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Is replacing your old boiler with a new condensing boiler worth the upgrade?

Is replacing your old boiler with a new condensing boiler worth the upgrade?

If you’re living with an older, non-condensing boiler, you might be wondering whether it’s worth your time and cash investment to upgrade to a new, efficient model.

After all, if your boiler is still working well, why would you want to change?

When you consider that around 55 per cent of what you spend on energy bills is down to your heating, it makes sense to look for ways to reduce this cost.

Things like insulating the house and using heating controls well can help, but if your boiler is failing to produce the heat efficiently you could be spending unnecessarily.

Here’s what you need to know about condensing boilers:

What is a condensing boiler?

Modern boilers are all classed as condensing, marking a step change in technology that had a massive influence on the ways we heat our homes.

Non-condensing boilers which are well maintained may still be working as efficiently as they can, but a certain portion of your heat is inevitably lost via the flue in the hot gasses. A condensing boiler stops this waste.

Using a heat exchanger, a condensing boiler traps these hot gasses and recovers the heat from them, reusing them to heat your home and water.

Sometimes they cool the flue gasses so well that the water vapour contained in the gas condenses out, which is why they are called ‘condensing’.

As a result, they are much more efficient than conventional boilers and can save you a packet on your energy bills.

Just how efficient are they?

Condensing boilers run at around 94 per cent efficiency.
This means that for every pound you spend on fuel, you’re getting out 94 pence worth of heat for your home.

In contrast, a non-condensing boiler runs at between 53 and 79 per cent efficiency, although poorly maintained and older models may be much less.

Pros of condensing boilers

If you do decide to invest in a new condensing boiler, you could unlock a whole raft of advantages, including:

  • Increased energy efficiency: Up to 35 per cent increased efficiency means you’ll spend less to heat your home.
  • Smaller carbon footprint: A condensing boiler could save up to 1,200kg of CO2 per year, reducing your carbon footprint as a household.
  • Safer: In a condensing boiler, combustion happens at a lower temperature; around 55 degrees C compared to 180 degrees C in non-condensing models. They are also perfectly sealed to ensure heat insulation, which means there is no risk of toxic substances entering the home.
  • Smaller: Condensing combi boilers are very compact, and can easily be stored in a kitchen cupboard.

It’s important to gain a balanced view on condensing boilers, so as well as all these advantages it is important to be aware of the drawbacks associated with changing over, such as:

  • Require an external pipe: The need for an external pipe means these boilers must be fitted to an external wall. This could be a problem if, for instance, your old system is located in your airing cupboard.

As a general rule, changing to a condensing boiler is almost always the best option when thinking about how to heat your home. If your old boiler still works well and you’re happy with it, there’s no harm in using it until it begins to give you problems. However, the sooner you upgrade, the sooner you can enjoy cheaper energy bills.

How much could you save?

Depending on the age and condition of your existing boiler and your current fuel bill, you’ll be able to save of up to £425 per year on your fuel bills.

The smaller your home and the more efficient your old boiler is, the less these savings will be.

In addition to your savings, some installers are offering scrappage scheme discounts for an old boiler when you upgrade to a new boiler plus energy efficient one.

Read The 8 Simple Steps To Check If Your Home Is Suitable For Solar Panels

Read The 8 Simple Steps To Check If Your Home Is Suitable For Solar Panels

by Susie McArthur | May 23, 2019 | Energy

There are probably houses in your own street with this technology fitted to the roof. Thanks in part to the Government’s Feed-in Tariff, the UK now boasts over 12,000MW of installed solar capacity, compared to just 31MW at the beginning of 2010.

Is your home solar panel & battery storage suitable?

No doubt you’ve heard plenty about solar panels, but could you own them yourself? What questions should you ask to determine if your home is suitable, and what are the consequences for your investment if your home isn’t exactly right? Let’s find out.

1. Orientation Is Key

The way your roof faces can make a big difference to its suitability for solar. In an ideal world, you would have a pitched roof facing due south, ready to catch the maximum amount of sunshine throughout the day, but how many of us live in a house that is so perfectly orientated? As a general rule, if you have a surface which faces south-east or south-west, that’s fine. You can even install panels on a roof which faces due east or west and you will only incur approximately a 15 per cent drop in energy output.

2. How much roof space do you have?

Unlike solar thermal (hot water panels) which is not much bigger than a radiator, solar PV (electricity panels) require a larger amount of space. As a rough guide, you’ll need an area of about the size of a parking space for a typical array, although the precise size will depend on the capacity of the system you are installing.

3. What about the shade?

Heavy shading is bad news for solar panels. Take note of any tall trees, chimneys and other buildings nearby, and decide whether they are likely to cast a shadow on your solar system at any point during the day.

4. How strong is your roof?

Most modern roofs will be able to accommodate the weight of solar panels, no problem. However, it is important to work with an installer who carries out structural assessments to ensure your roof is not damaged. An old or weak roof doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have PV, only that you’ll need to take steps to strengthen it first.

Still Not Sure If Solar Panels Are Right For You?

5. What’s the angle of your roof?

The ideal angle for a solar panel is between 30 and 45 degrees, which isn’t a million miles away from every type of angle you’ll normally see on a pitched roof. It is possible to install panels with pitches as shallow as 15 degrees up to 50 degrees, but outside of that range, the efficiency would start to reduce significantly. You can have solar PV installed on flat roofs using a frame to angle them perfectly, but you’ll need to make sure that the flat roof can take the weight.

6. Where do you live?

As a general rule, it doesn’t matter where you live as the more recent panels work on daylight and not direct sunshine. However, the more daylight you get, the better your panels will perform.

7. Is your home energy efficient?

Investing in renewable energy should be one of the last things you do once everything else is taken care of. If you haven’t insulated well, haven’t ensured your heating system is efficient and are not using your appliances efficiently, all the savings you’ll be making from solar PV will become diluted by the wastage still happening in your home. More importantly, in order to qualify for the Feed-in Tariff, you must have taken steps to improve the efficiency of your home and should be rated at least a D on your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

8. What’s the best way to find out if your property is suitable?

If you’re thinking about installing solar, considering these questions can help you to understand whether your home is suitable or not, but you should not base your decisions on this alone.

An installer will be able to conduct a free home site survey to establish for sure whether solar is the best technology for you, and what you could expect from your system by way of a return.

Get started. Answer the following questions:

What type of property do you live in?

Air source heat pumps: Busting the myths

Air source heat pumps: Busting the myths

Air source heat pumps (ASHP) have exploded onto the eco heating scene over recent years. Similar in technology to other types of heat pumps, these products require no digging, no water source and can be fitted to pretty much any home. Despite their rise in popularity, we often hear objections to this technology, many of which are simply not true.
Do You Qualify For A £11,500 Government Incentive?

Likened once to a ‘refrigerator running backwards’ (now that sounds expensive, doesn’t it?) understanding the technology behind ASHP can help you make a more informed decision about the right technology for you. Here are four of the most common myths about air source heat pumps, and the reasons why you shouldn’t believe them.

They’re horribly noisy

Back when heat pumps were first introduced, the noise from the external unit was somewhat significant. In terms of noise level, they reached around 76 dB, which to put in context is similar to traffic driving past or an alarm clock going off. It’s no wonder then that, for some people, they’ve garnered a reputation for noise.

However, modern heat pumps are designed to work much more quietly. Typical noise outputs from the external unit are in the region of 40 – 50 dB, which is quieter than your dishwasher and the sound of the rain. Also remember that this unit will be on the outside of your home, so it’s unlikely you’ll hear anything when you’re inside at all.

They only work when the weather is warm.

Air source heat pumps work by taking the heat out of the outside air and boosting it to a higher temperature using a compressor. It’s understandable to be concerned about the cold weather and confused as to whether your heat pump will still work. The good news is, it will, and very well too.
Air source heat pumps Heat pumps have been tested to function effectively at temperatures as low as minus 20. Here in the UK, temperatures rarely plunge that low, so although your heat pump might have to work a little harder in cold temperatures, you can be confident that it will still produce heat for you and your family.

They’re very expensive

An investment in a heat pump is not insignificant, however, it’s important to remember that this is a replacement for your boiler, and if you were buying a new boiler, that too would also be a substantial investment.

Are Air Source Heat Pumps Right For You?

In terms of savings, figures published by the Energy Saving Trust suggest that, depending on what fuel type the heat pump is replacing, could save you from £300 to £1,090 per year. In addition to this, there is a Government incentive called the “Renewable Heat Incentive” (RHI). This incentive would pay you up to £11,500 over the next seven years. The payment is also index linked meaning it will also rise with inflation over that period, making heat pumps, as an investment, much more attractive.

They only work with underfloor heating

Heat pumps have gained a reputation for working best with underfloor heating, due to the fact the heat output is a little lower than that of a conventional heating system. Whilst they certainly work well with underfloor heating, you are not constrained by this in any way, and can absolutely choose to connect your ASHP to a typical radiator system in your home.

We do recommend that your home has a decent amount of insulated before investing in a heat pump, so that you can keep in all that low carbon heat you’re generating. In some situations, it could be beneficial to increase the size of your radiators to ensure a good heat output, but if you don’t have the wall space, there are specialist low flow radiators that will ensure you’re as warm as toast.

 

So, there you have it,

four of the most popular myths surrounding air source heat pumps busted just for you! For more information and to find out if you qualify, simply complete the details below:

Get started. Answer the following questions:

What type of property do you live in?

New Eco Heating: A great solution to runaway fuel bills

New Eco Heating: A great solution to runaway fuel bills

by Nemash Solanki | May 14, 2019 | Energy

If the cost of living is getting you down, you could take control of your fuel bills by changing the way you heat your home.
Eco heating solutions can have a dramatic impact on the cost of keeping warm.

Here’s what you need to know.

Do You Qualify For A £11,500 Government Incentive?

It’s no big secret that our energy bills have soared in recent years.

In fact, just last year alone, the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers bumped their prices up between £75 and £105 for average households on dual fuel standard tariffs, an increase of around 5.3 percent and the fastest rate rise since 2014.

It would seem that this is not the end of it either, with experts predicting further rises through 2019 as wholesale prices continue to soar.

Even if you’re not too worried about the cost, the environmental impact of our traditional heating methods leaves a lot to be desired. Around 42 percent of the 4.7 tonnes of CO2 emitted by a typical home is down to our heating, contributing to climate change and disastrous weather events around the globe. Swapping fossil-fuelled heating for an eco-heating solution can go a long way towards helping the UK reach its target of an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2030.

So what eco heating options are there, and what’s suitable for your home?

Let’s take a look…

Air source heat pumps

You might have heard of ground source heat pumps (GSHP) which require either a horizontal or vertical trench to be dug. If you’re living in an urban or suburban location, chances are you’re limited on outside space and can’t have something like this installed. Air source heat pumps could be the answer, as they don’t require any digging and only need a compact air compressor unit to be installed outside the property. It works just like a regular boiler, connecting to radiators around the home, however, this renewable energy product will save you a significant amount of money on running costs, compared to traditional heating systems.

 

Is my home suitable?

You’ll need a home that has been insulated to get maximum benefit from this and will need an outside space to attach the compressor to the wall.

 

Can I afford it?

Cost of installation depends on the size of your property. However more and more homeowners are taking advantage of the current Government scheme called “Renewable Heat Incentive” which can earn you a 7 year tax free income of up to £11,500! All homeowners are eligible for this scheme and it will go a long way to paying for all or part of your initial investment.

High-efficiency electric heaters

If you’re stuck with electricity for your heating and are living with awkward, uncontrollable night storage heaters, you could enjoy a better outlook with high-efficiency German Electric Radiators. Using a dynamic reheating process, these units are super-efficient, saving you money and helping you keep your home warmer and more comfortable too. Known as Wibo heating, these are easy to use, fast to heat up and can be individually controlled throughout the home to give you heat where and when you need it and at whatever temperature you require day or night.

 

Is my home suitable?

Absolutely! There is no home which cannot be switched over to Wibo.

 

Can I afford it?

The cost of your Wibo heating will depend on the size and number of radiators you need. You could consider also installing solar PV for your own electricity supply, making these heaters even cheaper to run.

Want to take things a step further?

If eco heating is out of your reach, or if you’re keen to do more to stamp down ridiculous energy bills, here are some more ideas for ways you could get things back under control.

  • Keeping the heat in: Improving your insulation is a great way to reduce your energy bills and improve your comfort levels at home too. Subsidies are available for things like loft and cavity wall insulation, and new spray foam insulation is a great way to warm things up where other products are not suitable.
  • Reducing electricity demand: Solar PV panels generate significant amounts of electricity for your home, and with the Government’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) you could also generate an additional income too. Why not find out more about generating your own electricity at home with solar PV?
  • Be more efficient: If your boiler is an older model, you could save up to £300 a year by upgrading to a new, more efficient model. Modern heating controls such as room thermostats and programmers will help you control the heat better too so that you can enjoy thermal comfort without it costing the earth.
  • Add Solar Panels: If you are updating your heating system, solar panels would be a great compliment to the upgrade as you will reap even more benefit from saving on heating bills and you will be a step closer to being fully renewable!

Get started. Answer the following questions:

What type of property do you live in?

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