Looking for home heating options advice?

If you have a mains gas supply to your home, your heating solution is usually fairly simple. But what if you don’t have gas?

It’s a common problem, and one which many of our clients are grappling with when they approach us for independent heating system advice.

What if I have no Mains Gas Supply?

So, how do we provide central and hot water heating to homes in rural areas with no access to a mains gas supply? Well, for a long time the industry standard has been to use oil. This has been mainly due to the lack of other attractive options. Namely, the high cost of gas bottles, the hassle factor of solid fuel, and the inefficiency and high cost of heating with electricity.

Why Oil May Not Be The Answer

However, oil has recently fallen out of favour. Many eco-savvy homeowners now see oil as a dirty, unsustainable fuel. It’s also now an expensive option which is made worse by the volatile oil market resulting in erratic price rises.

In addition, oil fired heating systems now gain negative ‘penalty’ points through the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). This is because oil has higher carbon emissions than gas. SAP has been put in place to prove that a new build complies with energy efficiency and carbon emission targets required and set out within Building Regulations in Part L. In basic terms, if your new build’s heating system is not efficient, it is difficult to gain building control approval. Unfortunately, the effect SAP has had, is that oil boiler manufactures have stopped research and development into more efficient burners and boilers, so compounding the effect. If oil-fired heating is now used in a new build, the amount of insulation required to offset the penalty points – nearly 20% penalty applied – adds extra cost and complexity to the building project.

Air and Ground Source Pumps

Fortunately, electrically powered heat sources have stepped up considerably in recent years. In the past, electric heating meant inefficient storage and radiant heaters. Now instead we have technically advanced air source heat pumps and ground source heat systems. Ground source heat pumps use the stored heat energy of the ground. Air source heat pumps use the ambient air temperature. Both systems work by warming a super cooled liquid. This works using gaseous exchange to provide heat – in a similar way that a fridge works. These units are not a new system, rather a refined technology that has been in use now for several years. If these units are used in conjunction with a well designed, and insulated house and with underfloor heating, they can be very efficient indeed.

Biomass Boilers

Another fuel which is making a comeback is wood. Not so much in the form of a standard wood burner, but with high efficient, and controllable biomass boilers. These are more suitable for larger properties with space to store the required stock of wooden pellets. They also have been around for many years, mainly in central Europe, where wood is plentiful. However biomass wood pellets are becoming more prevalent in the UK, and in some cases offer a viable alternative to electricity.

Government Grants

For air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and biomass boilers, there is also the benefit of the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. This government scheme rewards homeowners who invest in these systems with quarterly payments for seven years – a valuable bonus to help pay off the initial investment.

Get Independent Heating Advice

One important point is that if you are interested in using these new technologies, it is extremely important to get expert advice. Most suppliers will tell you that their systems are the best but unless you understand the technology it is difficult to make an informed decision. There have been issues with rogue sales people, and cowboy installers, leading to inappropriate heating systems being sold. This has unfortunately lead to some unsuitable installations with high running costs and poor results.

It’s important to remember that not all systems may be suitable or financially viable for your specific heating needs. As with most new technologies, getting the best technical advice is key. Make sure you work with a well-respected, independent company.

CLPM’s experts have over 25 years’ experience in the industry, and can help guide you through the decision process. We are not affiliated to any manufacturer, or installer, and so our advice is 100% independent. We’ll always treat you as an individual and will always put your best interests at the heart of what we do. It’s important to review the nature of your building, as well as you and your family’s lifestyle when advising on what heating system to install.

If you’d like some home heating options advice then get in touch. Call us on 01923 896550, email info@cl-pm.com or complete a contact form. 

CLPM Project Managers cover London, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, and West Sussex. Energy Consultancy and Cost Advice services available across the UK.