Crap Home heating

Scouse

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So, got a quote for a 12kv solar array + battery. Not that it'll get past the national park (decision will probably be made for me that I'll have to get a fucking big propane tank - which is ludicrous).

I can completely see hot water and cooking, home electrics etc - being served by the solar. But the more I dig actually heating the house with electric seems like a pipe dream.

Electric underfloor heating looks insanely expensive. Easy to install but if you're running something bigger than a bathroom then the running costs are astronomical. Way in excess of what a 12kv solar array could supply - and considering most domestic solar arrays are around 1/3rd of the size of that.

There's radient heating but mostly that'd be not suitable for installation on beamed ceilings. Electric rads would definitely be a help (but again - whole house?).

GSHP is out - from insulation (and affordability) standpoint.

Anyone got any ideas?
 

caLLous

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Air source heat pump? Basically the same principle as GSHP but with what looks like a pool heater (because it essentially is) instead of the "ground" bits.
 

Embattle

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ASHP still requires good insulation levels, every house that has heating really needs to sort out that element first.

Like I've said before I only turn on the hot water element when I know we've got an excess of energy that'll start going back to the grid since the battery is full, that only happens during the main part of summer a few times a year on days such as 4th June where the solar pumped in 32.4kWh. When it is on and heating it is no different than a kettle and pulls 3kW, anything that heats whether it is a cooker, dishwasher, etc requires oodles of power.

It is possible to insulation old housing stock but it certainly isn't as easy nor as cheap as more modern houses, kind of easy to forget all the things you would have to do if you had internal insulation fitted such as moving sockets, redecorating, etc.
 

Tom

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Currently insulating my front room floor with Superfoil SF40. It's very hard work and not cheap. But I agree that insulation is the first consideration when thinking about heating systems. Get the place insulated to fuck first.
 

Embattle

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Do what Tom did by getting a thermal imaging camera would undoubtedly help you spot cold spots.
 

Scouse

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Air source heat pump? Basically the same principle as GSHP but with what looks like a pool heater (because it essentially is) instead of the "ground" bits.
Heat pumps are out from an isulation standpoint. 1800's farmhouse can't be insulated to the level required for low level heat without creating massive damp problems.
 

Tom

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Explain to us how the dampness propagates and what walls would benefit from insulation and people will be able to offer better help.
 

Scouse

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Explain to us how the dampness propagates and what walls would benefit from insulation and people will be able to offer better help.
Not really looking for insulation advice. I'm looking for alternative heating methods (to gas) given the fact that it's not practical to insulate much of the house to a decent enough level for heat pumps to be an option.

But to humour there's an old 1980's extension that I can and will fully insulate internally. I'm also looking at seeing if I can dig up the whole floor slab of the house (at massive expense) and put a proper insulating screed down. The roof void I'm limited to what I can do because: bats. But I'll be putting in 270mm+ of thermal blanket (I'm not allowed to do the whole roof cavity unfortunately, but then I like bats). I'll be ripping out the current windows and replacing with park-approved double (or likely triple) glazing.

The solid stone walls of the 1800's house are a different matter. I'll be removing the terribad cement mortar from the outside and re-lime-mortaring to enhance the breatheability. I'll also be removing all of the plaster inside and reliming. This'll help stop the damp problems - some of which are because of an adjoining wall (which will be removed), most of which are just breathability issues. If I insulate the inside of the house this will mean that the thermal mass is continually cold in winter and in the summer it'll will be hot and stuffy - and, of course, less breatheable. (There's also space considerations, it's a very limited space already so the loss of inches will be a big deal). I'm prohibited from doing something externally, of course.

Add to that, there's a level of ventilation that must be maintained that's in direct opposition to the ventilation requirements of an energy efficient home (to heat-pump standards) because: Radon.

So yeah. I can't insulate to heat-pump standards. The people who've done it in identically constructed houses around here have seen massive leaps in their energy bills (and increases in damp because they tried to insulate with "this will give no problems" advice). Unfortunately, heat pumps really do only work with best-in-class insulated modern homes.

Of course, if there's something I haven't identified I'm all ears. But right now I'm struggling to ditch the gas boiler (which I don't actually have - I've a coal fire with a back boiler that I'd dearly love to get rid of).
 

Embattle

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Had our gas boiler serviced today by an experienced professional, he said in well insulated homes he reckons a heat recovery system works really well.

I suspect you are going to be stuck with a gas boiler for some time, have you had a professional come in to evaluate your options?
 

Raven

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Not really looking for insulation advice. I'm looking for alternative heating methods (to gas) given the fact that it's not practical to insulate much of the house to a decent enough level for heat pumps to be an option.

But to humour there's an old 1980's extension that I can and will fully insulate internally. I'm also looking at seeing if I can dig up the whole floor slab of the house (at massive expense) and put a proper insulating screed down. The roof void I'm limited to what I can do because: bats. But I'll be putting in 270mm+ of thermal blanket (I'm not allowed to do the whole roof cavity unfortunately, but then I like bats). I'll be ripping out the current windows and replacing with park-approved double (or likely triple) glazing.

The solid stone walls of the 1800's house are a different matter. I'll be removing the terribad cement mortar from the outside and re-lime-mortaring to enhance the breatheability. I'll also be removing all of the plaster inside and reliming. This'll help stop the damp problems - some of which are because of an adjoining wall (which will be removed), most of which are just breathability issues. If I insulate the inside of the house this will mean that the thermal mass is continually cold in winter and in the summer it'll will be hot and stuffy - and, of course, less breatheable. (There's also space considerations, it's a very limited space already so the loss of inches will be a big deal). I'm prohibited from doing something externally, of course.

Add to that, there's a level of ventilation that must be maintained that's in direct opposition to the ventilation requirements of an energy efficient home (to heat-pump standards) because: Radon.

So yeah. I can't insulate to heat-pump standards. The people who've done it in identically constructed houses around here have seen massive leaps in their energy bills (and increases in damp because they tried to insulate with "this will give no problems" advice). Unfortunately, heat pumps really do only work with best-in-class insulated modern homes.

Of course, if there's something I haven't identified I'm all ears. But right now I'm struggling to ditch the gas boiler (which I don't actually have - I've a coal fire with a back boiler that I'd dearly love to get rid of).
I have all those problems.

Not particular advice to your specific problem...But get a dehumidifier. We can fill it with 5 litres of water in 2 days, taken out of the air, in 12 hours if we are drying washing in-doors.
 

Scouse

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Have one already. Got multiple problems (including most of a new roof realistically).

I'll be very upset if I have to get gas :(
 

Tom

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What's to stop you from leaving a cavity between the inside walls and any insulated plasterboard?
 

Hawkwind

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Have you looked at the 12v underfloor heating systems. Some good scandi ones that can be laid on almost anything. Know someone that has it and he says it's amazing and cheap to run.

Will try to get some links off him.
 

Hawkwind

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There are other variants, that was just an example using the tech.
 

Scouse

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There are other variants, that was just an example using the tech.
Yep, but lets say the average floor print of a UK home is 100m2 downstairs (it's a bit more for owner-occupiers). If we used less than half that - 100 watts/m2 - then we're looking at 10,000 watts, or 10kw to heat downstairs alone.

Lets say 5 hours a day. (Hour in the morning, few in the evening) - so discounting working from home 24/7. At the June 2021 average 19.63p/KWh we're looking at £9.82 a day / £300/month or thereabouts. And that's at less than half. And only downstairs.

Most electric underfloor heating is specced at 150/200w/m2. Which is hellishly expensive at current 'leccy prices :(
 

Scouse

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Thermal stores. :)

Don't know why I didn't think of thermal stores. I can run a wet underfloor heating system with a large thermal store, use daytime solar excess to heat the water with immersion heaters, battery in the evening. That would also give mains pressure hot water.

Apologies for one of the crappest dullest vids I've ever posted.


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jace5qHQWrg
 

Scouse

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But may still need a boiler :eek:
 

Raven

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Except for the obvious flaw of having much more cold and dark hours than there are "warm" light hours at the time of the year you need heating. :)

Unfortunately. Old houses are extremely difficult to insulate. For the most part though, get the damp sorted and the rest follows, my walls are so thick that it traps heat in nicely. It also helps that half my ground floor is technically underground.
 

Scouse

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Except for the obvious flaw of having much more cold and dark hours than there are "warm" light hours at the time of the year you need heating. :)
Yeah, but if I've got solar PV running then the thermal stores can be kept at 85deg during the day through that. Also, if I have a battery solution then that should be able to heat the thermal store with stored electricity.

I suspect in the winter months (when light is at a premium and heating is most needed) I'll potentially have to draw from the grid (@Embattle? - looking at 12kv) but with a battery that could be done at the cheapest rate possible.


Of course, all this is predicated on whether the national park allow me to do anything sensible.
 

Tom

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FLIR_20211130_085358.jpgPXL_20211130_205405056.jpg

Currently done about half the front room with Superfoil SF40. 65mm thick foil/insulating blanket, stapled with 30mm staples to the joists. This is the same view in IR and normal light. The line down the centre is where the insulation stops. The cold bit at the top isn't finished yet, it's partially insulated but I have to work carefully around the electricity and gas, so it's still not fixed properly underneath.

Already the difference in temperature is 2-3 degrees. There are two central heating pipes running between the floorboards and the insulation to the left, so I will be interested to see if that line is still visible once I've completed the entire room. But I can feel the difference by walking on it.
 

Scouse

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I may have to borrow your IR camera @Tom. It looks great!
 

Raven

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Tom, is your house ex-council? A lot of them have huge rooms where internal insulation is viable. I certainly couldn't with mine. I am digging up the floor at some point. Its red brick (about 6 inches deep) currently, below resin and carpet in the lounge, bare in the kitchen, hall and porch.
 

Tom

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Nah 1910ish railway terrace. Insulated plasterboard only takes a few mm more than normal plaster.


That's 30mm. I bet the plaster on my exterior walls is at least 20mm so I'll never notice once it's done. A very small cavity behind it, just a few mm, will improve its effectiveness even more.
 

Tom

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I can install the plasterboard myself no problem, I'm thinking I may not bother getting it skimmed, I'll just tape it and fill the screw heads etc. See how it looks. It's only the exterior walls I want to do, the interior walls don't really matter.
 

Tom

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Anyhow I discovered the source of a damp patch (of earth) beneath that floor, so I'm off to B&Q later to get some readymix concrete. It's the crack in this drain, I hadn't noticed it before.

PXL_20211201_091320570.jpg
 

Scouse

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I wish I was even slightly practical :(
 

Raven

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I wish I was even slightly practical :(
Teach yourself. It's mostly pretty easy if you have a logical mind and there are plenty of tutorials on the internet. Start small and build yourself up.

I'm making internal doors in January, from scratch, no formal training. We don't have a single doorway the same size in the house, and we can't buy them off the shelf. I would pay a pro but doesn't seem much point if I can do it myself.
 

dysfunction

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Teach yourself. It's mostly pretty easy if you have a logical mind and there are plenty of tutorials on the internet. Start small and build yourself up.

I'm making internal doors in January, from scratch, no formal training. We don't have a single doorway the same size in the house, and we can't buy them off the shelf. I would pay a pro but doesn't seem much point if I can do it myself.
I've tried that and I'm still rubbish. I have no patience for it.
When things start going wrong, which is usually very early on, I get all sweaty and get a DIY rage going on. A bit like road rage really.

Even constructing flat pack furniture is a trial.

I'm generally pretty calm with everything else.
 

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