Comparing Heating Sources

Comparing Heating Sources

The government has announced that by 2025, all new homes will be banned from installing gas and oil boilers and will instead be heated by renewable, low-carbon alternatives. This is part of a government effort to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. This will also apply to property renovations, landlord improvement to rental properties, holiday homes, care homes, and small businesses to reduce energy consumption. 

There are several energy efficient heating sources. Read on as we take a look through some of the options available. 

Ground Source Heat Pumps

A ground source heat pump transfers heat from the ground outside your home to heat your radiators or underfloor heating. It can also heat water stored in a hot water cylinder.

Thermal transfer fluid flows around a loop of pipe, buried in your garden or outdoor space, either in trenches or in a borehole. It works by absorbing heat from the ground into the fluid, which passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. 

The cost of a ground source heat pump installation varies due to many factors, but the Energy Saving Trust estimates that typical installation costs are around £24,000 if your ground loop is buried in trenches, and around £49,000 if you need to dig a borehole.

The installation cost is quite high but is it worth it in the long-term? Based on an average sized, four-bedroom detached home, you could save up to £1,000 per year when switching from traditional gas heating to a ground source heat pump. If switching from electrical storage heaters, you could save up to £2,000 and from oil heating, you could save up to £2,400, depending on their age and energy rating.

Air Source Heat Pump

An air source heat pump (or air-to-water source heat pump) is similar to the ground source heat pump but it uses heat from the outside air. Heat from the air is absorbed into a fluid which then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump, which raises the temperature and then transfers that heat to water.

The cost of installing an air source heat pump varies depending on many factors but typical costs are around £7,000 to £13,000.

Based on an average sized, four-bedroom detached home, you could save up to £900 per year when switching from an old gas boiler, but switching from a modern gas boiler could see you paying around £100 more per year. If switching from electrical storage heaters, you could save up to £1,900 and from oil heating, you could save up to £2,200, depending on their age and energy rating.

Biomass

Biomass boilers are carbon neutral and operate in the same way as conventional boilers, but rather than burning fossil fuels, they burn biomass - biological material that comes from plant-based organisms (wood logs, chips or pellets).

Manually-fed boilers need to be filled with fuel as and when needed, while an automatically-fed boiler does this itself, although they do take up more space. A downside of biomass boilers is that they require a lot of maintenance, more than any other heating system. The ash left behind from burning wood will need to be cleaned out on a regular basis.

Besides being carbon neutral, there are many benefits to biomass boilers, such as being able to deliver efficiencies of over 90%. The fuel is also inexpensive, as wood chips and pellets are relatively inexpensive, plus if you live near a wooded area then you could potentially heat your home for free.

The installation costs of a biomass boiler can be anywhere from £4,000 to £21,000 and the ongoing costs are variable. If you replace an electric storage heating system, you might save over £1,000 per year, however, if you replace a modern gas boiler, a biomass boiler is likely to cost you more to run than your current system.

Solar Thermal

Solar water heating systems (solar thermal systems) can provide reduced energy bills and a lower carbon footprint by using energy from the sun to warm water, which is stored in a hot water cylinder or thermal store. In the UK, the amount of available solar energy varies throughout the year, so often a back-up system is also required. Larger solar hot water arrays can also be used to provide some contribution to heating your home. However, the amount of heat provided is generally less than 10% of the home’s heating requirement, so it is not usually considered worthwhile. 

The cost of installing a typical solar water heating system is around £3,000 to £5,000, but costs can vary depending on the type and size of the system. On average, solar water heating systems will provide roughly half of your yearly hot water requirement (more in summer, less in winter) which can give you an annual saving of around £100.

Infrared Heating

Infrared radiation or infrared light, is a type of radiant energy that is invisible to the eye but one that provides heat. Any object or person can emit and absorb infrared radiation, like the way you feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and then transfer the heat to someone else in a hug. 

Infrared heat is 100% natural, 100% energy efficient, 100% controllable and 100% safe.

Traditional heaters, i.e. radiators, heat the air and then the air heats us. However, Infrared heats objects, i.e. us, and we pass the extra energy to the air and surrounding objects. This means no money or energy is wasted by heating unwanted cubic metres of the volume of air in a room.  

Infrared heating is up to 70% more cost effective than conventional heating. The heaters use less power, can run on renewable energy (e.g. solar power), you need fewer heaters in your home and there is no ongoing maintenance.

The heat is completely natural, there are endless health benefits, and the heaters are quiet and prevent mould within your walls.

Are you interested in infrared heating solutions for your home or office? 

Contact our team now via telephone or email.

KIASA 1200W Smart Wi-fi Infrared Heating Panel - wall mounted in office area

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