elemental’s Account Manager Andy Shields, on switching to a renewable heating system in deepest, darkest Cambridgeshire.
A long long time ago, a certain editor on a certain HVAC magazine, took me aside and gave me a hot tip.
“Heat pumps”, he declared with gusto. Heat pumps will be the next big thing in the world of domestic and commercial heating. Really?
Even those in the know, cautioned against buying and installing a heat pump, as it wouldn’t save us any money, but we’d feel good about our lower carbon footprint. Attractive to me, but Mrs Account Manager was less keen.
Spin forward a few years, and suddenly it’s not only the right thing to do, but it is cheaper if…
If you’ve got the savings or access to a line of credit in order to buy solar panels, a battery and an inverter to help run the heat pump. Once you can get these elements in place, it is possible to run your property virtually for free during the summer months and cheaply during the winter via nifty use of the battery – see below.
If you can switch to an Octopus Go account, once you’ve proved you have an EV (ours is being leased through my wife’s Tusker work scheme), or you’ve proved you’re supposed to be getting one at some point in the distant future, you can switch to Octopus Go, which allows you to charge your battery, cheaply, at night, and then use this to run, or partially run, your house during the day.
So there are a couple of ‘if’s’ there. We were very fortunate, in that our house, built in ‘85 (Live Aid year), required very little in terms of remedial measures to help the heat pump do its thing. We have cavity wall insulation, double glazed windows, large enough radiators and a decent depth of loft insulation. That said, the installation still cost £10,850, less the £5,000 boiler upgrade scheme (administered by Octopus) and took our team of 4 (three lads and one lass) a good 4 and a half days of hard graft. That’s the real reason they are so expensive to install. It’s the labour. The 7 KW Daikin ASHP itself was just under £2k.
As we keep hearing, the United Kingdom has the least leakiest housing stock in Europe. We still love our Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian houses, with their quaint sash windows. They are lovely, but totally unsuited for heat pumps, unless you can seal them up and that’s expensive! Renewables need to be legislated in to new build asap and ongoing incentives should be provided to help people upgrade to a renewable heating system, where possible. After all, there is no planet B!
So, heat pumps do work, in our experience so far, if you have the right measures in place. If you can stretch to solar panels, inverter and battery and Octopus will let you on their Go tariff, then it really starts to make sense!
Just waiting for the EV to arrive!