are noisy units, and I'm sure a few years ago they were. But the unit we are using (Mitsubishi EcoDan) is very quiet, far quieter than the outlet on the oil boiler - it's just a light hum.

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Stuart Walker

posted on 10/6/20 at 10:10 PM Reply With Quote
My parents have air source and would highly recommend it too. I'd say always electrify instead of fossil fuels (because electricity carbon intensity is only going to reduce as grid is decarbonised), but appreciate that doesn't necessarily answer practical / payback questions.

Sure you know already but if you have a heating system that can cope with preheated water, DIY solar hot water using a matt black radiator on a S-facing roof will significantly reduce the work of your boiler. And in every case insulation first to reduce the demand.

Keep fossil fuels for our cars

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Mr Whippy

posted on 11/6/20 at 02:34 AM Reply With Quote
Personally i would first focus on getting the house as insulated and draft proof as possible to reduce the heating requirements in the first place. Also don't forget to let in the sun as even in winter it can be a great source of heat. A conservatory can be great for this so long as the windows are double glazed and you use blinds or curtains at night or a patio door on the house wall. Some sort of cladding or external insulation can also be very helpful and is what I'm going to be doing with my house shortly. Many of the heat pump or solar options just now actually produce only slight increases in heat and require a house to be very well insulated in the first place to see any benefit.

[Edited on 11/6/20 by Mr Whippy]

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ianhurley20

posted on 11/6/20 at 08:21 AM Reply With Quote
We have a 3 bed det house that was new 15 years ago as was the oil fired boiler at that time. We added a solar water heating panel on the roof 10 years ago. Together (oil costs do vary, for us 30 ppl to one oops which was 60ppl!) but our 1200l tank when full will last two years between complete refils. So far the oil has cost us 260 per year over the 15 years with this system. Annual service for the boiler comes in at 60 - 70.
Maybe we could do better with a more modern system but at these costs we cannot justify any change. I should add - the house is very well insulated - the thermostats are set at 20deg and the system is timed for a short am spell and a 5pm - 9pm evening with my wife pushing the 1 hour timed boost much more often than me in winter and since we are both pensioners the house is occupied most hours of the day.





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Irony

posted on 12/6/20 at 08:32 AM Reply With Quote
All of the above replies are good but what Mr Whippy said about good insulation is absolutely key. My house was terribly insulated when I moved in and shockingly in some places simply 12mm plasterboard between the rooms and the loft spaces. Get a gas, oil, or heat exchanger (air sourced or ground sourced) and they will all burn through the cash in the winter.

People seem to understate what they are paying for some reason. I don't know why, no offence. For example heating oil hasn't even been under 40p per litre since Aug 2017 until the recent crash. Check yourself on boilerjuice.com. The numbers are there.

These are the figures for my house as I remember them.

Moved in - badly insulated old Worcester Boiler and we were spending about 1000 on average a year on oil. Then we built a large extension and insulated a huge amount al over the property. Its a 3 - 4 bed detached bungalow. Quotes for new oil boilers came in between 3.5K and 4.5K. My partner loves the idea of being green and she wanted a air sourced heat pump. The system cost 10K which included changing every radiator in the house to the largest most efficient possible. Air sourced heat pump systems do not get as hot as oil so the radiators or underfloor heating have to be larger. Our electricity direct debit sits at 80 a month and seems to be in credit annually which is 960 a year but that's for heating, water heating, and electricity. Not just the heating and water heating that a oil burner would provide.

So the system cost 10K but the Renewable Heating Incentive is giving us nearly 6.5K over a 7 year period. A loan from Sainsburies for 10K is costing 10600 in total. So the system will have cost me 4100 over 7 years. However I think I save about 40 on electricity a month which is 480 a year. 480 x 7 = 3360. 4100 - 3360 = Cost to me 740 over 7 years.

However I have hit an unknown, the people who installed my air sourced heat pump are a good company and I have used them for 15 years. Having rang them about servicing the system they turned round and said 'why, there is nothing to service?? Keep the outdoor bit free of debris, damage and that's it. When was the last time you got someone out to service your fridge?'. They said servicing them is actaually called 'sweeping leaves of the exchanger and charging 100'. So far then zero servicing costs...

Sorry for the long rant post but I went through pain with the above and its something I am (or was forced to be) passionate about. People either don't give all the information or underestimate the cost........260 a year to heat a detached house and heat the water??????? Thats 21 a month. Incredibly low and costly to achieve.

[Edited on 12/6/20 by Irony]

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Irony

posted on 12/6/20 at 08:35 AM Reply With Quote
If you think about going down this route (air source) I can bore for a bit longer if you have any questions U2U me.
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Daf

posted on 12/6/20 at 02:51 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irony
All of the above replies are good but what Mr Whippy said about good insulation is absolutely key. My house was terribly insulated when I moved in and shockingly in some places simply 12mm plasterboard between the rooms and the loft spaces. Get a gas, oil, or heat exchanger (air sourced or ground sourced) and they will all burn through the cash in the winter.

People seem to understate what they are paying for some reason. I don't know why, no offence. For example heating oil hasn't even been under 40p per litre since Aug 2017 until the recent crash. Check yourself on boilerjuice.com. The numbers are there.

These are the figures for my house as I remember them.

Moved in - badly insulated old Worcester Boiler and we were spending about 1000 on average a year on oil. Then we built a large extension and insulated a huge amount al over the property. Its a 3 - 4 bed detached bungalow. Quotes for new oil boilers came in between 3.5K and 4.5K. My partner loves the idea of being green and she wanted a air sourced heat pump. The system cost 10K which included changing every radiator in the house to the largest most efficient possible. Air sourced heat pump systems do not get as hot as oil so the radiators or underfloor heating have to be larger. Our electricity direct debit sits at 80 a month and seems to be in credit annually which is 960 a year but that's for heating, water heating, and electricity. Not just the heating and water heating that a oil burner would provide.

So the system cost 10K but the Renewable Heating Incentive is giving us nearly 6.5K over a 7 year period. A loan from Sainsburies for 10K is costing 10600 in total. So the system will have cost me 4100 over 7 years. However I think I save about 40 on electricity a month which is 480 a year. 480 x 7 = 3360. 4100 - 3360 = Cost to me 740 over 7 years.

However I have hit an unknown, the people who installed my air sourced heat pump are a good company and I have used them for 15 years. Having rang them about servicing the system they turned round and said 'why, there is nothing to service?? Keep the outdoor bit free of debris, damage and that's it. When was the last time you got someone out to service your fridge?'. They said servicing them is actaually called 'sweeping leaves of the exchanger and charging 100'. So far then zero servicing costs...

Sorry for the long rant post but I went through pain with the above and its something I am (or was forced to be) passionate about. People either don't give all the information or underestimate the cost........260 a year to heat a detached house and heat the water??????? Thats 21 a month. Incredibly low and costly to achieve.

[Edited on 12/6/20 by Irony]


It's good to hear some other positive feedback on a heat pump.

And like the posts above insulation is key but I think drafts might be even worse...

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coyoteboy

posted on 12/6/20 at 02:54 PM Reply With Quote
Insulation is key, but it also depends on your house. My monthly gas bills are ~60 in the summer and 120 in the winter. I have 200mm in all intermediate floors, 400mm and boarding in the loft and cavity wall insulation, and the house still drops in temperature like a lead balloon. I'd fear for my bank if I put in the ground source heat pump I originally planned.





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David Jenkins

posted on 12/6/20 at 03:57 PM Reply With Quote
I'm still trying to work out what's going on with my house - double-glazing all round (recently installed, so good spec), cavity wall insulation, reasonably good loft insulation. It's cosy enough on calm winter days, but if the north wind blows strongly then the house gets freezing. When the wind is from the north it blows straight across the field next to my house, and can be quite brutal.

The house isn't draughty, but it seems to chill in strong winds. Not sure what the answer is...





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Deckman001

posted on 12/6/20 at 08:49 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
I'm still trying to work out what's going on with my house - double-glazing all round (recently installed, so good spec), cavity wall insulation, reasonably good loft insulation. It's cosy enough on calm winter days, but if the north wind blows strongly then the house gets freezing. When the wind is from the north it blows straight across the field next to my house, and can be quite brutal.

The house isn't draughty, but it seems to chill in strong winds. Not sure what the answer is...



Just thinking out of the box, how about a row of trees to shield the house from a north blow, or a fence maybe?

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Irony

posted on 12/6/20 at 08:58 PM Reply With Quote
It's weird because you have to wrap your head around the difference between drafty and insulated. Block all drafts and vents and you will have horrible condensation issues. I blocked all holes in my loft to stop birds nesting and within a month the roof space was dripping wet. Good job I noticed and I then went around unblocking things.

One of the best purchases I made was a reasonable dehumidifier. It sits in our tiny utility with the heat pump, I rigged up drying racks for clothes in winter and it is brilliant. Sucks all the damp out the house and stopped the missus buying a tumble dryer.

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Irony

posted on 12/6/20 at 09:01 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Deckman001
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
I'm still trying to work out what's going on with my house - double-glazing all round (recently installed, so good spec), cavity wall insulation, reasonably good loft insulation. It's cosy enough on calm winter days, but if the north wind blows strongly then the house gets freezing. When the wind is from the north it blows straight across the field next to my house, and can be quite brutal.

The house isn't draughty, but it seems to chill in strong winds. Not sure what the answer is...



Just thinking out of the box, how about a row of trees to shield the house from a north blow, or a fence maybe?


Thats not out the box thinking, it's good sense. If you have a log burner, they are superb in the garage. Invest in a few tonne of logs and stack them up against the house facing the wind. I believe its quite common in colder climates. You could go with external insulation and then skim it.

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David Jenkins

posted on 13/6/20 at 02:06 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Deckman001

Just thinking out of the box, how about a row of trees to shield the house from a north blow, or a fence maybe?


There's already a row of trees on the north side of my house - they belong to the farmer. The biggest problem is that strong winter north winds are a PITA in East Anglia...

[Edited on 13/6/20 by David Jenkins]





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Deckman001

posted on 13/6/20 at 09:52 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
quote:
Originally posted by Deckman001

Just thinking out of the box, how about a row of trees to shield the house from a north blow, or a fence maybe?


There's already a row of trees on the north side of my house - they belong to the farmer. The biggest problem is that strong winter north winds are a PITA in East Anglia...

[Edited on 13/6/20 by David Jenkins]


Oh well, if the wind is getting through that row of trees, could a fence help deflect the wind to pass the house instead?

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