Help! Independent heating advice?

Db990

Member
Hi, I’m trying to help my parents with updating their heating. It’s an old farmhouse, poorly insulated and only has storage heaters and a stove in at the moment. Although they do have solar panels. It’s cold and damp through the winter and costing a fortune in electric.

I really don’t know what to advise them to do, they dont have a big budget so need value for money. Apparently there are grants for ground source, air source and bio mass boilers. But without major work to insulate I’m not sure how good these options are. Can anyone recommend someone independent near Cumbria who will come out and give good advice on what to do?
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
well ground, air or biomass are all going to require major work almost gutting the property to install pipework and radiators... any of the three will cost a fortune to run without an equal investment in insulation and draft proofiing. Sadly there are few ways to make an old farmhouse warm, dry and economical without spending a big dollop of cash up front.

The grant funding seem to have largely dried up but some might qualify under ECO?


or a local scheme


I fear warm and dry might come at the cost of selling off a couple of acres but one only lives once.... if it is an option why suffer living a lifetime of cold and damp to hold on to a corner of land which may ultimately fund ones offspring's divorce lawer's all inclusive trip to the Maldives...
 

HatsOff

Member
Mixed Farmer
Likely need to do roof insulation and put in proper doors/windows first (but if sealing up you'll need to allow for ventilation i.e. trickle vents and extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom).

If the walls are 9" thick then they'll need insulation, but if it's a thick 18" wall, so long as there aren't damp, then they won't be losing much heat.

From what I have seen, for old and large houses it's hard to beat biomass. Automatic pellet boiler for central heating and hot water, with log burners for space heating. But it's not cheap.
 

paulthefarm

New Member
Unless you are prepared for major capital investment I would sadly avoid any electrical based heating of the ground or air source variety. I have the same problem with tenanted properties that have oil burner boilers for CH/HW but cannot find a reasonably priced alternative even though I would love to have a lower carbon impact. It is impossible to increase rents on tenanted property when the tenants are on a fixed income i.e. pension to help pay for these alternatives.

Ideas would also be very wellcome.
 

rogeriko

Member
Price of different energy sources per Kilowatt. Dont forget electricity has almost doubled since this chart.

Energy Cost Comparison.jpg
 

rollestonpark

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Burton on trent
If you/they are already used to messing about with logs etc...
Maybe a boiler stove?
Still going to require major surgery on the house to put in central heating network. So I'd have to say insulate whilst doing it...

My sister has had a boiler stove in some years and there has been a few lessons to be learnt.
So for you and others considering 1 here you are:

Flue runs quite cold (due to heat exchange with the water), so the flue gets hard black tar in it and blocks.
So either have the flue on the outside of the house or make sure it's straight and easy to sweep and a VERY well insulated flue.

Have a buffer tank (big as possible), so you burn hard and hot, else you'll have the water in the radiators at 100c and boiling and the flue gets dirty quick.
If having an oil boiler in the system as well, make sure it has easy control to switch off when you light the stove.

But it has worked well for them on a new/rebuild. Just a pity they have no buffer and the flue blocks (after a bit)
 

renewablejohn

Member
Location
lancs
Insulate and get rid of all the draughts then change the stove for an external air boiler stove and it should easily run enough radiators and heat the hot water. Also think of a MVHR to remove the condensation whilst retaining the heat.
Make sure you get the right sort of stove with the combustion area separate to the boiler as you want combustion to be at high temperature for better efficiency.
 

Db990

Member
Thanks for the advice everyone, it looks like it’s going to require major work if they want to upgrade. Does anyone know of any company’s that will come out and asses house?
 

Chickcatcher

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
SG9
@Db990 at the beginning you mention they are using a lot of electricity, do you/they actually know how many Kw a year.
I have a recently highly insulated 1911 built 3 bed, 2 en suite and a bathroom with a single story large entrance, kitchen and hall way, last year I used 13400Kw and its all Electric with air source heat pump. My usage of Power/heat is nearly average according to Ofgem.
 

Exfarmer

Member
Location
Bury St Edmunds
ASHP is a total nightmare, the average may be 8.56p but this is an average cost per Kwh over the year. However heat recovery varies from about 7x to 1x summer to winter.
however this ignores the fft most of heating is in the winter where recovery is actually nett so cost per Kwh is the quoted 23+ P per Kwh
 

Chickcatcher

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
SG9
I would love to see one of these bills for the UK where in Total the Electric cost works out at less than 15P/Kw.
I am perhaps one of the few that are still working on an Electric contract 17 months into a 36 month contract. and my total costs are 16.7p/Kw on 13,700Kw 1st November to 31st October 2021.
 

Exfarmer

Member
Location
Bury St Edmunds
How much electricity do the panels supply?
There are all sorts of heat pumps etc that can be chosen, but I think if I was to put a system in and I had panels producing plenty of electric, I would put an electric boiler is running 2 hot water cylinders.
It may not be the most efficient compared to a heat pump, but it’s so much cheaper and simple.
You missed out the most important last few words - but the most expensive to run by far!
 

Hampton

Member
BASIS
Location
Shropshire
You missed out the most important last few words - but the most expensive to run by far!
yes, to be fair, I misread the opening post.
this is going to be expensive however they do it, but i would either:
1) insulate and stick to storage heaters and log burners
Or
2) biomass boiler using wood around the farm and hopefully just heat the house so warm you never need to worry about damp etc again
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
Insulation, double glazing and draught proofing are the first major steps to take.
I just put 50mm insulation on the inside of all external walls in my ancient, cold and draughty farmhouse. I also fitted double glazing and insulated the loft with a generous amount.
House now runs entirely on a log fired range cooker in the kitchen/diner and a 5 kW log burner in the living room, temperature wise you can comfortably sit in your underpants should you wish to. We do have a new oil boiler too that goes on whenever the fire hasn't been lit but that isn't often. Been in almost a year now and haven't bought more oil yet. We do burn a lot of logs which could be a problem for your parents depending on how fit and well they are. The deal in this house is I will always make sure there are dry logs, missus can burn as many as she likes.

Insulation should be the priority.
 

Db990

Member
Likely need to do roof insulation and put in proper doors/windows first (but if sealing up you'll need to allow for ventilation i.e. trickle vents and extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom).

If the walls are 9" thick then they'll need insulation, but if it's a thick 18" wall, so long as there aren't damp, then they won't be losing much heat.

From what I have seen, for old and large houses it's hard to beat biomass. Automatic pellet boiler for central heating and hot water, with log burners for space heating. But it's not cheap.
The walls will be around 18” thick. So would you say these should give enough insulation? All the windows are old sash windows and single glazed so I guess they will let out a lot of heat
 

Db990

Member
@Db990 at the beginning you mention they are using a lot of electricity, do you/they actually know how many Kw a year.
I have a recently highly insulated 1911 built 3 bed, 2 en suite and a bathroom with a single story large entrance, kitchen and hall way, last year I used 13400Kw and its all Electric with air source heat pump. My usage of Power/heat is nearly average according to Ofgem.
I don’t know to be honest. I was there tonight and the smart meter was reading over £10 for the day but I’m sure it’s not that high normally
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

court-640x360.jpg
A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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