Saturday 30 July 2022

Greta Gets his Air Source Heat Pump

First of all, before I talk about the heat pump, I need to give a huge shout out to "The Energy Smart Group"  These guys are highly professional, understand the renewable industry extremely well and have provided outstanding service from original system design,  getting a government grant through installing and then commissioning the system.

Getting the Grant

This part was pretty straightforward.  The energy smart group gave us information about what we would need to have at home in order to ensure we received a favourable EPC assessment.  The main things were to make sure that you have loft insulation, double glazing (cavity wall insulation is a bonus).  They arranged for an assessor and as I mentioned before,  having put the extra insulation in the loft, we got an 'A' for our property.  Putting us in an ideal position for getting the new Government Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) grant.

It's important to do this, as the government then gives your installer a voucher for £5k which they take off the price the system.  So it's a considerable chunk of the cost covered.

System Design

This is an important characteristic of the heat pump planning. Here the Energy Smart Group started to show their expertise. Measuring each room, discussing the ideal temperatures we would like during winter and also planning for a future under floor heating / conservatory even though we don't have it right now.  This allows them to determine the size of the heat pump, and the associated control unit / water tank with a view of covering what we need both today and tomorrow.

Installation Planning

Once the grant had been confirmed,  the energy smart group planned our install within a week.  Of course, using the typical Greta planning (I had solar installed the week before the shortest day in December,  Double Glazing installed during a snow storm in December), its probably no surprise that the heat pump ended up being installed during the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the UK.  But the installers kept at it and worked extremely hard considering the conditions.

Keeping the Rebel Happy

My wife was obviously more than a little concerned about the level of upheaval and possible work we would have to do once installed.  This is another plus from the Energy Smart Group,  they said at the pre-sales stage 'If we do our job right, you won't even know we've been when we've finished'.  Well, not quite true, there's a great big unit at the back of the house that wasn't there before, however, other than that, they have truly lived up to their promise.  Removing the old gas boiler and bricking up the hole in the wall where the flue was,  installing new radiators throughout the house, making redundant the water tanks in the loft and removing the hot water tank.  

Everything has been done with the upmost care, leaving us with a little painting to do in the garage on the wall where the boiler was mounted. I honestly can't believe the standard,  quality and completeness of the service.

Personally, I think its because the Rebel kept supplying the installers Water, Coffee, Ice Lollies throughout the heatwave.  

The Extra's

As well as getting the Heat Pump installed, we also selected a Tado smart thermostat and TRV's on every radiator.  Other than a slight hiccup during initial testing,  it has all integrated seamlessly into the home.  Even allowing us to turn on a single radiator to heat a single room if want to.  I'll possibly post another  blog sometime regarding this,  but initial thoughts are it is far more controllable than the Nest we had installed previously.

Oh My God it's quiet (and hopefully cheap to run too)

Another fear we had was of potential noise.  Our fears were totally unfounded, and partly due to the fact that when the Gas Boiler fired up it sounded like  Concorde throttling up  (which was a little unnerving being on the flight path to Leeds Bradford Airport).  Well, if you stand a foot away from the unit you can just about hear it (although you know it's working due to the cold air coming out the front, shame it wasn't up and running when it was 40 degrees outside, my deck chair would have been placed right in front of it).

Today, I noticed the water temperature was a little low,  as it heated overnight, we had all had showers and a bath.  The solar was generating, so I thought I would boost the system on the heat pump.  Well, it ran for around 30 minutes,  took the water temperature from 20 degrees C to 55 Degrees C and used around 200 watts to do it (easily covered by the excess from the Solar).  If this is any indication on cost savings (bearing in mind the expected energy rises in the autumn), we're going to be more than happy.


Greta is a very happy bunny.  With our main home eco / environmental changes done (Solar / Heat Pump / Water Butt).  The Rebel is also happy too and her OCD (sorry we have to have the letters in alphabetical order, her CDO) never kicked in once.

Many thanks to Ben and Charlie the two plumbers from the Energy Smart Group and Matt / Gary the electricians.  I will blog again later in the year and let you all know if it's living up to our expectations.  Also, the Rebels electric car may be here by then so that's going to be worth a Greta Blog or two too.

Update - Heat Wave Number 2 - 14th August

When the sun is shining and it's hot outside and you have both an Air Source Heat Pump and Solar.  Make sure your heat pump is set to warm up your water,  its free and ideal for cooling you as well.  Sit in front for a soothing cool breeze.

One suitably cooled Greta

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