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Solar / heat pump - diy or professional install ?

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Posted by Adrian Brentnall on May 29, 2006, 9:16 pm
 
Hi All
We're hoping to move to Ireland very soon.
The house we're moving to is a new build out in the country -
and has been designed to modern heat conservation standards (I hope !)

The pitch of the roof is aligned west/east - and is crying out for
some solar panels. The house has been built with an oil-fired central
heating system to conventional radiators.

There's a fair bit of land around the property - a particular section
of it is fairly damp - and we think it'll need to be built up with
'imported' soil and land drains installed. While doing this it would
be fairly easy to install the piping for a ground-based heat pump
system. Ideally this would feed underfloor heating - but I'm thinking
that it would work at reduced efficiency with the existing rads....?

I enjoyed diy installing the solar dhw system at our current house -
but I know that over in Ireland there are schemes that will fund about
30% of the cost of solar and heat-pump systems.....

So - 64,000 dollar question.....
To diy (without grant aid) or have professional installation (with 30%
grant aid)....?

Installing the solar is something that I'm comfortable with - but the
heat pump install is a bit of an unknown quantity for me.
Interestingly - central heating systems in Ireland seem to be
'installed' outside the house - which means that connecting the heat
pump to the water circuit would be fairly straightforward - and a
'tandem' system could even be possible with the oil as a backup to the
heat pump...

Comments / advice anybody, please ?

TIA
Adrian
Suffolk UK


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Posted by john.dawson on June 12, 2006, 1:08 pm
 

Adrian Brentnall wrote:

A few comments Adrian: installing heat pumps is generally considered a
pro business, but if you're confident no reason you shouldn't do it;
sourcing the kit might be difficult; however, using your rads is a
problem as they are designed for use at 50 - 60 degrees plus, and
you'll be lucky to reach 40 with a heat pump - the usual thing is to
use for underfloor (or wall) heating - very disruptive to retrofit. Re
solar, I'm half way through a DIY solar HW install - and was when
grants were introduced - I still reckon DIY saves a fortune - pro solar
installers are very expensive, and the grants give no incentive for
them to reduce their prices. If I was you I'd forget heat pumps and go
for wood chip to replace the oil boiler (when it needs replacing) - the
way things are going the price of electricity to run a heat pump will
likely erode most savings you might make. But using solar HW to reduce
the water heating cost is a long term winner


Posted by Adrian Brentnall on June 12, 2006, 7:27 pm
 Hi John

On 12 Jun 2006 06:08:14 -0700, john.dawson@iolfree.ie wrote:


Yes - I feared as much. I've tried to contact a couple of West Cork
installers - but no responses so far. Think it's probably best to wait
until we get there & then try phoning round.....

I have read that heat pumps will work with rads - though not as
efficiently..


On our current property the supplier put the tubes up on the roof and
just fed the pipes though the flashing into the roof space for me. I
then did the rest of the plumbing - nothing terribly complicated, and
we were replacing the hw cylinder anyway..

Cost us about UK Pounds 2,200 5 years ago - that's for the collectors,
all fittings and controls, but not including the tank and the copper
pipe (or my time)..


Hmm - that's an interesting thought.
The oil boiler is brand new - so I guess we're looking at 5 - 10 years
service before we need to think about replacement


Agreed. The only thing I'd do differently is to include some sort of
thermo-mixing valve on the feed from the DHW cylinder. Days like today
the hot water is HOT - and some kind of 'mix it down to something
sensible' valve would be a good investment.....

Thanks for your comments
Adrian

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