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Check out Richard’s experience and what he had to say after we installed his Air Source Heat Pump

After moving into his new home in the summer of 2020, Richard wanted to modernise his new property as far as possible without changing its character. The heating system was a major project, and with the energy type and efficiency being uppermost in mind, he opted for an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP). Knowing that he wanted to future-proof the building and being an active environmentalist with an awareness to move away from fossil fuels, he concluded that, if you have the money, it was a no-brainer!

Richards’s Motivation:

His new home is a converted stable block situated in the heart of the beautiful New Forest, Hampshire. The original parts of the building date from 1890, and there have been several extensions and alterations to the property from the late 1960s to the early 2000s. It has no mains gas supply and had an oil-fired heating system.

After exploring many options, the seemingly main alternative was an ASHP.

With Richard’s passion for eco-friendly products, proudly being the first person in the New Forest to have installed solar panels on his property and his willingness to try new ideas that are environmentally positive, he took the plunge.

Although nervous about his recent decision, which he found was met with a mixture of positive and negative comments over the switch to a more energy-efficient solution. He states in his recent personal blog that “Woodhouse Environmental Services were great at providing reassurance and lots of facts and figures to prove what I was doing made sense.”

With support from a few of his friends who had also installed ASHPs in their homes and were delighted with their choice, it reassured him he was doing the right thing.
Richard’s Experience:

The Air Source Heat Pump Installation

“Any major work in a house is disruptive, and this was no exception. All the radiators were replaced; the hot water tank was renewed (an unvented cylinder was put in which gives mains pressure hot water, so no shower pump needed nor cold water tanks in the loft – brilliant!), and of course, the boiler was removed.

All this was done in 10 days and followed by one more day of disruption when cavity wall insulation was pumped in.

Throughout this experience, I found myself on a steep learning curve.”

The main points of note were:

  • It’s a different type of approach to standard boilers. The ASHP is left on 24/7, turning the thermostat down a little at night. The house is always warm.
  • The hot water is not as scalding as before, but it’s perfect for showers and baths, and if hotter washing-up water is needed, it’s much more economical to boil a kettle. Why do we keep our hot water at 60 degrees and then cool it down for baths, showers and washing up?
  • The radiators don’t get as hot as before, but they keep the rooms warm because it’s a constant heating system.
  • There is no condensation on the windows as the house temperature doesn’t vary much. I always used to switch off the heating at night and then crank it up at breakfast to stop everyone from shivering.
  • There were some teething troubles with the frost protection system. The heating pump constantly ran when the temperature was below 5 degrees. This was noisy at night and a waste of energy. The problem was cured by adding antifreeze to the water in the radiators
  • The ASHP can’t do heating and hot water simultaneously, so there are occasions when the room heating stops to let the hot water heat.
  • The cost of running the system was about 1/3 that of the oil-fired system

Richards Conclusion

“I’m very happy with my decision and now thoroughly appreciate the holistic approach to system design adopted by Woodhouse Environmental. You can’t just rip out a boiler and replace it with an ASHP and expect it to work satisfactorily. The government scheme to help with boiler replacement (the Boiler Upgrade Scheme – BUS) gives a contribution of £5k to householders, but unless they are lucky, they will have to spend a lot more to optimise their homes. Without this, people will be dissatisfied with an ASHP. Their homes will not be warm enough, and many of the benefits will be lost. It’s a typical retrograde step by the government that replaced the comprehensive Renewable Heat Initiative, presumably because it was too popular and therefore started to cost them more.
I’d like to thank Woodhouse for their patience with me while I got to grips with the new system and for their invaluable help in getting the house a little more future-proofed.
The ASHP works brilliantly with the solar panels and storage battery.”

They are not suitable for older properties They are suitable for any building as long as the system is designed correctly
They struggle to keep places warm when temperatures plummet The whole heating system needs to be considered – radiator sizes and types, insulation, draught-proofing all need to be optimised
They are noisy – neighbour disputes were common They are not noisy – manufacturers have made improvements since the early days
They are unattractive A lot of the bad reputation given to ASHPs comes from poor installations by people who lack understanding of how ASHPs work leading to dissatisfaction with the product
They don’t work when it’s cold outside Why would so many people opt for them in cold countries such as in Scandinavia if they were no good in sub-zero temperatures?
They are expensive to run
They are a lot cheaper to run than an oil-fired system and now cheaper than gas