Howard's Heat Pump Story

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Japanese Fairies and the Climate Crisis

We are anticipating some £300 from the Government later in the month — and the same quarterly for the next seven years! This time last year we decided to invest in changing our oil-fired heating system to use an Air-Sourced Heat Pump (see illustration).

It is a Mitsubishi device rated at 8.5kw. We have cavity wall insulation, double-glazing, and loft insulation, and use existing pipework and radiators. All homes are different, and Mitsubishi do units of 5 to 14kw to suit. I am told it works like a reverse refrigerator. The fan you can see draws air past pipes which collect warmth from the air, which heats the water — but I think the box is full of Japanese fairies! However it works, we have it set to give us 21C all year between 7am and 11pm, and it has worked perfectly.

The work took about ten days, and involved replacing our hot water cylinder with a much larger, fully insulated one, taking out the old boiler and putting in its place a cupboard full of pipes and control gear (which uses less space), installing a wall radiator, and cables and control boxes there and in the airing cupboard. They also flushed our radiator system and refilled it.

An adjustment we have had to make is that there is little airing space in the cylinder cupboard, but we have found alternatives. The system is quieter, and equally reliable. We burn no oil, saving the cost of about 1800 litres a year, and we are paying about £1,000 per year extra for electricity from Good Energy to run the system. We could pay less for our power but want to be sure we are buying renewable energy. The system is also helping us get the most out of our solar panel installation. The initial cost was £10,850 inc.VAT, but the Government's Incentive scheme, RHI, will eventually give us £9,100.

Whether we shall save in financial terms will depend on the relative price of oil and electricity in the future. Perhaps most important of all, is the effect on our contribution to climate change. The carbon dioxide emissions for which we are responsible have dropped by 4.5 tonnes per year! Even if we were buying typical grid electricity, the reduction would be 3.25 tonnes. That's the equivalent to the emissions of driving a medium sized car from Audlem to Delhi and back, if one had the notion to do such a thing.
And to see plants growing Green where our Oil Tank used to be gives us great satisfaction.


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