Warning to choose the right conservatory heater

Heating experts are warning home owners to think carefully about the heating arrangements for their new conservatories, as Winter approaches.
Whilst it might seem like one expense you can cut corners on, heating engineers are advising you not to cut costs which in the long run will actually end up costing you more.
You may think that a portable electric heater – warm air of oil filled radiator etc will suffice, but these plug-in appliances are very costly to run for more than an hour or two a day. The resulting costs may mean you don’t use your conservatory as often as you might.
The right glazing can make a difference but to make your conservatory a comfortable part of the house all year round, homeowners need to be thinking about the long term heating options available.
One of the easiest and most convenient methods is where a home already has central heating installed. If you present boiler / system isn’t capable of running extra radiators in the conservatory, then it may still be cost effective to upgrade the boiler for that purpose.
Fitting the radiator/s with their own thermostatic valves will ensure you’re not heating the conservatory unnecessarily.
Other alternatives you may consider include underfloor heating – powered either by your present heating system or perhaps even by a modest solar panel installation or heat pump installation, making use of renewable energy sources.
Just as important for comfort is thinking about cooling in the Summer. Fitting or specifying a fan in the roof of your conservatory will help cool your conservatory when it’s hot.

Solar hot water incentives and underfloor heating

If you’re thinking of installing underfloor heating as part of a new build, extension or renovation, then you shouldn’t neglect solar hot water to power it.
Government incentive tariff’s (similar to the current Feed-in Tariff’s for photovoltaic electricity generating panels) will start paying out next year, with some pilot scheme and installation incentives already being trialled in the Governments Green Deal.
Underfloor heating runs on lower water temperatures than traditional central heating and when coupled with ground or air source heat pumps (both also eligible for tariff payments under the proposed ‘Green Deal’) or solar hot water panels, can make a real difference to your energy bills.
And many homeowners are now prepared to spend a little extra in return for a heating system that is not only highly efficient, but has lower running and servicing costs.
Whether you’re thinking of heating the whole of your downstairs, or you’re just thinking about one room – a garage conversion for example – especially where it may be difficult to include your present heating system, then underfloor heating may be for you.
photo credit: emilian robert viol
This story appeared in our weekly homeowner newsletter dated 12th September 2011. Click Here to read the full newsletter.

Heat and Air Source Heat Pumps could hold the key

Anyone following the renewables industry and Government news will have gleaned that it’s going to be tough for the UK to meet it’s emission cutting targets.

With so much potential wind energy being tied up in (or refused) planning, solar energy is the only technology making any real headway in the domestic markets.

However, there is another alternative that could very soon be in the mainstream – particularly when the Green Deal tariff’s start next year (2012).

That technology is ground source and air heat pumps.

Basically, heat from the ground or air, is exchanged and ‘pumped’ into the building, providing heat.

Air source heat pumps are best suited to properties without the land required for a ground source heat system – ground source pumps rely on coils of fluid filled tubing being buried under the properties garden – either vertically or as more people will be familiar with, coils overlaid in shallow trenches.

And the Air source industry reckon modern technology makes their systems quicker to ‘payback’ the installation costs, which may also be cheaper to install.

It really depends on the property though. Both Air and Ground Source technology can be used to heat underfloor heating systems or air ‘blowers’. Underfloor heating being the most popular.

You may be forgiven for thinking these heat exchange pump systems are a new technology but you’d be wrong. Although we’re only really just starting to see such systems incorporated into new builds (usually individual designed and built dwellings), and smaller commercial units, the technology itself has been around commercially for the last 20 years and been successfully used in scandinavian countries.

photo credit: bryn pinzgauer

New premises incorporate green energy features

Price Engines Ltd, the company behind the ‘Quoter family of online home improvement quoting websites have been moving premises over the weekend.

From our old offices on Pride Park, Derby, we’ve moved to a brand new office in the slightly more rural setting of Stenson Marina on the outskirts of Derby.

Our new home incorporates some pretty nifty technology which will help us reduce our energy usage, whilst being kinder to the environment.

And as we’re now sited beside the Trent and Mersey Canal, if ever an environment was worth saving… let’s just say we feel very lucky to be here.

For starters, the hot water and underfloor downstairs heating is powered by an air-source heat pump. The upstairs heating/whole building cooling is powered by a set up of air-con units that reduce power consumption via a clever arrangement of one generator allowing different individual units to blow hot or cold.

And we understand from the buildings owners that there are plans for a photovoltaic solar panel installation in the very near future.

photo credit: gavin stewart