Jump to content


ebuild is sad to announce its closure - it has become too time and resource intensive to develop, manage and maintain.

However, ebuild will remain on-line in archive mode (ie no posting facilties) for several weeks so that users can use it as an information resource.

Heating Confusion


  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1 Hoops

Hoops

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 03:37 PM

Hi I have been extremely fortunate in that I have been afforded the opportunity to build in my mothers garden. My wife and I are keen to get the property right first time and one of the most confusing things has been the choice of heating. We are using a timber frame and under-floor heating is our preferred choice of main heating. We have wavered between an air source heat pump and gas boiler and at the moment we are leaning toward the pump. A side issue of this is that the good lady wife would like a focal point fire and when we were going to use gas this was straight-forward. We have a plentiful supply of wood and so thought that a wood burner would be a natural choice. Having read some of the blogs on this site and others this seems to be a fairly complicated issue with the fires being a little too powerful and an unnecessary expense. Would love to hear some thoughts and similar experiences.
Cheers Leigh.

#2 JonoMarshall

JonoMarshall

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 03:52 PM

Do you have any idea of what your heating demand might be?

We've abandoned a wood burner as it would be far too powerful for our needs and doesn't align with our ambitions for the build (low energy, simple, etc).

We plan on putting a fire pit in the garden for special occasions and briefly looked into faux fires before deciding they were a little naff.

Edited by JonoMarshall, 25 February 2016 - 09:56 AM.


#3 gravelld

gravelld

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 655 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 04:22 PM

Agree, and before that decide what you want your goals to be - you said you want a fire, well that's fine, but what else? Adding a stove is a kind of a constraint - if you want a high performance build it may be a compromise and you may find yourself having to improve things in other areas to compensate. And it might dictate the type of stove you get (not just output, also whether it's room sealed, which I think should be the only type allowed... anyway...).

#4 Hoops

Hoops

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 04:27 PM

The fire is really just a feature thing as the heating should be taken care of by the UFH. I agree about the faux fire thing as we have looked at electric ones and they just don't look effective. Mind you paying thousands to put in a log burner which is never lit seems an extravagance especially as the effect of a black hole with logs in isn't quite what we imagine!

#5 Hoops

Hoops

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 04:35 PM

Whilst we are on the subject of heating demand does anyone out there have any ideas about upstairs UFH as we are building a dormer bungalow with vaulted ceilings upstairs. The general opinion of the heating suppliers I have spoken to is that it is a lot less effective in the first floor and radiators or even putting in the pipework for rads and waiting to see how warm the house is may be the best option.

#6 gravelld

gravelld

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 655 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 04:52 PM

It really depends on what you want your heating demand to be. It is a choice or a design decision, hence my previous post!

See http://www.ebuild.co...ting +checklist

Edited by gravelld, 24 February 2016 - 04:54 PM.


#7 Mikey1980

Mikey1980

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 331 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 05:02 PM

Our heating demand will be minimal but the draw of a real fire was something that SWMBO wouldn't comprimise on after touring the country looking at Electric and Bio-Ethanol fires. If you are looking at buiding a low energy house it will cost £1000's to build in a stove that won't comprimise what you are trying to achive and will be potentially be usable, I won't know until next winter I guess but it will be the feature that was wanted.

#8 AliG

AliG

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 271 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 07:38 PM

I have put hours of work into the fires issue.

I am having one ethanol fire as it was the only way to have a large fire with a low heat output.

If you fancy a stove, Stovax make a range of gas stoves with 2-3kw outputs. They can also have rear exit flues which save considerably versus long vertical flues. You should be able to get one installed all in for less than £2000. I too discounted electric fires as too fake and decided that wood burners would have too high an output and were less easy to control. I decided that even 2-3kw may be too high an output but I am willing to risk it, they will be in very large rooms.

An ASHP is unlikely to be cheaper to run than gas especially for heating hot water also which reduces the COP. It depends to some extent on your heating needs, but the much higher cost of electricity than gas offsets the higher efficiency.

#9 vijay

vijay

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 413 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 07:49 PM

I originally was going for an ASHP but after reading various posts on here, the way I looked at it is if gas is available, how many years worth of gas would an ASHP cost. Get the house fabric right and your heat requirement will hopefully be a lot less than you might think (and I'm still getting my head around that), so gas is the way to go for me at the price of an ASHP

#10 Hoops

Hoops

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 08:21 PM

We do have mains gas on site. My dilemma is that to meet the SAP requirements I have to install a PV array as well and with the current feed in tariff situation the ASHP was becoming more cost effective especially with the potential to claim back a big chunk of money via the RHI scheme. My main concern with the Heat pump is whether I would need to supplement the hot water demand by using cold feed appliances and showers etc. Also the solar will I suppose reap benefits either way if used properly. I feel like I am yo-yoing back and forth and every time I think I have made a decision someone mentions a drawback or positive that I hadn't thought of. Ultimately without specialist knowledge the local guys who I have earmarked for the build are more comfortable with the traditional gas. It seems to be difficult to get an unbiased comparison between the two options as suppliers always have a vested interest in promoting their own product. Can anyone who has used both tell me the pros and cons?

#11 Hoops

Hoops

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 08:29 PM

View PostMikey1980, on 24 February 2016 - 05:02 PM, said:

Our heating demand will be minimal but the draw of a real fire was something that SWMBO wouldn't comprimise on after touring the country looking at Electric and Bio-Ethanol fires. If you are looking at buiding a low energy house it will cost £1000's to build in a stove that won't comprimise what you are trying to achive and will be potentially be usable, I won't know until next winter I guess but it will be the feature that was wanted.
So what fire did you settle on in the end?

#12 Mikey1980

Mikey1980

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 331 posts

Posted 24 February 2016 - 08:39 PM

We have gone for an HWAM 2630 stove, it is electonically controlled you load the wood, start the fire and set the remote stat at the room temperature you require and it controls the burn automatically for you and when it meeds more wood it beeps to let you know that it is time to reload.

On paper it sounds good and the stove installer has installed a couple in low energy homes.

#13 cjard

cjard

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 292 posts

Posted 25 February 2016 - 06:29 AM

*
POPULAR

View PostHoops, on 24 February 2016 - 08:21 PM, said:

We do have mains gas on site. My dilemma is that to meet the SAP requirements I have to install a PV array as well and with the current feed in tariff situation the ASHP was becoming more cost effective especially with the potential to claim back a big chunk of money via the RHI scheme.
If you build anything like an energy efficient, well insulated house, you won't be claiming back a large chunk of money via the RHi

Unlikely that, in the times you actually need heating (winter), the PV array will make a meaningful contribution to running the ASHP


If you're on the gas grid, use it and focus on using as little of it as possible. The answer to the energy problems of the future lies not in using more "renewables", but using less energy

Might also need to work really hard on getting the wife to drop the "cave must have fire" thinking. Occasionally romantic, but predominantly prehistoric, messy, smelly, antisocial and carcinogenic. I don't have anything against them specifically, but they don't really have a place in the home you're looking to create

#14 SteamyTea

SteamyTea

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4,322 posts
  • LocationCornwall

Posted 25 February 2016 - 07:28 AM

Really just a case of putting a kWh/year price on the different technologies and running it though a spreadsheet.
As you are doing a new build, PV is a no brainer, it can be cheaper than a roof.
Try not to get hung up on the FiT and RHI rates, they are purposely low to encourage the renewable industry to become competitive with fossil fuel alternatives.
What we do know is that fossil fuel prices will go up again, which also puts the price of electricity up. We also know that we are not getting any new nuclear or coal fired generation in the foreseeable future (I think EDF will back out of Hinkley in June or July).
So this leaves gas, which there is plenty of it.

I would forget the fireplace, it will just be a cold lump of iron that sits in the room. Use the money you save to go to a pub with a fire, think of it as free alcohol.
If you do a search on here you will find that all your questions have been answered, takes a bit of hunting around though.

As other have said, estimate your energy usage first, then find the technology to suit.

#15 jsharris

jsharris

    Please ignore all posts by me, some are erroneous

  • Member Blogger
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 11,461 posts
  • LocationWiltshire/Dorset border

Posted 25 February 2016 - 08:17 AM

I do know that many people struggle with the concept of a house that need very little, or no, heating. I certainly did, and it wasn't until our house was built that I realised just how stupid I'd been to ignore what the heat loss calculations were telling me.

The only comforting factor is that I'm not alone. We had an open day and one lady who visited had completed a house to a similar (just slightly poorer) insulation and airtightness specification to our own. Against the advice from the builder she fitted the smallest available room-sealed wood burning stove in the living room (I'm pretty sure it was one of the tiny ones made for canal boats, with a room seal kit). She lit it the Christmas before last for the first (and only) time. Shortly after lighting it the temperature in the room became too hot for anyone to stay in it. They had to open all the windows and retire to the kitchen until the stove had burned itself out. She's never used it since, as it puts out far more heat than the whole house needs even in the very coldest weather we ever get (although she's a few miles away in Hampshire, so probably doesn't get weather as cold as we get on the Southern edge of Salisbury Plain).

At a guess, our house need barely more than 500 W of heat on the very coldest days, and much of that comes from the occupants and incidental heat lost from appliances. The heating only needs to come on for an hour or so every few days, and even now we are getting house over-heating by late afternoon n sunny days, with no heating at all. I've had the air cooling and floor cooling come on a couple of times this week when the house has got over 23 deg C from just a bit of low-angle sunshine.

Edited by jsharris, 25 February 2016 - 08:18 AM.


#16 Hoops

Hoops

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 25 February 2016 - 04:05 PM

Thank you gentlemen for the input, I think the £5000 to fit a fire will contribute nicely to the build in general and after reciting these posts to SWMBO she is getting the idea. As we are in Cornwall extremes of temperature are very rare, I just seem to be going round in circles with the gas or no gas issue. I don't actually know anyone who has fitted an ASHP but I am hoping to visit one of the customers of the local firm who are trying to convince me of its merit and see what the people who are using it think. Also thanks to Mr Harris for the abundance of information, albeit a little technical in parts for me, it has certainly given me a lot of food for thought.
The PV array is going up anyway as that was already specified to bring the SAP calculation up with the gas central heating.

#17 gravelld

gravelld

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 655 posts

Posted 25 February 2016 - 04:08 PM

But if you have had a SAP done doesn't that imply you already have "designed for" heat loss calcs done?

#18 SteamyTea

SteamyTea

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4,322 posts
  • LocationCornwall

Posted 25 February 2016 - 04:21 PM

View PostHoops, on 25 February 2016 - 04:05 PM, said:

I don't actually know anyone who has fitted an ASHP but I am hoping to visit one of the customers of the local firm who are trying to convince me of its merit and see what the people who are using it think.
A lot of the social housing down here has them. I noticed that the new places at Sennen have nice shiny ones outside.
A friend of mine did a large survey about ASHP and what people thought of them. Most did not have a clue what he was talking about, even though they used them.
May I ask who this local firm is, you can PM if you want.

#19 Hoops

Hoops

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 25 February 2016 - 04:22 PM

View Postgravelld, on 25 February 2016 - 04:08 PM, said:

But if you have had a SAP done doesn't that imply you already have "designed for" heat loss calcs done?
I presume so, just that the heating people I have gone to for quotes have muddied the waters somewhat by saying that the ASHP would exceed what had already been worked out and why don't I consider this as it works well with UFH.]

#20 Hoops

Hoops

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 25 February 2016 - 04:24 PM

Steamy tea, the firm is Greengen at Helston. Young chap seemed very knowledgeable.