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My not really getting there ASHP installation

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 LewB
(@lewb)
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So I’ve started a new topic as Mars suggested regarding my ASHP install. The title eludes to the notion that trying to get a design and quote from anybody who comes thoroughly recommended is not really happening.

Ive had one recommendation from a neighbour who had the company below install at his home but it was an oil fuelled system.

https://www.mawsonenergy.co.uk/

I have made mention in “introduce yourself” of some of the experiences and details I’ve encountered so far.

The install is entirely dependent on having a property that is sufficiently restored and renovated to accommodate the new system. Time is of the essence if we are to get up and running and make the RHI deadline. Whilst I’ve impressed this on the builder, he seems to have prioritised other work and I am now considering a change of builder.

To pick up from where my last thread was as mentioned:

@davef Hi, the quote I had was from a local installer(West Coast Lakes think Seascale area). In conjunction with GES supplying pump and tanks etc and a company from Carlisle (THS) providing calculation and design of the UFH and the hardware.

The installation quote lacked detail or breakdown of costs of each phase. I asked the installer for a detailed breakdown of the £22k + vat quote. This didn’t include the supply of the pump and tanks. That was a month ago, he’s not been back to me. I didn’t think it was too much to ask for separate detailed estimates for the pump/Tanks/Wiring install and UFH install. This would require him to quote for UFH ground floor and rads first floor throughout and a separate one for UFH ground and first throughout. Some work for him to cost it out but when spending £25k +, I didn’t think it unreasonable.

We’re quite keen on the GES Caernarfon system and think it a good fit. I am however looking at Grant. I like the idea of their pumps running R32 and not R410 refrigerants. Their 17Kw unit may not quite be big enough for our project.

I’ll be ringing Mawson this week to commence a dialogue and see if they can help.

I’ve also got the name of a firm at Windermere who are listed as Grant G1 certified installers.

Any thoughts or advise is always welcome


   
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(@frevillebabe)
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Hi guys

We’re here in Crystal Palace in South London. It’s a vibrant place with lots of young people and families. It’s through concern for their futures that we do so want to move on to a greener form of heating. Our Vaillant gas boiler is pushing 25 years old so it’s the perfect time for us make the change.

Our initial experience of renewable installers is a cautionary tale that may help you. And maybe hopefully one of you can help us. 

We initially called out thru local social media for recommendations of local installers. But it seems nobody near us has a heat pump installed. So we had no choice but to pick a Vaillant approved installer from the Vaillant website. They seemed knowledgeable enough and nice people and they spent 4 hours surveying our property. They proposed a Vaillant Aerotherm Plus air source heat pump to be sited adjacent to our back door. On the strength of that, we remodelled our 3 bed semi to create a utility room to house all the gubbins for the heat pump. 

The installer took a hefty £8k deposit before Xmas but in Jan 21, just a few weeks later, they contacted us. Now they said it wasn’t possible to install the Vaillant after all. They claimed that Vaillant had changed its proximity guidance (we fact-checked with Vaillant who denied this). Not only that but we found out from Vaillant that the Vaillant Aerotherm Plus requires a metre-deep soak away underneath it - our ground is water logged at the best of times. Our installer had made no mention of this.

We felt utterly disappointed and thoroughly done over.

Fortunately Which? Legal helped us write a stiff letter and we managed to get every penny of the deposit back (though my promise to write a Google review detailing the whole sad affair may have helped). Thank heavens we paid by credit card which gave us a bit of reassurance. But it leaves us asking if we can trust any installer. And we are back to square one. So guys the lessons we learned are ...

get a personal recommendation and

even if they seem such nice people PAY BY CREDIT CARD

After our experience, if the installer doesn’t allow payment by credit card - we’ll walk away.

Has anyone anywhere in south London had a heat pump installed? If you’re happy with your installation, please let us know. We’d love to get moving on this as there’s no time to lose.  Thanks Christine


 


   
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(@george)
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You can try contacting my installer for a quote:

https://artizanlifestyle.com/renewable-energies/air-source-heat-pumps/

Mitsubishi Ecodan 14kw ASHP + 500l Cylinder


   
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(@kev-m)
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Hi @frevillebabe, sorry to hear you weren't able to get your heat pump installed.  It seems (anecdotally) there is a shortage of good installers.  I can't help there as my installer is local and I'm a long way from you. 

You said you had to write a "stiff letter".  Some more detail and history might help others. What was the problem with the supplier; would they not cancel the installation, did they want more money or what?  We paid a 25% deposit to secure our order but we could have cancelled on request until the work started.  

Our installer never mentioned a soakaway.  There is a drain pipe underneath the ASHP but it just discharges into the ground to the side, albeit into a large gravelled area. I thought water was only produced during defrost cycles, which wouldn't be that often.

Good luck with getting this sorted out.


   
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(@frevillebabe)
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Hi there

As you know, the Vaillant Aerotherm Plus is very appropriate for retro-fitting cos it achieves a high COP at the higher flow temperature required by conventional radiators. This is why we were so very keen to have it. However, we expected our installer to know the relevant technical stuff about the Aerotherm plus. Unusually the Vaillant Aerotherm Plus uses refrigerant R290 which is in fact propane gas. Propane is flammable and explosive and heavier than air and there are a set of regs to be complied with because of its dangerous nature. There is only just over a litre of the gas inside the heat pump but the regs relating to propane refrigerant still apply. They do not allow this heat pump be sited within a specified distance of a door or window. Nor do they allow the possibility of discharge of this refrigerant into the public drains. This is why a soak away is required for the discharge of condensate. The condensate is a product of the chilling of air and a surprisingly large number of litres of water is potentially produced daily (we forget the actual potential figure but it was impressive - think of the heat pump as an enormous condenser drier with a tank that needs emptying every time) but the amount of condensate depends on the humidity of the air. Of course I don’t personally know all this stuff cos I’m a simple linguist but hubbie did a chemical engineering degree and is super techy and nerdy working at a well-known science uni. I am just quoting him verbatim! He says that probably your gravel bed serves as a very large soak away and you are lucky not to have the water-logged ground we do. 

You are right - We did pay a 50% deposit rather than the 25% deposit because the company told us there was a problem getting supplies of the heat pumps and we should pay them so they could purchase the heat pump in advance. 

When a supplier promises you a product and you pay a deposit and then they ‘switch’you to another product, this is called ‘bait and switch’. This is potentially a criminal offence. Our supplier wanted to switch us to a variety of heat pumps, none of which they said could be supplied for a number of months. You need to be mindful of the fact that your consumer legal rights are time limited as are your credit card rights. So this was another worrying factor. 

If the company had managed this as a very serious problem ie if the Managing Director of the company had contacted us personally with an abject apology and the offer of a full refund, things could have been different. But this is not what happened. Which? Legal advised us not to contact the company apart from sending their template letter. Frankly who wants to pursue a company through the courts? We are still very disappointed. I know the right thing to do would be to post that honest Google review. But just maybe they made an honest mistake and handled it really badly? I suppose we’ll never know.


   
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Mars
 Mars
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@frevillebabe thank you for sharing your cautionary tale. There are, unfortunately, a lot of similar stories that we've heard of and we're really pleased to hear that you've received your deposit back in full. We can recommend contacting Global Energy Systems (the manufacture's of our pump) as they source (and vet) installers. I'm sure that they cover London, but would double check. I am also familiar with one very reputable installer that covers London and will share his details (after I've received his permission).

Do you think you would have received your deposit back had Which? not assisted you and what their reason for withholding the funds? 

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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(@frevillebabe)
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Hi again

You know when we received the devastating email, -  which took a breezy tone like so:

‘I am just emailing to give you a bit of news on the heat pump equipment to keep you in the loop. Vaillant have released some extra technical information regarding the units “protective zone” which is to do with the refrigerant gas and how close this can be located to windows/doors and drainage systems. Because they are using R290 gas it apparently poses a risk if located within a meter of these openings which makes them very difficult to now install.’

- we immediately rang Vaillant and they confirmed that their proximity guidance had remained unchanged since the initial pre-launch document in2019. They emailed the installation manual with details about the proximity guidance and about the 1m deep soak-away which we hadn’t been told about and which we couldn’t have at our place. We were utterly dismayed that we had gone 6 months into the process without being told about these show-stopping constraints. My hubbie ran a date check on the Vaillant document to make doubly sure and those pages were dated 2019. Our salesman had assured us that they had already installed several Aerotherm Pluses. Had they really installed the Arotherm pluses without reading the basic installation manual? Or had they been feeding us bunkum all along? We didn’t want to have further contact with them as we feared they’d feed us yet more bunkum. This is why we contacted Which? Legal immediately. 
We sent them the Which? Legal template letter and they did quickly refund the deposit. However a few months earlier we had paid them £500 for a heat loss survey. My husband thought he could very easily do that himself as he had already set up a spreadsheet for radiator outputs but they told us that the £500 would be deducted from the final heat pump bill. So we said ‘why not’ and paid the £500. The company refused to refund this £500 to my husband. This is when I intervened. I rang the operations manager and asked if he really wanted me to post a Google review detailing what had happened (know that Google won’t delete customer reviews except under very special circumstances as they want their reviews to be something people can rely on). It was then that the operations manager relented and we got the £500. 

So this is how it was.

We’d be very very interested to hear more about that person you know who covers London. To top it all, our boiler started leaking last week but our trusty Polish plumber came along and fixed it - if only heat pumps were that easy! 

Actually we know South Shropshire very well as mymother-in- law has lived in variously Church Preen, Craven Arms and now is in a care home in Bishops Castle. It’s truly remote and beautiful. Charging our Leaf en route is a bit challenging but we get there eventually and Air BNBers have been very accommodating about charging. 

bye for now Christine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

information about positioning? 

 


   
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Mars
 Mars
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Thanks for sharing your story, and glad that you also received your £500 for the heat loss survey back.

I've contacted the installer, but he's not getting back to me.

@bobbt9866, sorry to put you on the spot, but do you know any reputable installers you can recommend that cover the south London area?

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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JulianC
(@julianc)
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Freville , If you pick an ASHP with R32 refrigerant, then one of your issues is simplified. E.g. the Daikin Altherma 3H HT unit I am having fitted is 18kW R32 unit. R32 has a much lower impact on the environment than R290 (propane)  I believe this makes location of the unit less of an issue  and you don’t need an F-gas qualified engineer to fit the pump  

just a thought anyway 

Daikin Altherma 3H HT 18kW ASHP with Mixergy h/w cylinder; 4kW solar PV with Solic 200 electric diverter; Honda e and Hyundai Ioniq 5 P45 electric vehicles with Myenergi Zappi mk1 charger


   
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(@bobbt9866)
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@editor

I have read the posts with interest and a reasonable amount of dismay.

There needs to be some sort of Ombudsman to get involved with these situations.

Never heard of a 'requirement' for a soakaway for the outdoor unit, as long as there is adequate drainage/runaway for the outdoor units. Most have a drain fitting on the drain pan to enable it to be piped away.

The LG units, for example, monitor the coil to sense defrost requirement and, when in the mode, do enough to remove the ice formation from the coil.

On post refers to the use of R290 and the lack of a requirement for FGas qualification. Should not delight in that or use it as an excuse. FGas is a strong qualification/standard and is monitored by official bodies and enforced.

 

As regards finding and installer, you can follow this link as a first resort:

https://mcscertified.com/find-an-installer/

Failing that look for air conditioning/heat pump installers, who are both MCS and Fgas registered in your area, by searching Google.

If you still cannot find one, come back to me.


   
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(@kev-m)
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@bobbt9866, the installation guide for the Vailant Arotherm seems to say a soakaway is required.  I only know this because I looked it up; I was curious and also wanted to check that mine (Ecodan) doesn't need one (it doesn't).  My drain is like you describe. Page 108 if anyone is really interested.  


   
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Mars
 Mars
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@kev-m, I’m curious as to why a soak away is required.

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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