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Installing a heat pump in a Grade II listed property

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cathodeRay
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Takeaways? Can I suggest:

1. The big players are best suited to off the peg installs into unchallenging settings. This relies on the big players being upfront and saying when an installation isn't suited to their modus operandi. I suspect the better ones do do this eg there are reports of Octopus saying early on that an installation isn't for them, but there are others, including perhaps some medium sized operators, who don't. This is perhaps where the acid test (see para below that starts 'Time and time and time again...') comes into its own. 

2. For more challenging installations, get a number of installers to make initial free visits, and use the visit to get a feel for the installer and their proposed ideas for the system, then select one or two and get a full quote based on a full paid for survey (and select one of them if you get two). You might be missing out on a cheaper quote for an acceptable installation, but that would have be done by a installer you have less confidence in. Another argument for paid for surveys which I don't think has been mentioned is the installer is saying 'my time is money' ie what I do has value, and should be valued, and in recognition of that, paid for. A surveyor who charges peanuts for the survey could be saying by the way I'm a monkey, don't be surprised if you gets peanut droppings for a survey.

Time and time and time again it comes up on this forum that the best installers show themselves willing to listen to, and respond to what they hear from, the customer. As I said before, any installer who responds to reasonable questions with 'leave it to the professionals' has at least in my book just written themselves out of the job.

I do get the fact that a simple division of labour into design and installation isn't as simple as it might at first seem. I wonder if the problem is heat pump design and installation sits in a sort of limbo between the relatively simple free quote eg air conditioning for a car and the more complicated eg adding a new extension to a house, where division of labour does make sense, and responsibilities and accountability is perhaps more clearly defined.  

Midea 14kW (for now...) ASHP heating both building and DHW


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
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One of the limitations of this forum is you only have the ability to give one “thumbs up” to a post. This one deserves more for how squarely it has hit the nail on the head.

 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Mars

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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cathodeRay
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Posted by: @majordennisbloodnok

One of the limitations of this forum is you only have the ability to give one “thumbs up” to a post. This one deserves more for how squarely it has hit the nail on the head.

You are very kind, thank you!

Midea 14kW (for now...) ASHP heating both building and DHW


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
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Posted by: @cathoderay

Posted by: @majordennisbloodnok

One of the limitations of this forum is you only have the ability to give one “thumbs up” to a post. This one deserves more for how squarely it has hit the nail on the head.

You are very kind, thank you!

Thanks, @cathoderay, but it's not just kindness. What you posted hangs together very well and in fact mirrors some conversations I've been having outside the forum.

If we just use Octopus as the example "big player", their ASHP business model is basically a "pile it high, sell it cheap" one. They can get the costs down by just focusing on easy and standard installs and refusing the awkward ones. Those people less able to afford an expensive installation are also more likely to be living in relatively "standard" properties, so benefit to a greater degree from the Octopus business model - huge generalisations, I know, but it's a principle I see as a good thing.

On the flip side, houses that need a more customised heating design that Octopus probably wouldn't touch are still fair game for the more specialised installers like the ones who have a good reputation on this forum. As a result, the opportunistic cowboy installers are likely to be squeezed out on price by Octopus and the like whilst being squeezed out on expertise by the experienced specialists. Win-win for everyone, I'd say. I'd also say that when I was having this very conversation with they guys who did my installation, they admitted they don't really see Octopus as competition; two different market segments that can operate together pretty reasonably.

As for what you were saying about the recurring theme of decent installers demonstrating a habit of listening, I cannot underline that enough. Everyone I've dealt with who has earned my confidence in them has listened to what my wife and I want before even starting to open their mouths and do any recommending. How can you recommend something if you don't know what you're being asked to achieve? It's a real giveaway of who to consider or avoid doing business with.

I hadn't thought before about what you raised regarding someone valuing their time and what message that's imparting, but it's quite correct. Whilst we all love a bargain, all most of us want is simply a good job delivered at a fair price. Someone who provides that service should indeed be unapologetic about putting a reasonable value on their time and we customers should respect that.

 

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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(@ianmk13)
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Posted by: @majordennisbloodnok

....... Whilst we all love a bargain, all most of us want is simply a good job delivered at a fair price.  

This is true not just of Heat Pumps, of course.  Whenever I commission a tradesman for some work I always look for local people with local recommendations and a good reputation.  Unfortunately I have quite an eye for detail and I am so often disappointed by tradesmen taking shortcuts or rushing a job at the expense of quality.  I don't really know the answer.  Should I try offering a bonus payment if they exceed my expectations? There is a risk of this tactic causing disappointment all round.

 


   
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(@showi)
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Had some information back from the Octopus "survey";

 

 

Thank you for your understanding. 

 

Yes, I can provide you with some heat loss figures. It appears that the property's heat loss was calculated at around 20.172KW across the property (this is when the outside temperature is around -3.5 degrees celsius, and the ground temperature is around 10 degrees celsius). 

 

It is our opinion that you'd need a sequence of heat pumps in order to supply the property with enough heat to feel comfortable. At this time, we are not facilitating installing heat pumps in sequence, as this can prove to be complex and costly for both parties. 

 


   
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cathodeRay
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Posted by: @showi

It appears that the property's heat loss was calculated at around 20.172KW across the property

I think you need a bit more than vague assertions followed by spurious decimal places! I also get worried when I see a turn of phrase like "At this time, we are not facilitating installing heat pumps in sequence" as the writer is clearly full of pompous business bull$hit but lacks even a basic understanding of the English language. What does the opening "At this time" add, beyond uncertainty - perhaps "at another time", they will be? And WTF is "facilitating" doing there? A pointless meaningless redundant word. It is enough to make me want, at this time, to facilitate installing such nonsense somewhere where the sun don't shine!   

Midea 14kW (for now...) ASHP heating both building and DHW


   
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(@showi)
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Posted by: @cathoderay

Posted by: @showi

It appears that the property's heat loss was calculated at around 20.172KW across the property

I think you need a bit more than vague assertions followed by spurious decimal places! I also get worried when I see a turn of phrase like "At this time, we are not facilitating installing heat pumps in sequence" as the writer is clearly full of pompous business bull$hit but lacks even a basic understanding of the English language. What does the opening "At this time" add, beyond uncertainty - perhaps "at another time", they will be? And WTF is "facilitating" doing there? A pointless meaningless redundant word. It is enough to make me want, at this time, to facilitate installing such nonsense somewhere where the sun don't shine!   

 

full email trail including my reply's I spoke to this guy and he seemed to have a little more understanding than most, think he is hamstringed by policy;

 

Thank you for recently facilitating a home survey at your property!

 

I'm just gettin in touch to let you know that, unfortunately, due to the heat loss across your property, we currently don't stock a heat pump big enough to heat your home. I believe this was already assessed during your home survey, and I'm sorry if this is disappointing.

 

I'll be processing a refund of your deposit amount, which you should receive back, in full, in around 7-10 working days. Please do let me know if you don't receive this by this given timeframe.

 

Feel free to let me know any feedback you'd like to pass on, and thank you for taking the time to consider our services.

 

Yes, was disappointing, we have quotes from independent installers but understand Octopus are dealing with the easier installs initially.

Can we get a report of the survey or even just the calculated heat loss figure?

 

Thank you for your understanding. 

Yes, I can provide you with some heat loss figures. It appears that the property's heat loss was calculated at around 20.172KW across the property (this is when the outside temperature is around -3.5 degrees celsius, and the ground temperature is around 10 degrees celsius). 

It is our opinion that you'd need a sequence of heat pumps in order to supply the property with enough heat to feel comfortable. At this time, we are not facilitating installing heat pumps in sequence, as this can prove to be complex and costly for both parties. 

 

Thank you, I thought that was the figure the assessor said but wasn’t sure, the assessor was very ‘green’ on this and fresh out of training, albeit following a strict box ticking kind of survey.

Both independent installers calculated very similar to each other and specified 14kw units.

Speaking to specialists on dedicated forums it seems the big installers like yourself, and BG are overly cautious with the surveys and don’t consider all aspects of a property/requirement.

I understand the approach given the high demand now driven by the Grants available.

 

Based on the data collected, I'd argue that 14KW wasn't nearly enough for the property, so I'd encourage you to ask for a detailed report on their heat loss calculations to make sure this will fit the bill. 

 

Nevertheless, I'm glad to see that a heat pump is still something you intend on proceeding with, even if it's not from us. They truly are the future of home heating. 

 

I think you are right in the sense that we are overly cautious when it comes to servicing large properties. I'm sorry we weren't able to facilitate your project this time around. 

 


   
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cathodeRay
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Posted by: @showi

I'm just gettin in touch to let you know that, unfortunately, due to the heat loss across your property, we currently don't stock a heat pump big enough to heat your home.

Thank heavens for the facilitating of small mercies. At least he didn't 'reach out' to let you know, though if he had, he might have 'reac'd out'. The sentence is gibberish: how on earth can it be that they don't stock a big enough heat pump due to the heat loss across your property? You would see more neural activity in a bowl of porridge than in the grey matter of the person behind all this.

Posted by: @showi

Both independent installers calculated very similar to each other and specified 14kw units.

These look on the face of things like more likely estimates, and the fact that two independent installers came up with similar heat losses possibly adds some credibility to their estimates, unless they used identical methods, in which case it would worrying if they didn't come to the same conclusion. Heat loss calculation are tedious but not that complicated to do, if I were in your position, I would do my own calculations. Freedom released a spreadsheet that has a heat loss calculator worksheet within it, it can be downloaded from links in this thread. There are also other calculators available.

Posted by: @showi

Based on the data collected, I'd argue that 14KW wasn't nearly enough for the property

The key question here is what data was collected, and how was it used? Personally, I would try to nail this one down, as the 20kW estimate does, despite the other lower estimates, introduce an element of uncertainty. If I could establish that the data collection and /or method of heat loss calculation was defective in some way, then I would be more comfortable dismissing the 20kW estimate, and accepting the 14kW figure.

The other possibility - don't think it has come up in this thread very much if at all, though it has elsewhere - is to use past energy use as a guide. If you know your past energy use during a time when the house was comfortable, and you also know the outside air temps during that time (Met Office and other records), then you know the heat loss for those weather conditions.

 

 

Midea 14kW (for now...) ASHP heating both building and DHW


   
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(@showi)
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The key question here is what data was collected, and how was it used? Personally, I would try to nail this one down, as the 20kW estimate does, despite the other lower estimates, introduce an element of uncertainty. If I could establish that the data collection and /or method of heat loss calculation was defective in some way, then I would be more comfortable dismissing the 20kW estimate, and accepting the 14kW figure.

The other possibility - don't think it has come up in this thread very much if at all, though it has elsewhere - is to use past energy use as a guide. If you know your past energy use during a time when the house was comfortable, and you also know the outside air temps during that time (Met Office and other records), then you know the heat loss for those weather conditions.

 

 

Have only spent 1 winter here, moved in May 2023, the heating has been a problem for other reasons and only this month are we fully insulated so don't have a decent normal cycle to compare to.

 

From what I could see he measured all rooms including ceiling heights and openings , all windows and external doors.

Didn't seem to do much else or ask any questions compared to the other 2 surveys.

Cant speak as to what the algorithm does once this is inputted but it spat out 20kW !

 


   
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(@ianmk13)
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Posted by: @showi

 

Based on the data collected, I'd argue that 14KW wasn't nearly enough for the property, so I'd encourage you to ask for a detailed report on their heat loss calculations to make sure this will fit the bill. 

 

 

I'll ask the obvious question, then.  Did the OE chap offer a detailed report on their heat loss calculations?  Apparently not.

 


   
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(@showi)
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@ianmk13

No just the headline figures 🙄 

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by SHOWI

   
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