Fed Up of High Heating Bills and Craving an Alternative?

My on-going angst (and rants) regarding my energy bills have been well documented. I’ve browsed the internet, looking for alternatives however like many of you have found myself drowning in technical jargon. This plainly written guest post from industry experts at The Renewable Energy Hub explains what benefits you may receive if looking at installing a heat pump system, and whether this is the right option for you.


What to Consider Before Installing a Heat Pump

Whilst all the attention often goes to solar panels and wind farms when it comes to what renewable energy to opt for, if you have the right kind of house you could make some real energy efficiency savings if you install a heat pump.

Basically a heat pump takes the surrounding heat from the air, ground, or even water and uses it to provide warmth for the home. It works in a similar way to a refrigerator, this time compressing the heat collected from outside and releasing it into your home through a series of coils. Whilst heat pumps use a small amount of electricity, and therefore are not strictly a renewable, they are considered highly energy efficient and could provide a significant reduction in energy bills.

The key to whether a heat pump would be effective for your property is how draft proof the building is – the heat is produced at a much lower temperature than with normal gas powered systems and requires a fairly ‘locked-in’ environment. That means older houses with various nooks and crannies that cause drafts are likely to be unsuitable. Newer builds tend to be better insulated and therefore hold the heat in more effectively.

Another issue to take into account is what heating you currently have. Installing a heat pump provides a bigger saving if you are replacing an electric, oil, or LPG system rather than gas which may not lead to great savings.

But overall, assuming that you have the right kind of building, the benefits of installing a heat pump are numerous.

  • With a well-insulated building you get a high degree of temperature control which means you can not only have it warm and comfortable in the winter but can cool a room down in summer.
  • The efficiency ratings of heat pumps are pretty good compared to other devices. Often you will find that your heat pump will produce around 2.5 kW of heating or cooling for just a very small amount of electricity with between 200 and 400% efficiency.
  • The main financial benefit is that your heat pump will save you on energy bills over the year and the initial outlay for having it installed will be offset by this and the value it puts on your property.
  • The other good news is that your heat pump should be eligible for earning money via the government backed Renewable Heat Incentive which rewards both commercial and domestic property holders for using renewable energies.

Of course, you will also be reducing your carbon footprint with little in the way of emissions to speak of, accept for that small amount of electricity used to run the device. Along with a reduction in things like condensation and better air quality, you’ll find that a heat pump is also much kinder to your health than other systems.

Types of Heat Pumps

The type of heat pump that you install will have a bearing on the cost of the overall project.

Air Source Heat Pumps: This is generally the cheaper option and fits to the outside of the house and feeds inside a bit like an air conditioning unit. You will need enough space in your garden around the pump so that it can draw enough air but otherwise it is the easiest of the installations.

Ground Source Heat Pumps: You’ll need some excavation work for this installation. A ground source pump is, of course, buried in the ground and consists of a series of pipes that loop back and forth. You will need to ensure that you have the right space to excavate as well as having room for things like diggers to move in and out of the installation area.

Water Source Heat Pump: It’s not just ground and air that can be used to draw heat. If you have a decent sized water supply like a lake or large pond, it can be used for the purpose of heating your home.

Return on Investment for Heat Pumps

The cost of heat pumps can be quite large and the return on investment is normally slower than with a technology like solar panels which benefits more roundly from the Feed in Tariff. A 10 kW Air Sourced Heat Pump would probably set you back about £7,000 and a Ground Source Heat Pump in the region of £11,500. You also need to take into account the installation which can vary depending on whether you need excavation work undertaking.

You can expect to save around £240 a year on your energy bills (depending on the type of fuel you are replacing) and if you qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive you could earn money per kWh that you produce. You may also be eligible for a one off payment through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment.

With our heating bills set to rise even more over the next few years, for the right house or business installing a heat pump can help reduce the amount you spend on heating, improve the air quality of the place you live or work and reduce your impact on the environment.

My Boys

Today’s guest post is a refreshing look at being mum to boys! It’s author Ella can be found on Twitter (do say hello, she’s lovely!) and on her own site, PurpleMum.

Louie, my eldest child, was 13 months old when I became pregnant with my second baby. At the time it seemed like a really sensible idea to have my children close together , so that they would be playmates for each other.  When I discovered I was having another boy I was thrilled. I pictured myself as a mum of two rosy cheeked little boys.

They would wear matching jumpers (yes, I am that mum). They would run around together in the woods in the autumn (why is it that, in my head, catalogue perfect families always hang around in autumnal woodland?) and they would always get along brilliantly.

The reality is that little boys are a bit of a mystery to me. The problem is that I’m a girl. This means I don’t fully understand boys or men, or what drives them. I don’t get Louie’s absolute devotion to knowing exactly how many cylinders are in each and every one of his toy cars. I don’t get why Milo (my youngest son) wants to be addressed and treated as if he was a robot (ok I get that more but still).

Also what is it that boys have about sticks and stones? My home is full of the aforementioned items. Every time I put on a load of washing I hear the tap tapping of a stone, mocking me, ha ha you searched the pockets but I was in the socks. It takes me half an hour to walk down my fairly short street because every two or three steps there is an exciting new stone to explore, pick up and of course take home for further examination. My husband, after I had said ‘I do’, revealed that he had a sizeable stick collection under his bed as a child. Luckily for me he now keeps his sticks in the garden, but yes he does still come home with a ‘useful’ stick or two after a country walk.

Then there is the way they interact with each other. It is like having a couple of lion cubs in the house. A large part of their playtime is spent rolling around on the floor wrestling. I ought to make them brightly coloured lycra costumes and train them up for the WWF, at least then this obsession would be profitable. Initially I tried to stop the wrestling, but as this has proved a fruitless battle I have admitted defeat. So they wrestle on the floor, the sofa, the beds, the trampoline, you get the idea.

Finally little boys need to be run, like puppies, at least twice a day.  I, on the other hand, am a big fan of sitting down practising the chocolate biscuit exercise plan (arm goes up, mouth opens wide). Unfortunately, as no one in my area offers a boy walking service (here is a business idea worthy of Dragon’s Den), guess who has to take endless trips to parks, soft play centres and yes, those once longed for woodlands.

I love being a mum of boys, at times it is challenging but mostly my boys are delightful. I love their boundless energy, inquisitive nature, and the bear hugs I get from them every day. I look forward to each new stage of my boys development and I’m sure I’m going to be very proud of the men that they become.


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