Heating Rural Poperties
You’re right about the fabric first approach – insulation, air-tightness, good windows are all very worth getting right.
After that, perhaps a thermal store fed by a back boiler on a wood burning stove, also fed by solar thermal collectors, also fed by the immersion (with PVs to supply a proportion of your electric) if the rest hasn’t got you the hot water you need.
A well designed heating and HW water system with short primary pipework, short dead legs to taps etc, well insulated pipes and the best possible insulation on your thermal store will minimise losses and make it as efficient and cheap to run as possible.Posted 4 years ago
LPG is horrendous there is a reason Calor will give you a boiler and a tank FOC
oil neednt be bad
Ive had both several times in rentals – always on modern boilers.
youll find most of the horror storys are still running v.old boilers/raeburns/agas im sure or are operating it like gas
Oil boiler should be a back up for your wood burner IMO. cold winter mornings and hot water.
we spend 600 quid a year on oil. and 150 quid a year on wood and we keep toasty. – 1950s 3bed semi on top of a hill in an exposed location north east scotland.
We do how ever have a programable timer thermostat (essential with oil) cavitywall insulation – 300mm loft insulation + insulated walls in the internal walls(not the roof) in the roof space where the bedrooms are. drylining on the gable end that gets hammered by the wind – fitted blinds and curtains , double glazing and underfloor insulation. – makes a huge difference – can heat the whole house with the woodburner.
dont think it will be like a new build house and that you cannot use oil heating on low all the time to keep a base line – youll heamorage oil.
qwerty – this is not the case. 3ft thick walls suck ALOT of heat out the room – ive lived in a modernly restored cottage – 2005 it was done to latest regs and still it took 2 or 3 days to get it comfortable place to be without the heating being on all the time – the stone just had to get warmed up.
Im all for solar thermal but solar PV im not so sold on – the life time maths doesnt add up for me yet. Solar thermal i intend to add later when i do the extension – stick in a thermal store and hook it all up. I speced my boiler with this in mind.Posted 4 years ago
£2k+ is possible – it depends if you’re a hot house flower or not though. We have a largish 4/5 bed detached house built in the 50’s (it has cavity walls and DG now) and we’re on oil heating. I’ve just bought 1500l of oil for £870 which should see us through to about Feb or March so no more than £1500/year for us.
We have two stoves, one at each end of the house, and if they’re running together they heat most of downstairs with a bit getting upstairs (but our staircase is fairly closed off so there’s no big hole in the downstairs ceiling for the heat to go up.
So a stove can help a lot but it depends on the layout and size of the house. The more open plan a house is the better a stove will heat it.
My sister had a house that had LPG heating and she said it was a shocker for costs. I think you may be better with oil as at least there’s some competition in pricing and seasonal fluctuations, but political instability also hits the pricing as well.
Obviously insulation is key.
Edit: Hot water costs peanuts [comparatively] to produce using oil so think hard about spending big money on alternative methods of water heating. We have a 4kw solar PV as well and it certainly helps with the leccy bill but it’s main benefit is the FIT which now isn’t as attractive.Posted 4 years agojambalayaSubscriber
As trail rat says. My parents live in a fairly rural location in an older and not so well built property. Get a wood burner and use that to heat the main room (plus water ?), there is a reason country kitchens were always the centre of the household, they where warm. If possible organise a large kitchen/diner and plan to be in there a lot. Parents also have economy 7 night storage heaters, these take the worst of the chill off. Plenty of blankets etc upstairs and forget the days when you used to walk around in shorts in the winter 😉Posted 4 years ago
Since the beginning of summer, I think I’ve consumed no more than about £20 worth of pellet fuel. I will probably burn less than a ton of pellets a year (£250). CH isnt on yet as the well insulated barn can be heated pretty effectively just with the wood burner going full chat. But hot water has been provided by my own wood when the solar thermal hasnt managed it. Although my own wood has a very small cost, the annual “depreciation” of the boiler and solar thermal kit works out at about £10k/30 + £2k/15 so about £400 a year. Compared to say an oil boiler with a 20yr life at £100 a year.Posted 4 years ago
If possible organise a large kitchen/diner and plan to be in there a lot.
^ this. One end of our house has the ‘snug’, kitchen/diner and access to upstairs in a line and the stove in the snug heats that end of the house well. If it’s properly chilly we sometimes retreat into this end and effectively shut off the rest of downstairs. But having a stove in the living room at the other end has changed that somewhat.Posted 4 years ago
it also depends on who’s living there. We have 3 girls who are now 13 and 11 so fitting everybody into the snug is getting tricky as we just need more space as they get bigger.
we are in design stages of doing something similar sharkbait – means another stove for me 😀
that said – close the living room door and you can get the livingroom up to 26 degrees without any effort with just the stove.
backboilers on your stove + radiators didnt make sense to me – unless you work from home and can keep it running alot- otherwise the whole system acts as a heatsink and you lose the instant heat benifits of the stovePosted 4 years agomatt_outandaboutSubscriber
As above, fabric route first. Have the thickest, most insulated curtains you can. And then more insulation.Posted 4 years ago
Then look at how you heat cheaply and efficiently, with control.
Also do not write of simple additions such as a draft lobby (porch!) to outside doors, shelter belt planting to cut wind but allow sunshine through, how much a (sun facing) sunroom/dryingroom/trombe wall) can add etc etc.
you say that about hotwater sharkbait but most of my leccy bill(besides the standing charge) is indirectly heating water – IE the dishwasher , the shower and the washing machine – all of the above would be plumbed into the hot store (the electric shower would be thrown to hell anyway for a thermostatic mixer.
house costs 1pence an hour to run static (fridge freezer and cooker clock etc) – and about 50-60p a day to run normal living it seems – biggest drain are the 2 outside security lights which justify them selves in waking me up when the pikeys take a wander round the garden – shining them back on your windows has its merits.Posted 4 years agoflowerpowerMember
1850’s Cottage here – I have one of the horrendous LPG bills that you have heard of.
But it has been helped a lot by (as above) replacing windows, creating a snug and shutting off the larger living room when not needed, using the two log burners more and the heating less, putting up thick curtains over the drafty front door.
Problems for me are – the first floor is very much under the eaves and so leaves little room for additional insulation. One of the wood burners is situated in a recessed fireplace, so heats the wall rather than the air.Posted 4 years agoCaptainSlowMember
Looking at leaving my nice efficient semi-rural newish build and moving further into the countryside where there’s no mains gas. A couple of places have had either LPG or oil fired central heating/water.
I understand that oil/LPG are very expensive. Perhaps if I listen to some horror stories 2-3K per year at current prices?
What other options exist?
I’m thinking insulate etc then solar to power an immersion heater and wood burner but after that ideas dry up.Posted 4 years ago
For around £700 you can fit a DIY solar water heating system, heating the incoming mains water in a secondary HW cylinder plumbed in tandem with your main cylinder or even running through a second coil in your main cylinder. In summer this heats our incoming water to the high 50s and sometimes to 60, meaning the boiler has almost no work to do and in other seasons it achieves 15 – 30 degrees, which must help. My recommendation is to fit a second cyclinder in tandem so that you are extracting the most benefit from the panel before the boiler gets a chance to heat the water.
PM me if you want details of the supplier of the equipment and a slideshow of how I did it.Posted 4 years ago
t_r – speak to these guys as well
(In fact I think globalti is where I got their name from in the first place)
They are the ones I used to supply my kit.
EDIT: check out the ideas in the bottom section of this pagePosted 4 years ago
sorted – thats what i want to do – i even have the perfect space for the tank 😀Posted 4 years agoCaptainSlowMember
Thanks for the input folks – some interesting ideas here that shouldn’t break the bank to implement.
Only downside is that the house does need to be fairly warm for my wife but I think the snug or wood burner in the living room sorts that and the CH of whatever type on a timer and thermostat for the in between periods.
I work from home quite a lot so think a mix of solar and PV is probably the answer.
Haven’t decided yet what we’ll go for, we may stay in the current village in a modern house (90s/00s) and add a wood burner / solar or go rural. There’s a lot to be said for knocking off time on the school run etc.Posted 4 years ago
First world problem but it is getting on me mooobs a bit.woody2000Subscriber
Some friends of mine have moved into a barn conversion which has a lot of open space inside. They’re using an air source heat pump to heat the water and house. They couldn’t install solar due to planning regs. It’s pretty impressive, works down to about -15 apparently. Wasn’t cheap though!Posted 4 years ago
a £700 system would include 1x 20 tube array.
That can collect, say, 3sqm of solar energy, so peak of about 10-15 kWh in a day or averaging 12kWh a day over May-August.
The average family household uses around 20kWh of hot water a day (2 adults, 2 kids, showers/baths etc)
If oil is your alternative that would v v v roughly be around 7p x 12 x 5 x 30 = £125 saving per year.Posted 4 years ago
If electricity is your alternative hot water heating source, then that is more like £215 a year.
good info stoner.
will have to look into the positioning of stuff for practicality
currently thinking – pressured tank where the old cold water tank lived with a direct tubing system to minimise the chances of really screwing things up with antifreeze getting into the water system. – with piping down to a towel rail in the bathroom to use it as a heatsink then plumbing the outlet to the boiler – going to the washingmachine/dishwasher on the way.Posted 4 years ago
Here’s the link to my post about it on DIYnot.com:Posted 4 years ago
Are you asking me?
Why on earth should the “element” split? It’s a standard copper coil immersed in cooler water inside a standard copper cylinder; how often do you hear about these splitting? If it did, I’m sure the smell of glycol in the hot water would alert us as well as the control panel and the dropping fluid level in my sight glass on the header tank. The header tank doesn’t have a ballcock because I couldn’t be bothered to fit one and in the three years it’s been running I’ve had to top up the fluid level precisely zero times because the fluid doesn’t evaporate past the tight-fitting lid. Have a look at the pics on my slide show and you’ll see what I mean – I’m quite proud of my sight glass made from 15mm perspex tube.Posted 4 years ago
I also work abroad for two weeks at a time, but the thought of a leak is very low in my list of concerns while I’m away! The system only contains a few litres of water with 25% car antifreeze so even if it did spring a leak and Mrs Gti failed to notice the smell and the blue tinge to the hot water, it would merely drain down as far as the level in the hot water F&E tank a couple of feet below and then go nowhere.
At that dilution a bit of glycol wouldn’t do anybody any harm anyway. It might even make her hair shinier!Posted 4 years agoBearMember
I have replaced many cylinders with split coils so not unheard of by any means.
A SS cylinder would be advisable to help prevent this, but SS is not so good at heat transfer.
WORS – if you have natural gas then don’t even bother to think of a biomass system (unless you are up in the 100kw range).Posted 4 years ago
Does it have 3′ thick walls & a wood burner? These would keep you warm.
I can only conclude you’ve never lived in somewhere with 3′ thick walls and no insulation.
As our Architect said when we were looking at a re-build, you can use stone, but you’ll still need the equivalent insulation as if there was no stone and only a simple weather-proof outer ‘layer’.Posted 4 years ago
Also don’t assume that just ‘cos others costs are ‘x’, that yours will be.
I’ve just bought 1500l of oil for £870
Cheapest price for us was £610 for 1000l, so £915 for 1500l, and we use about 10l per day…
We’re north of Stoner and the like, by about 400 miles – so nearer 5c lower temps all-round.
And as far as hot water goes, just install a simple electric shower – they are all of £100 max and it’s always ‘on’.Posted 4 years agoAlexSubscriber
Similar issues when we moved here 5 years ago. No gas, LPG tank buried in the garden, Storage heaters doing nothing to warm up a house full of drafts. Our first electricity bill was eye watering and it was still flipping cold.
We ended up with a ground source system from NuHeat. We already knew we were digging up the garden anyway and laying new floors so adding 300m of G/S piping and ‘oh-gawd-when-is-it-going-to-end’ diffusers/insulation/pipes was a given.
It has been brilliant. Powers underfloor heating downstairs and radiators upstairs plus providing mains pressure hot water. We bought what can only be described as a scud missile as part of the system which’ll take a solar feed. That’s next years project.
Electricity bill is 50% of what it was and the house is toasty. WE did insulate everything tho including all of the roof space.
Stoner’s way ahead of us tho. He’s got a solar array 🙂Posted 4 years ago
That’s next years project.
Alex – give me a call when you want to do it then! NO chickening out and giving Nuheat loads of cash to do it now 🙂
wors – as Bear says, really if you’re on mains gas you shouldnt be considering anything else. YOu have a reliable low cost fuel supply. If anything Id be in investigating combined heat and power from the gas as a way of reducing elec bills.
But FYI, my boiler list price is about £7k, the thermal store £3k and allow about £1k for installation and ancilliaries. My sollar collection cost me 2k to install, but that’s for a large array (60 tubes) and I dont have the cost of a tank as there is already a solar coil in my thermal store.
I expect to see at least 30 yrs life out of the boiler, 15yrs out of the burner, and 15-20 yrs out of the solar collector, and 20-30yrs out of the thermal store as a minimum. I may well get more.Posted 4 years ago
Dont you have an aga or something though br ?
Yep, which is why we’ve a high-burn. Also creates all the hot water we could ever use. Only this an a front-room stove.
The key thing we did was tear down all the internal ground-floor walls, so there is really just one ‘space’ to heat – plus put in vestibules, new doors and sorted out the insulation.Posted 4 years ago
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