- Alternatives to LPG/bottled gas for central heating?
This has not been a cold winter. Especially not in the Sub-Tropical North West of England(tm).
But, in spite of careful usage, by god I’ve spent a fortune on bloody LPG gas to keep the central heating going. There is no mains gas in the village, and this was the heating system installed when we bought it 9 months ago. House is well insulated and I’m careful with the way the gas is used.
So, other than just extracting cash from the bank and burning it in the living room, what suggestions for more cost effective alternatives? Anything (sensible) considered..!Posted 7 years agomrmoMember
if your not on mains gas, your left with LPG either bottles or a big tank, I know our work are currently having issues because of wincanton drivers being on strike. Or you could go for fuel oil, would still need gas for your cooker though, assuming a gas hob, you could use wood, a back boiler on a stove or some other arrangement, and finally just use electricty, but that is not cheap.Posted 7 years agospeaker2animalsSubscriber
A lot of variables there in a house you have only lived in 9 months. The question is of course if you were to go to another system, or a supplementary system how much cheaper would the “new” fuel be (if at all of course) and what would the capital outlay be? Trying to be constructive here not negative even though it may look that way. One of my sisters had a log burning fire in their living room fitted 2 years ago after many years of not being able to get the living room to a comfortable (for them, little bit high at times for me) temp. The log burner is ace so much so that it has impacted on heating the adjoining room as unless it is REALLY cold they leave the door open between the 2 so that is two radiators turned off. Pity the house didn’t lend itself to incorporating the water heating too. The advantage they have though is my B-i-L is a Stores manager and has access to lots of pallets to use for fuel and he also seems very popular with a lot of his trade customers so quite often gets a load of wood or logs dropped off for free. So they have actually saved money on fuel. I’m just not so sure how much wood to burn would be if you didn’t have a free or at least low cost source.
Obviously electric central heating is a no no and as stated the village has no mains gas so you’re a bit stuck. I suspect that any other liquid/gaseous fuel by tanker will be of a similar price irrespective f what type but that is an assumption. So I can only suggest as above, some form of solid fuel heating, even if only to supplement CH in living room. Solar Panels to supplement water heating? Obviously any amount you can raise the temp of your water “for free” is an amount that you will not need to burn fuel to heat.
As said though it’s a question of capital investment /against operating costs.
Best of luck.Posted 7 years agobrassneckSubscriber
Last time I checked, oil was still a fair bit cheaper than LPG. Cost of conversion might be a problem though. You might still need the gas if you’re wedded to a gas hob, or factor in changing that to electric.Posted 7 years ago
Don’t fit storage heating, I’ve yet to find any that don’t require psychic powers or to be run full blast on the input all the time – else you end up with secondary heaing on to tide you over.
Woodburner is win though if possible, but tends to only keep 1 room warm in a largish house.
OK, to answer some questions:
1. 47kg bottled gas. We have a four bottle system (i.e. two pairs)
2. One bottle is £60 installed
3. We’re currently going through a pair in 7-10 days – I’m going to go back and plot our ordering/usage profile from when we moved in last April. Should give me a rough overall cost other than a £shedload.
Cooking is all electric. TBH, the kitchen doesn’t need to be done, so we’ll get used to that (used to have dual fuel range in last place – miss that).
OK, so it seems that a switch to, say, oil or even a larger tank version of LPG may not necessarily be efficient (after taking into account capital costs).
We’re already planning to have a log burner installed in the living room. Hope to do it later this year. However, currently no access to a cheap source of solid fuel – need to work on that.
Water heating – hot water is straight off the combi boiler (so no hot water tank). House is south-south-west facing – worth considering solar heating?Posted 7 years ago
Solar heating won’t add anything to your heating unless you use a buffer and even that is questionable if will add anything compared with the extra costs.
Your combi will need to be suitable for adding solar panels to it too.
Look at wood pellets, you may qualify for RHI payments. Can you use one if these instead of a wood burner?
Pellets are one of the cheapest if not the cheapest fuel per kW.Posted 7 years ago
Obviously I have a contact within the company as I have specified and installed their products, but they have been a great company to deal with so far and I hope to continue to work with them.
If you want someones no then mail me timATj-twren.eclipse.co.uk
Quite a good product that although isn’t cheap nor are wood burners and they only heat one room.Posted 7 years agobrassneckSubscriber
Let me see if I got this right:
2 bottles in 10 days = £120
If we assume that’s for just the coldest bits lets say 3 months = 90 days.
= 9 x £120 = £1080 for heating? Sound fair?
just paid the same for 500l as i paid for 1000l 3 1/2 years ago.
shame my income has’nt doubled as well!
Likewise, but it’s still not too bad when you consider the alternatives out in the sticks. Not even enough tourists to burn here 🙂 I don’t look at my old bills now, it’s depressing.
I paid around £100 less than the above calc for oil last year but I am fairly stingy in running the heating, and that was about the most I’ve paid in 5 years.. so it may come down to how long you intend to live there or how much value it adds to the house. I guess a 1000l oil tank would be no more space than 4 LPG bottles in floor space.
Interesting link Bear!Posted 7 years agonealgloverMember
You do seem to be using a lot of Gas, and paying a fair bit for it too.
We rented a two bed cottage with less than adequate insulation, although it did have good windows and doors. No cavity wall insulation and not much in the loft, nothing under the suspended floors etc.
We would use a pair of bottles every 4-5 weeks in winter.
And we were paying £49/bottle delivered (this was last winter. I think they charge £51 now?)Posted 7 years ago
If we assume that’s for just the coldest bits lets say 3 months = 90 days.
= 9 x £120 = £1080 for heating? Sound fair?
Small baby, and “nesh” Mrs North means that’s probaly 50% of what we would spend over 12 months. I’ll have an idea soon.
Part of it is the hassle of having to keep checking the bottles for when a pair has run out, as heavy usage means the 7 day period is cut down to much less. We were all ill in bed at the weekend and didn’t spot the changeover and were out of gas – and heating – for Tuesday day and night…Posted 7 years ago
so it may come down to how long you intend to live there or how much value it adds to the house. I guess a 1000l oil tank would be no more space than 4 LPG bottles in floor space.
I’m 35. I don’t intend to move. Ever.
I could make the space, but it would be disruptive externally (probably have to bury it – house goes side to side on plot). Or I could put it into the garage, but this will be a planning issue as it’s integral to the house with a bedroom above…).Posted 7 years agonickfMember
If you’re looking at wood as a realistic alternative, then remember that it’s a right PITA unless you’ve got something with enough capacity to keep burning through the night, ‘cos getting the house warm with a logburner from a standing start takes a bit of time.
You need a LOT of space, because your garden will be full of wood. The only way to run a log burner at a reasonable cost is to get zero (or very low) cost cord and process it yourself. A local golf club provided me with a good few tonnes for almost nothing, but it was large stuff, and I spend an average of 2 hours a week chainsawing and splitting. Plus you then have to season it for approx 1 year – less for softwood, much longer for hardwoods, and all made more complicated by how large your split logs are.Posted 7 years agoorange_cMember
To keep a multi fuel stove burning stove banked up overnight, you could try bark logs – they burn for 10 hours and a 240 log pack would last you all winter for overnight use – costs around £230. they also take up less space than the equivalent heat content of wood – seePosted 7 years agobajsyckelSubscriber
Am I missing something? The obvious path would seem… (1) Insulate everything until you think it’s taking the piss, and then some more. (2) Ensure air tightness is good (not ridiculous, but good). (3) Get a biomass fuel source (pellets, log boiler… depending on how you want to supply,use and control it) coupled to an accumulator tank
Those things, in that order of priority and you should be able to cut out gas/ oil reliance. 1 and 2 wont cost much, and pay for themselves quicker than anything else. The accumulator tank helps you to use biomass fuels efficiently and store heat for when you need it so you don’t have worries about burning through the night etc. Another benefit is that you can use the accumulator tank with multiple sources – your existing heating supply, or solar thermal (if suitable) to hedge your bets somewhat.Posted 7 years ago
Accumulators are over used, avoid if possible. They do not add efficency actually take it away, don’t be tempted to put a wood burner into it as can lower flue gas temps and cause flue problems. Why would you put solar thermal into it, you would need a huge bank of panels to heat a buffer, and not really gain much when you really need the heating.
Buffers and controls add money to the installation.
Be really careful of quoting figures can you back them up, prove them etc?
Only use air source on a really well insulated and air tight building coupled to underfloor, anything else is futile.Posted 7 years agoweeksySubscriber
You’re not actually using that much gas mate. Assuming it’s a village of the same size of mine, that makes a HUGE difference… my village is 4-6 deg colder in winter than where i work in Reading… the town and residual surrounding heat makes a vast difference.
We use the same system as you and the biggest factor has been getting the patio doors installed in UPVC and same for windows (in wood effect).
We have a wood burning stove and the last few days we’ve been flying through wood too,which at £70 for a load (lasts 8 weeks in winter) is getting expensive once you add on the gas we’re using too. It’s just something you have to put up with in villages and winter in old houses.
think of it this way… in the summer your house will be cool and nice… and you’ll be in a lovely village 🙂
We’ve just installed thermostatic valves in the bedrooms as our bedrooms were roasting but downstairs not so much, this should hopefully keep the gas costs lower.Posted 7 years agoPePPeRSubscriber
I’m in a village and had no heating in the house we moved into last Christmas. Sheesh it was cold! This summer I had the old chimney opened up and a 14Kw stove installed with a backboiler heating 9 radiators, and heats the hot water. So far this year we’ve gone through £200 of wood in 4 months and I’ve just ordered another £200= 4 M3. I reckon this will see us through the rest of winter so £400 for a season sounds pretty OK compared to what my friends are paying for Gas and Oil. My friend has a similar house in a similar village to mine and he’s paying £1200 a year for his heating oil, admittedly this heats his hot water as it’s a combi boiler but so far my heating is coping with this cold weather no problems and the house is now lovely and warm compared to last year.
Yes the back boiler takes some heating up but having lived in the house when it had no heating then it never ever gets as cold as it did then as the heat in the retained in the chimney still gives off plenty of heat and keeps the house much warmer than before.Posted 7 years ago
Baj – yes non automated solid fuel then yes – buffer vessel, but you need some room for one as I would want to heat an entire store with one load of logs so that you only fire the thing up once a day maximum. If you are trying to heat a buffer with something more like a wood burner it will struggle with a big volume of water, bearing in mind some buffers are up around the 5000 litres of water!
Pellet boilers can be much different, with the correct controls and system design they are fully automated.Posted 7 years ago
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