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.

Residential-Heat-Pump

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.

The ‘Swap January’ #AldiChallenge

I’m a keen bargain hunter, I hate waste and don’t pay more for anything than I absolutly have too. Some would call me a cheapskate however I prefer the term frugal. When one of the PR companies dealing with the Aldi health and beauty ranges got in touch and asked if I’d try out some products as part of the Swap January challenge however I was dubious. I’m a bit funny about what health and beauty products I’ll use and generally speaking believed that in this department you get what you pay for.

I was wrong.

January is now over and the products I’d been sent have been very well tested and I have to say they are as good as, if not better than the more expensive non-Aldi alternatives I’ve been using to date.

Swap January from Aldi

 

The items I was sent included:

  • Lacura Expert Day and Night Cream, (RRP £3.99 each). These were real winners for me. I pay three times that amount for my creams (over three times actually) and the results are identical.
  • Lacura Roll on Deodorant – I don’t use roll-on usually however did for the purpose of testing out products and found this fine. At 59p it is considerably cheaper than the roll-on brands I would usually have chosen if roll-on was my thing.
  • Lacura 3 in 1 Facial Wipes – These are another great find. These are wipes which do more than tickle the skin, they offer a really good wet cleanse and one wipe is more than enough. At 89p (ridiculously cheap in my opinion) I would stock up on these.
  • Carino Hairspray – I pay nearly £2 for the same sized container and this worked much better at taming curls without that awful crispy feeling you get with some cheaper hairsprays. I’ve been robbed!
  • Lacura Cotton Buds – a bud is a bud in my humble opinion however I’ve been paying £1 for a container with approximately a third less in it. The Aldi option is most definitely the cheaper version and it would last longer.
  • Carino Shampoo and Conditioner – at 65p these are great. For everyday family use and 35p cheaper a bottle than my local supermarket’s closest alternative these are a fab price.
  • AquaV KickStart Shower Gel – 69p. This is absolutely lush! I was sent a honey and shea butter scented shower gel and the whole family loved it. My local supermarket’s cheapest shower gels are £1 rrp each and no-where near as nice.
  • The Lacura Q10 Daily Face Cream – £1.49, I’ve not tested this as much as the others as have been using the Expert Day and Night Cream however it seems on par with similar I’ve bought in the past at three or four times the price for the same size.

What can I say other than in my eyes this Swap January test was a big win with me. Sadly I don’t have an Aldi near to me so this was a real blind trial however it has certainly made me look differently at brands and whether or not it’s necessary to pay over the odds when there are clearly cheaper versions which are just as good if not better.

Have you used Aldi’s health and beauty products? What do you think?

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