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4 Year Ongoing Heat Pump Battle

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tworivers
(@tworivers)
Eminent Member Member
89 kWhs
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

Here goes:

This is still an on going battle with the installer and the various Governing bodies so i am going to use M and G abbreviations for the governing bodies.

1850s Farmhouse based in the Yorkshire Dales. Insulated interior walls mostly 50mm kingspan with an air gap between wall and kingspan. Underfloor heating in 2 rooms downstairs with the balance being radiators. 

2019 I agreed to the removal of an anthracite boiler and the installation of a Domusa 16 kw ASHP. (I had at least 3 meetings to discuss the credibility and running costs etc). My contract stated 8230kwh PA to run with a flow temp of 55 and house temp of 21. 2nd September the ASHP was commissioned.

Immediately the running cost seemed to be excessively high but the house seemed warm ( but it was only September). I contacted the installer who tried various things including altering pipe work but nothing seemed to work. After 3 site visits to make alterations to pipework and being told the ASHP was working as it should, the installer informed me that he was not willing to spend any more time on it and refused to come back. By this time it was November, December time and the running costs were 85-100 kwh per day and the house was around 15-16 degrees.

I read the contract and in particular the complaints procedure: First discuss with the installer then contact M. I contacted M who asked what outcome did I want? I told them I just wanted what I had paid £15K for, an ASHP that would deliver the approx running cost + 10% and heat my house. They informed me they couldn't help because this was a technical matter and asked if I wanted a different outcome, I was at that point confused as to what they meant by a different outcome so said I just what it to work as per my contract. They referred me to G. G took on the case and contacted the installer. They came back to me saying the installer had informed them that the system was delivering what the manufacturers said it should and that I must have misinformed him of what the insulation was behind the wall. I replied that I had paid for a survey to carry out a suitability check with heat-loss calculations etc and that the installer had spent no more than 10mins asking about the internal insulation all the answers I gave were honest and truthful, what would I have had to gain by telling him lies about the insulation. G replied that they could not prove what either of us was saying so could no longer offer any assistance and referred me back to M. M said the case was closed unless I could come up with any other evidence and if I could go back to M to see if they would reopen the case. At this point, I knew next to nothing about ASHP but knew that what I had told him about the insulation was correct, I was left trying to prove there was something else wrong what? I had no idea.

I bought 2 temperature sensors ( small disks ) that work off Bluetooth I attached one to the flow and the other to return.

We are now in January temp 2 to -1 the flow temp didn't reach above 25 degrees and not constantly even though the flow temp was set at 55. Nowhere in the manual does it say the ASHP can reach a temp of 55 the max it could reach was 50. I took meter readings for about 4 weeks then got back in touch with G with the data I had collected. G agreed to re-open my case.

G is another story, Nievly as a consumer you believe the governing bodies would have your back should things go wrong, in my chase and from other posts I have read this is not the case.

My Complaint was my contract gave a running cost of 8230kwh PA with a design flow temp of 55 degrees. G only seems interested in the technical side and will not address the running cost issue.

The installer came back several times again saying the ASHP was performing as it should and that my house must be the issue. We asked for a heat meter to be installed over the winter period to establish once and for all whether it was the ASHP or the property. After missing the winter period and various requests from us a heat meter was installed in May 2022. It was established that there was a flow problem. Apparently, MY water must have contaminated the system and caused a sludge build-up in the heat pump. The system was emptied of glycol flushed with cleaner and refilled with water brought by the installer this time no glycol in the system 2 valves were installed instead. Up and running i was again informed that the system was working great. Despite requests to leave the heatmeter in for the winter, it was removed in June Just 6 weeks after being installed and in the best weather possible. Winter 2021-2022 the system perform no better than before.

It is agreed by G that the system is now undersized for my property. The installer offers to install another 8kw ASHP alongside the original. We ask for an estimated running cost bare in mind the running cost of the original being approx 13500kwh not 8230 kwh as per contract. The installer refuses to give the estimation and withdraws his offer.We continue to fight.

2023

January the ASHP showed a P6 fault ( the ASHP as had at least one fault per year) we contacted the installer who informed us that the system is now out of warranty because of MY water had contaminated the system. We go back to G and ask for the sytem to be removed and for us to get out money back, they pass this on to the installer and remind him of his obligations under the scheme and that he must supply us with alternative heating. He offers us 3 1.5kw halogen heaters and responds by telling us he is in contact with his insurers. He visits the site to examine the fault and finds that it's a blown circuit board that he will install a new one as a gesture of goodwill but is struggling to get it delivered from Spain ( Domusa).The repairs was not completed until the end of March approx 8 weeks without heating and only hot water from an immersion heater.

After more chasing, his insurers responded by saying they had investigated and found their client not to be at fault (surprise). But as a matter of goodwill, they are willing to reinstate their offer of a 2nd 8kw heat pump to run alongside the original 16kw or an oil boiler. We responded with a counteroffer for an independent company to re-survey the house and for a new correctly specified system to be installed to include one of the top 10 manufacturers ASHP,s so we were covered if it broke down. We counted out the offer of an oil boiler because they were going to be banned in 2026. They Refused the counteroffer and came back with a load of information on how oil boilers were not being banned in 2026.

We asked for G to escalate as this complaint had been going on now for over 4 years.

The new complaints manager from G reinforced the offers made by the installers as viable offers. and what did we want to do? No matter how much we have pointed out that the system has failed as a whole G will not accept this and simply say the ASHP is just undersized.

I don't believe that adding an additional 8kw heat pump will rectify the problem based on the original 16kw only being able to produce 26 degrees when the outside temp is 0. How will an 8 kw make up the difference between 26 and the given flow temp of 55? so can't accept this offer. Also, there is the issue of Domusa's reliability and the fact that they (Domusa) are no longer specified on the MCS site oh and I would need planning permission for a 2nd ASHP.

Last week the ASHP broke down again. We have had enough now after being beaten down by the Installer, governing bodies, insurance companies, excessive electric bills, and a cold house that we have gone back to G asking for more information on the oil boiler install and a partial refund as we seem to have nowhere to go.

This situation is still ongoing and I will post updates in the hope it might help others.

 

 

Interests DIY & motorcycle travel


   
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Mars
 Mars
(@editor)
Illustrious Member Admin
15972 kWhs
Veteran
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2269
 

Wow, what a saga. You have officially claimed the record for the longest complaint I've come across – previous records have been around 30 months. So credit to you for now losing steam and for continuing the fight.

This is something that I have spent a ridiculous amount of time on trying to assist other homeowners with. I have sent countless emails to MSC, the consumer codes and certification bodies and the responses have been frustratingly nonchalant and dismissive. 

Coincidently, I have spent the last few days working on this guide to help people steer the process, so I can make a good guess as to who M and G is: https://renewableheatinghub.co.uk/how-to-complain-about-a-poorly-installed-heat-pump

Buy Bodge Buster – Homeowner Air Source Heat Pump Installation Guide: https://amzn.to/3NVndlU

Follow our sustainability journey at My Home Farm: https://myhomefarm.co.uk


   
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tworivers
(@tworivers)
Eminent Member Member
89 kWhs
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

@editor I thought there would be quite a few people on here who knew who G and M where. It has been a very stressful time for me and my family trying to navigate the system. I will be reading your attachment with great interest over the next few days.That should be a great help to people who find themselves in a similar position. I have also spent hours and hours and hours on this. Thank you for the attachment.

Interests DIY & motorcycle travel


   
Mars and MikeFl reacted
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Mars
 Mars
(@editor)
Illustrious Member Admin
15972 kWhs
Veteran
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2269
 

@tworivers you have done and gone further than any other homeowner I’ve come across and that’s massively commendable. I just hope you get the result you deserve based on your perseverance. Please keep us updated, especially if there’s a breakthrough as this could inspire others to continue their respective battles.

Buy Bodge Buster – Homeowner Air Source Heat Pump Installation Guide: https://amzn.to/3NVndlU

Follow our sustainability journey at My Home Farm: https://myhomefarm.co.uk


   
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 Jet
(@jet)
Active Member Member
23 kWhs
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 5
 

I can also claim more than 4 years of displeasure with my ashp. I complained to the installer from the moment it was installed back in 2020. It has failed me twice and we had no heat for up to 4 weeks in November to December 2 years running- on both occasions the installer could not repair it. I’ve had three official and one unofficial report from NICEIS, the manufacturer themselves, an independent witness report as well as a survey carried out by another professional installer company . Every one indicated that the system has been missold, wrongly specified, incorrectly installed and is not fit for purpose.

It cost £15,500 and is a cascade high temp system with 2 compressors. It costs a fortune to run as the efficiency is poor as a result of the way it was installed. My house plumbing is ruined. If you run a bath the feed pump runs dry and needs repriming and trip up to the loft with an egg cup full of water and a screw driver- We now all take showers!

The noise from the secondary compressor renders one room in the house unusable as a bedroom.

We have decided to take the installer to court for mis-selling and are in the process of filing papers

Once I get some or all of the money back I will remove the system and replace it with a LPG boiler (which was my previous trouble free system).

I am sorry to hear about your troubles - I can only advise that it’s best to revert to what you know. In the UK there are not enough experts who understand the science or practical applications of ashp. Even amongst those self proclaimed experts that know, there can be differences of opinion and it all depends on who you talk to.

For example, I was told that to make my system work efficiently and cost effectively, I would need to replace the entire pipe work feeding the central heating radiators as the pipe diameters are too small. Another suggested I install a buffer tank on the existing system!

Fyi my home was build in 1968, is cavity wall insulated and gas loft insulation. It is 2200sqft with 4 beds and 20 oversized dual panel radiators. My annual electricity bill is £4800 at 0.29 per unit. We have a electrovoltaic 4Kw solar system

My conclusion, don’t buy an ashp unless you get a written guarantee of actual kWh usage and get good references about the installer- in my view ashp are really are not suitable for our old housing stock nor our climate. They cost 4 times that of a boiler and if badly installed, like mine, can cost you more that £100 a week to run. Even then they do not product instant heat on demand! 

The government should stop peddling this technology and look at other ways to ensure we keep our houses warm- perhaps sticking carbon capture devices onto the flu of the boiler

 

 


   
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(@kev-m)
Famed Member Moderator
5550 kWhs
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 1299
 

Posted by: @tworivers

Here goes:

This is still an on going battle with the installer and the various Governing bodies so i am going to use M and G abbreviations for the governing bodies.

1850s Farmhouse based in the Yorkshire Dales. Insulated interior walls mostly 50mm kingspan with an air gap between wall and kingspan. Underfloor heating in 2 rooms downstairs with the balance being radiators. 

2019 I agreed to the removal of an anthracite boiler and the installation of a Domusa 16 kw ASHP. (I had at least 3 meetings to discuss the credibility and running costs etc). My contract stated 8230kwh PA to run with a flow temp of 55 and house temp of 21. 2nd September the ASHP was commissioned.

Immediately the running cost seemed to be excessively high but the house seemed warm ( but it was only September). I contacted the installer who tried various things including altering pipe work but nothing seemed to work. After 3 site visits to make alterations to pipework and being told the ASHP was working as it should, the installer informed me that he was not willing to spend any more time on it and refused to come back. By this time it was November, December time and the running costs were 85-100 kwh per day and the house was around 15-16 degrees.

I read the contract and in particular the complaints procedure: First discuss with the installer then contact M. I contacted M who asked what outcome did I want? I told them I just wanted what I had paid £15K for, an ASHP that would deliver the approx running cost + 10% and heat my house. They informed me they couldn't help because this was a technical matter and asked if I wanted a different outcome, I was at that point confused as to what they meant by a different outcome so said I just what it to work as per my contract. They referred me to G. G took on the case and contacted the installer. They came back to me saying the installer had informed them that the system was delivering what the manufacturers said it should and that I must have misinformed him of what the insulation was behind the wall. I replied that I had paid for a survey to carry out a suitability check with heat-loss calculations etc and that the installer had spent no more than 10mins asking about the internal insulation all the answers I gave were honest and truthful, what would I have had to gain by telling him lies about the insulation. G replied that they could not prove what either of us was saying so could no longer offer any assistance and referred me back to M. M said the case was closed unless I could come up with any other evidence and if I could go back to M to see if they would reopen the case. At this point, I knew next to nothing about ASHP but knew that what I had told him about the insulation was correct, I was left trying to prove there was something else wrong what? I had no idea.

I bought 2 temperature sensors ( small disks ) that work off Bluetooth I attached one to the flow and the other to return.

We are now in January temp 2 to -1 the flow temp didn't reach above 25 degrees and not constantly even though the flow temp was set at 55. Nowhere in the manual does it say the ASHP can reach a temp of 55 the max it could reach was 50. I took meter readings for about 4 weeks then got back in touch with G with the data I had collected. G agreed to re-open my case.

G is another story, Nievly as a consumer you believe the governing bodies would have your back should things go wrong, in my chase and from other posts I have read this is not the case.

My Complaint was my contract gave a running cost of 8230kwh PA with a design flow temp of 55 degrees. G only seems interested in the technical side and will not address the running cost issue.

The installer came back several times again saying the ASHP was performing as it should and that my house must be the issue. We asked for a heat meter to be installed over the winter period to establish once and for all whether it was the ASHP or the property. After missing the winter period and various requests from us a heat meter was installed in May 2022. It was established that there was a flow problem. Apparently, MY water must have contaminated the system and caused a sludge build-up in the heat pump. The system was emptied of glycol flushed with cleaner and refilled with water brought by the installer this time no glycol in the system 2 valves were installed instead. Up and running i was again informed that the system was working great. Despite requests to leave the heatmeter in for the winter, it was removed in June Just 6 weeks after being installed and in the best weather possible. Winter 2021-2022 the system perform no better than before.

It is agreed by G that the system is now undersized for my property. The installer offers to install another 8kw ASHP alongside the original. We ask for an estimated running cost bare in mind the running cost of the original being approx 13500kwh not 8230 kwh as per contract. The installer refuses to give the estimation and withdraws his offer.We continue to fight.

2023

January the ASHP showed a P6 fault ( the ASHP as had at least one fault per year) we contacted the installer who informed us that the system is now out of warranty because of MY water had contaminated the system. We go back to G and ask for the sytem to be removed and for us to get out money back, they pass this on to the installer and remind him of his obligations under the scheme and that he must supply us with alternative heating. He offers us 3 1.5kw halogen heaters and responds by telling us he is in contact with his insurers. He visits the site to examine the fault and finds that it's a blown circuit board that he will install a new one as a gesture of goodwill but is struggling to get it delivered from Spain ( Domusa).The repairs was not completed until the end of March approx 8 weeks without heating and only hot water from an immersion heater.

After more chasing, his insurers responded by saying they had investigated and found their client not to be at fault (surprise). But as a matter of goodwill, they are willing to reinstate their offer of a 2nd 8kw heat pump to run alongside the original 16kw or an oil boiler. We responded with a counteroffer for an independent company to re-survey the house and for a new correctly specified system to be installed to include one of the top 10 manufacturers ASHP,s so we were covered if it broke down. We counted out the offer of an oil boiler because they were going to be banned in 2026. They Refused the counteroffer and came back with a load of information on how oil boilers were not being banned in 2026.

We asked for G to escalate as this complaint had been going on now for over 4 years.

The new complaints manager from G reinforced the offers made by the installers as viable offers. and what did we want to do? No matter how much we have pointed out that the system has failed as a whole G will not accept this and simply say the ASHP is just undersized.

I don't believe that adding an additional 8kw heat pump will rectify the problem based on the original 16kw only being able to produce 26 degrees when the outside temp is 0. How will an 8 kw make up the difference between 26 and the given flow temp of 55? so can't accept this offer. Also, there is the issue of Domusa's reliability and the fact that they (Domusa) are no longer specified on the MCS site oh and I would need planning permission for a 2nd ASHP.

Last week the ASHP broke down again. We have had enough now after being beaten down by the Installer, governing bodies, insurance companies, excessive electric bills, and a cold house that we have gone back to G asking for more information on the oil boiler install and a partial refund as we seem to have nowhere to go.

This situation is still ongoing and I will post updates in the hope it might help others.

 

 

Wow, quite a saga. Surely the fact that the ASHP could not deliver more than 25 deg flow in colder weather means is has a fault.  Your house has almost nothing to do with the flow temp that can be produced. Good luck, it all sounds very stressful!

 

This post was modified 2 months ago by Kev M

   
Mars reacted
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 Jet
(@jet)
Active Member Member
23 kWhs
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 5
 

Hi it does seem that we have similar experiences. The "installer overseer" with whom you must lodge the first official complaint is nothing more than an installer-supported insurance policy. There aim is to handle "difficult customers" that cannot get resolution from the installers themselves. Typically ask you to go through a formal complaints procedure.They appoint an independent person to carry out a very limited system inspection. In my experience this did not really cover all of the issues.

The report stated that several things needed to be done but in reality, the installer short cut many and did only about 60% of the snagging list. The "Installer overseer" has no teeth and seemed to be sympathetic to the the installers who of course, indirectly pay their salaries. 

About 2 years ago the ASHP catastrophically failed for a 2nd time during a 4 week cold spell in November. After 3 weeks the installer technician came to fit a new part. But he was unable to get the system operating. In despair, as we both stood in the freezing cold outside, he suggested that I disconnect the I/O feed pipes and connect an LPG boiler instead.

At that point, I decided to launch a legal claim against the installer directly and demand my money back- Like with your request, they refused of course and instead offered to replace the system with the latest vendor-supplied unit. But I refused that offer stating that it did not address the plumbing issues and the excessive running costs. Not least that by this time, I had completely lost faith in their abilities to maintain and support the system. 

It has been a very very slow process, but I hope that the legal team are shortly going to be issuing court papers, but before they do we are trying one avenue that I did not know about. Section 75 of the consumer act.

I am keeping fingers crossed for a positive outcome and wish you all the best in your quest -

One positive thought is that if the Sub-postmaster Alliance managed to eventually win compensation in the high court for all the loss, distress and anxiety that they suffered from "bugs" in the horizon system. Maybe all the victims of the ASHP initiative can club together and do the same.

It's time our voice was heard also. Apparently a affordable heated home will soon become an official human right, so perhaps all of us that have suffered can leverage that argument


   
Derek M reacted
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tworivers
(@tworivers)
Eminent Member Member
89 kWhs
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

@jet sorry to hear you are going through the exact same thing and it seems we aren't the only ones. Like you mention there seems to be that many varying opinions on how best to run/setup/install these ASHP that it is hard to know what to do for the best. I for one didn't expect to have to learn the amount of technical information that i have had to. My installer disconnected my buffer a couple of years ago but seems to have recommissioned it after our recent breakdown. ( did decommissioning cause addition stress on the system and cause the system to fail again????). I have found with my system that it is most economical when i run it 24hrs a day at the lowest flow temp i can get away with.

Interests DIY & motorcycle travel


   
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(@hughf)
Noble Member Member
2848 kWhs
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 469
 

Posted by: @jet

I can also claim more than 4 years of displeasure with my ashp. I complained to the installer from the moment it was installed back in 2020. It has failed me twice and we had no heat for up to 4 weeks in November to December 2 years running- on both occasions the installer could not repair it. I’ve had three official and one unofficial report from NICEIS, the manufacturer themselves, an independent witness report as well as a survey carried out by another professional installer company . Every one indicated that the system has been missold, wrongly specified, incorrectly installed and is not fit for purpose.

It cost £15,500 and is a cascade high temp system with 2 compressors. It costs a fortune to run as the efficiency is poor as a result of the way it was installed. My house plumbing is ruined. If you run a bath the feed pump runs dry and needs repriming and trip up to the loft with an egg cup full of water and a screw driver- We now all take showers!

The noise from the secondary compressor renders one room in the house unusable as a bedroom.

We have decided to take the installer to court for mis-selling and are in the process of filing papers

Once I get some or all of the money back I will remove the system and replace it with a LPG boiler (which was my previous trouble free system).

I am sorry to hear about your troubles - I can only advise that it’s best to revert to what you know. In the UK there are not enough experts who understand the science or practical applications of ashp. Even amongst those self proclaimed experts that know, there can be differences of opinion and it all depends on who you talk to.

For example, I was told that to make my system work efficiently and cost effectively, I would need to replace the entire pipe work feeding the central heating radiators as the pipe diameters are too small. Another suggested I install a buffer tank on the existing system!

Fyi my home was build in 1968, is cavity wall insulated and gas loft insulation. It is 2200sqft with 4 beds and 20 oversized dual panel radiators. My annual electricity bill is £4800 at 0.29 per unit. We have a electrovoltaic 4Kw solar system

My conclusion, don’t buy an ashp unless you get a written guarantee of actual kWh usage and get good references about the installer- in my view ashp are really are not suitable for our old housing stock nor our climate. They cost 4 times that of a boiler and if badly installed, like mine, can cost you more that £100 a week to run. Even then they do not product instant heat on demand! 

The government should stop peddling this technology and look at other ways to ensure we keep our houses warm- perhaps sticking carbon capture devices onto the flu of the boiler

 

 

Just to bias the conversation the other way, my retrofit install in an old house with marginal 50mm cavities works perfectly. The house is larger (we extended by 15% at the same time) warmer than it was before and we spend no more than we did on gas.

This is a simple technology that works perfectly, all you need to do is have a vague idea of system design. Heck, I write software for a living and I managed to design and install my own system. I learnt everything I needed to know from reading a few books one evening and watching a bit of YouTube.

 

Off grid on the isle of purbeck
2.4kW solar, 15kWh Seplos Mason, Outback power systems 3kW inverter/charger, solid fuel heating with air/air for shoulder months, 10 acres of heathland/woods.

My wife’s house: 1946 3 bed end of terrace in Somerset, ASHP with rads + UFH, triple glazed, retrofit IWI in troublesome rooms, small rear extension.


   
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