DIY Doctor

Which heating system to instal??

Postby blissbaby » Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:06 pm

Have just bought a ery vlarge and very old farmhouse in NE Scotland. It has virtually no insulation to speak of, and the radiators are heated via a woefully inadequate rayburn-type cooker.
I shall probably ask questions at a later date re insulating the walls and ceilings, but for now my concern is which type of heating to instal. I have no desire to keep the rayburn.
I like the idea of an environmentally friendly system, for underfloor heating - either ground or air source heating. Which system is the most effective? Which is the cheapest to instal? Are grants available still for either? I would like to re-lay the original floor boards too - is that possible with underfloor heating? Will the wood allow enough heat through? And if we were to go down either route, how should we supplement the heat provided? At the moment there are coal fires in most of the rooms, but I quite fancy a multi-fuel heater - are these particularly economical?
We are considering solar panels for water heating too - anyone got any views on the efficacy of these?
Sorry there are so many questions, but I need to make sure that I make informed decisions!
Thanks for now!
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Simply Build It

Postby acsimpson » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:46 am

I can't puport to be an expert but I have done a little research into low carbon heating (based on running them not on manufacture).

I don't know much about air source heating but ground source has a payback time of 10 years upwards assuming you have a large area you can install underground pipes in. If you need to use a ground probe then the initial costs obviously rise. In terms of actual cost you would need to get in touch with some installers and ask for quotes, they should also be able to provide you with expected efficiencies, but do treat them with a pinch of salt as they have a desire to make the numbers sound good.

Relaying the original floorboards will obviously cut down a little on heat transmission and would not normally be advised for underfloor heating. If you lay very high spec insulation under the floor you might get away with it but the heat up times will still be longer. If the floors are suspended on joists then I would suggest it is a non starter.

I don't know about the multi fuel heaters but one low carbon solution is a wood pellet heater. It doesn't burn fossil fuels so it's possible to offset the carbon it releases. Can't remember how the running costs compare though.

If you have a good south facing slope to install the solar panels on then they are a huge boost (better than ground or airsource heating). They can be expensive to install but can provide 100% of your hot water needs in summer and reduce the cost of heating in winter. Of course if you install more you could provide all your winter needs too but the payback time would probably be too long.

One thing you've not mentioned is wind generation. Perhaps because your site is unsuitable. If you are considering it don't fix anything to the building (ie use a stand alone pylon) the vibration from it can cause all sorts of problems.

For grants your best starting point is google. Try looking for the energy saving truse for starters.
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