Considering an ASHP for my 2 bed bungalow
Hi - I am new to this forum and have been working my way through the information in the posts and videos that some members have thoughtfully provided. I have just bought a 2 bed bungalow in a semi rural area where there is no gas. I stumbled on a scheme that has just started in my local area and it seems that my local authority has funding for installing some ASHPs for homes without gas. I don't yet know all of the details but I am fairly confident that I will be eligible for a grant for an ASHP (this is not the standard RHO scheme but one particular to my area) that I would not have to repay as I am almost retired and on a fairly low income.
I am not very technical but I have read as much as possible on this forum and I feel a bit daunted, especially as I will not be able to choose either the product or the installer. I am willing to put in the necessary effort to use the system effectively but I wonder how much knowledge and understanding I will need to do this. It appears very complicated to me. I am not usually a big consumer of energy as I have lived alone in the last few years and have had fairly low energy bills. My new home is a typical 70's bungalow, it has quite a lot of windows, it is quite small and I've been told it has the appropriate levels of loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.
I am trying to work out whether I should go ahead with the scheme? I have not moved into the house yet as it needs some other work doing first. The current heating is supplied by old fashioned storage heaters so they definitely need replacing with something better. Today someone came to quote me on unrelated work and suggested that I would probably be better off with a wood burner with a boiler, or a wood burner with electric radiators that I can use as and when needed. I am sometimes away for a few weeks at a time.
I would appreciate any information or advice that might help me make my decision about what heating to install and whether a ASHP and solar panels would serve my needs.
@georgia I recently removed my oil boiler and moved to an ASHP. Its a quiet and efficient system so it will be an improvement on your storage heaters. I'm not technical and the system runs itself. If you could get Under floor pipes put in the main 2 rooms you would have a lovely type of heat. (Unfortunately not possible in my home). Try and visit a home with an ASHP if possible. I have a log burner as well and prefer to have a backup to any electric based system. My system is controllable via the internet so I can switch on-off from afar.
For a simple reply- yes go for it!
If you have specific questions many on here will help- myself included. Good luck. Mike
Hi and welcome to the forum.
Another vote to go for it from me. We had old storage heaters in our 1990 4 bed bungalow and the ASHP is much, much better in every way. It's also cheaper to run and would be even more so had electricity prices not gone up. It sounds like your house will work fine with an ASHP. It gives a really nice, constant heat and plenty of hot water. The radiators (if you have them) would be a similar size to the storage heaters (ours are). You won't be better off with a wood burner/boiler. A wood stove is nice (we have one) but I would not want to rely on one. I doubt it would be cheaper to run either and it sounds like you can get an ASHP paid for anyway. Also, please, please, don't get electric radiators; they will cost a fortune to run.
I enjoy tinkering with the system but you don't have to. There is plenty knowledge here to get you set up if you need it.
If you were considering paying for an ASHP I might mention that modern storage heaters are much better than the old ones and cheaper than an ASHP.
Please feel free to ask more questions.
@georgia I'm finding that my ASHP works well keeping the house warm (I've not had it over the cold winter months yet), but I'm running it 24 hours a day so the house never cools down, and it's just ticking over. I think if you're away from time to time you'll want to switch everything off; it'll take a long time to reheat once it's switched back on. I'd investigate modern storage heaters and PV before committing to the expense and upheaval of having underfloor or radiators fitted, lovely as that may be. Would the grant cover more than just the heat pump ? eg radiators/hot water tank
Thank you to those who replied. I appreciate this initial advice. I intend getting rid of the storage heaters as they are very old. The house is structurally sounds although it needs a fair bit of modernisation and so the upheaval of installing pipes and radiators is not a problem as we are doing messy jobs anyway.
I would like to know what questions are the most important to ask before going ahead and what issues I can avoid by being aware of potential common problems at this early stage. For example the house has an copper water cylinder with a jacket, will this be adequate or do I need to change it? I'm still unsure of whether radiators should have thermostats on or not - of what kind of heater is best in a very small bathroom? I don't think underfloor is an option and not even sure if I will have a choice of radiators, but I want to know as much as possible and to ensure I am not going along with something because I don't understand it well enough. I have a small flat roof conservatory with no heating and the roof needs some attention so would I be better replacing it and having it insulated at the same time. I intend to use it as a utility room.
I am not sure which factors are the most important. Would I be correct in saying that the size of heat pump, surface area of radiators and an accurate heat loss assessment are the crucial things to start with. I am not even sure if my present concerns are ones that are relevant. Any advice would be welcome.
What I would suggest that you do is obtain as much information as possible about the local scheme being offered. Anything that you are not certain about just ask on the forum and I feel certain someone will reply.
ASHP's are one of the most efficient forms of heating and hot water production, so if you can get one installed at little or no cost then it is something that should not be dismissed lightly.
For maximum efficiency an ASHP needs to operate at the lowest water flow temperature, and have either weather compensation or an adaptive mode of control. It may sound quite technical, but once set up, the system should hopefully work with little attention required from yourself.
The fact that it is a local authority scheme should mean that all the necessary checks have been carried out to ensure that the proposed installers are MCS accredited, that the necessary heat loss calculations have been carried out, that the correct size of heat pump has been selected and that the system has been well designed.