Incentive by the Government to go green
Householders worried about rising fuel bills have been given another incentive by the Government to go green.
The Coalition is offering an £850 grant until August 1 to residents who install an air source heat pump in their home.
This boiler converts solar energy in the air to free heat, even when temperatures outside are as low as -15 C. It can be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, or warm air convectors and provide hot water in the home.
Midlands energy expert Ron Fox, of Noreus Ltd in Stafford, said: “This system is appropriate particularly for those who have oil or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) heating and want to cut their bills.”
An air source heat pump works like a refrigerator in reverse in that it extracts heat from the outside air in the same way that a fridge extracts heat from its inside.
Heat from the air is absorbed at low temperature into a fluid. This fluid then passes through a compressor where its temperature is increased, and transfers its higher temperature heat to the heating and hot water circuits of the house.
Although installing a typical system costs around £6,000 to £10,000 the advantages over traditional boilers are that they are three to five times more efficient, they use renewable energy and there’s up to 50 per cent reduction in Co2 emissions.
Also they are easy to install, have low running costs and householders can save up to £678 a year on the average oil heating bill.
On top of that they can provide a guaranteed income for up to 20 years through the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
Although they need electricity to run, the heat they extract from the ground, air, or water is constantly being renewed naturally. Also they need little maintenance – they’re called ‘fit and forget’ technology – and importantly they don’t need fuel deliveries.
Heat pump systems typically come with a 10 year warranty, but they do require a yearly check by the householder and a more detailed check by a professional installer every three to five years.
Although air source heat pump installations may be considered Permitted Development in England, in which case planning permission is not needed, but the criteria are complex so it is worth checking with the local planning office.
To tell if an air source heat pump is right Ron said householders need a place outside where a unit can be fitted to a sunny wall or placed on the ground with plenty of space around it to get a good flow of air.
He said it was essential that the home is insulated and draught-proofed well for the heating system to be effective.
Finally, he said an air source heat pump can perform better with underfloor heating systems or warm air heating than with radiator-based systems because of the lower water temperatures required and would pay for itself much more quickly if it’s replacing an oil, electricity or coal heating system. Heat pumps may not be the best option for homes using mains gas.
For more details about air source heat pumps and other energy saving ideas call Ron on 0845 474 6641.