Friday, 17 October 2014

That sludge creeping in your central heating

Photo Credit
A common problem that occurs in your central heating is, 'sludge'. It's mainly caused by the dust and rust  build up that accumulates over time when the heating system is neglected. This can lead to numerous amount of problems for you and can affect your central heating's output due to the loss of circulation.
Photo Credit: Simon James

How to diagnose if you have sludge

There are a few tell tale signs of sludgy water, but the main one being the colour, when bleeding the air vents to a radiator and finding that when the tissue has a dirty colour of water, then you have what may be the start of sludge in your central heating. 

If this goes untreated it will mean your electricity bill running up because of the extended amount of time it takes to heat your home. This will result in having to call an emergency plumber because the sludge is heavier than water and there is more friction in sludge, than there is in water.

How much does it cost to get it treated?

An average cost for a power flush would work out at £500 and it will take up to 8 hours to get rid of, but ultimately this will depend on your heating's size. It's also worth noting that it's always best to power flush your central heating when having a new boiler fitted because if you let it build up it will cost you more in the long run.

As long as you use a chemical regularly every 5 years there won't be a need for a power flush.

You can always get free no-obligation quotes for boiling repairs at Heating Quoter as well! Click here

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

3 ways to use your uni-bound child’s room

It’s hard to describe the different emotions you go through as one of your children packs up and leaves for university.You’ll feel a mixture of pride, sadness and an inevitable sense of worry as they fly the nest for the first time. 
Photo Credit: Petras Gagilas
While you may like the idea of keeping a shrine to your offspring, or at least keeping their bedroom in its current state for when they visit between semesters, there comes a point when you simply have to move on. Instead of using the room to store your vacuum cleaner and other domestic appliances in the short term, you can grab hold of this opportunity and do so much more with this space. Here are three ideas for you to consider.

Turn it into a study

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee
You may have noticed that new laws have been introduced in the UK that give employees more scope to request flexible working arrangements from their boss.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 4.2 million home workers across the country as of March 2014 - the equivalent of 13.9 per cent of the nation’s overall workforce. This figure is expected to rise sharply in the coming years.
With this in mind, maybe you’d benefit from turning your university-bound son or daughter’s room into an office? It’s far better to have a professional environment to work in, rather than trying to cram your laptop and paperwork on to your dining room table.

Decorate the room and rent it out

It’s understandable that you’ll be wary about having strangers in your house, who wouldn’t be? However, more and more Britons are renovating their spare rooms in order to make a bit of extra pocket money.
This is a particularly shrewd move if you happen to live in the vicinity of high-profile local attractions. For example, there were plenty of stories doing the rounds of London-based homeowners renting out their spare rooms to sports fans during the 2012 Olympic Games.
Of course, with paying customers coming through your door, you’ll need to ensure high standards are maintained, which might mean you need to check the quality of insulation, heating systems and the general decoration of your spare room before you take anybody’s money.

Create your own gym

Photo Credit: C.C. Chapman
The 2013 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report showed that 12.6 per cent of the population are registered members of a gym or health club.
We all know that gym memberships can be expensive, so why fork out £30 or £40 every month when you can use your child’s room to create your very own gym? Granted, the cost of buying a treadmill and weights benches will be high at first, but think of the long-term financial savings.
If you are planning to go down this route and your spare room is on the first (or second if you’re lucky) floor of your property, you must ensure your floor is strong enough to hold the weight of your new equipment. The last thing you want is a gaping hole in the ceiling below.

Think of the value

Whether you choose one of these three options, or something completely different, it’s always worth considering any extra value that your plans will add to your property should you decide to sell further down the line.
A house that boasts a specially kitted out study with all of the mod cons will appeal to a buyer far more than a neglected old room that still has a poster of Cristiano Ronaldo hanging on the wall.

Bio: This blog post was written by Rachel Hurley, who is the brand development manager at Appliance Spares Warehouse

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Heating SOS – Diagnose a heating system fault

Your boiler plays a vital role in making your home a comfortable place to live. By providing hot water and central heating, your boiler is integral to the running of your home, yet it is one of the easiest appliances to take for granted. That is, until something goes wrong. Common boiler issues can be easy to diagnose and a small amount of knowledge on the subject could save you from heating SOS.

Diagnosing Boiler Noise

If your boiler emits a clunking sound (known as kettling) this could be due to a build up of scale in the heat exchanger. This scale is caused by hardness salts within the water which precipitate on the exchanger surface and act as an insulator, creating ‘hot spots’. The clunking sound occurs when these ‘hot spots’ produce steam bubbles.
When left untreated the scale will lower your boiler’s efficiency, just 0.8mm of scale can cause up to 8% heat loss and increase fuel consumption by 2%. In extreme cases a build up of scale could cause the exchanger to overheat and rupture.
During the winter months, boiler lockout on a condensing boiler could indicate that the condensate pipe, which transports condensed water vapour away from the boiler, is frozen. This is assuming the pipe terminates outside of the house. It is best to ask a qualified engineer to fix this issue for you. However, if the pipe is at ground level, and you know what you are doing, you can thaw this yourself using heat wraps or a hot water bottle.
A whistling noise from within your boiler could be caused by kettling or trapped air within your heating system. If the problem is down to trapped air, this can be resolved easily by a boiler engineer who will release the air. They will then be able to investigate how the air got drawn into the system, such as through a defective valve or a pressure leak, and make any necessary repairs.

Diagnosing a Boiler Leak

A boiler leak could be the result of a number of different issues which can usually be diagnosed by identifying the source of the leak, however if a gas boiler is leaking, you should not attempt to repair it yourself; gas boiler repairs should only ever be conducted by Gas Safe Registered engineers.
Common boiler leak issues include:
  1. Temperature Valve – If the temperature valve is leaking it could be a sign that your boiler temperature is too high. It may be that the temperature probe, which ensures accurate temperature control of the hot water, is faulty and needs to be replaced.

  1. Pressure relief valve – A leaking pressure relief valve is a sign that either the boiler pressure is too high (check expansion vessel) or the valve may have sediment preventing it from closing up. This high pressure could also be caused by a build up of limescale or debris.

  1. Corrosion – The leak could be as a result of corrosion, which has resulted in metal wastage and allowed water to escape. You may be able to pinpoint a single corroded component which needs replacing, however, corrosion could be taking place across the whole of heating system and should be checked.

Diagnosing Loss of Boiler Pressure

Constant water pressure is essential for efficient boiler operation, so pressure loss causes the boiler to stop functioning. Most boilers have a pressure dial which will show you whether the pressure is too low; if this is the case it may be an issue which is easy to fix yourself.
It is possible that the system needs to be re-pressurised. The instructions on how to do this will be in the user manual and this is usually a relatively simple process involving re-pressurising the system by adding fresh water. If this does not resolve the problem or if you have any doubts, you should call out an engineer.
A leak may be causing the loss of pressure and if this is the case you may notice damp patches around the central heating fittings or on the ceiling. You can fix the leak yourself if you are confident in doing so but if not you are at risk of making the issue worse or putting yourself in danger. In this case it is always best to call out an engineer to carry out the repairs.
A faulty pressure relief valve could also be causing a drop in boiler pressure. When the valve lifts it releases the system pressure resulting in a low pressure lock out of the boiler. This fault could be caused by corrosion debris preventing the valve from closing properly, weakening with age or splitting, in this instance it is important that you replace the damaged valve.
Once you have diagnosed the issue with your boiler you can decide whether it is something that you can safely fix yourself, if in any doubt you should always call out an engineer. Keeping your boiler and pipe work clean will limit the number of boiler problems that you encounter and keep your boiler functioning efficiently for longer.
Author Bio
Sasha Davison is a digital content writer for Sentinel, an international provider of lifetime protection products and services for heating and hot water systems. Sentinel offer a full range of products supported by experts to achieve best practice protection for domestic and commercial systems.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Easy ways to add value to your home/property

Photo Credit
Selling your property can always be a struggle for some, but there are tips and tricks to increase appeal and value to your home so don't despair, even your home can be sold with these tips!


Removing your family photos is always a good start. Walking into a house that already looks like a home for someone puts off buyers, make them feel like it's their blank canvas. This also applies to your ornaments, declutter your personal belongings and you could be looking at an extra £948 to your property value! Also removing a lounge door, creating an open living space makes your property look like there is more room according to a survey done by estate agents from Big Yellow Self Storage. 
Photo Credit:

Furthermore remove small electrical appliances e.g. Kettles, Microwaves, Toasters etc. This can add an extra £973 onto your property value! And don't forget to clean your home of pet smells and their little toys, again make it seem like it's more of their blank canvas.

Putting on a Show

Photo Credit
Impressing potential buyers is always a must when they visit your property, but did you know these fancy little tricks? Baking our own bread to offer to buyers is a great way to impress the buyers which in turn should help bump up the price and some cases can reach to up to £849 more on your property value according to Estate Agents' survey.

Another great way to add value to your property is to park an expensive car on your drive, according to Estate Agents from Big Yellow Self Storage this can add a whopping £2,500 to your property value! After all first impressions are everything.

 Investing In the Future

Photo Credit
What I mean by this is looking at long term improvements to your property which will benefit you now and later on when you want to sell it. Improving the home economically boosts the property's value dramatically. Wall Insulation for example with a energy certificate, Double-/Triple-Glazing can add another 10-15% onto your property's value!

Becoming more and more popular these days, Solar Panels will definitely be what future property buyers will be looking for. With things like the RHI and rising energy bills creating your own electricity is the step forward. Basically any sort of heat pump, biomass. It's all good because everyone wants to keep those energy bills down!
Photo Credit
Remember you're going to be saving money during the time you own the property and AFTER it's win win.

Click the words to learn more about solar panels, heat pumps, biomass, RHI, insulation and Double Glazing

Interested in increasing your property value and earning money from the RHI with renewable energy systems? Use our free quoter websites and get quotes from the best installers in your area click here and choose which home improvement you want!

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Noticing these signs? You probably need new windows

Are you thinking about updating your windows, but not sure if it's really necessary?
In some cases, you may be able to hold onto old windows. However, if you're experiencing serious issues with their structure or efficiency, it's a time to update to a new model because its most likely costing you money!
Photo Credit: Katy Silberger
We've noticed a dramatic increase in people replacing windows recently and we would like to let you know of our free service. If you want window quotes from installers based in the UK in your area use our website here and we'll find you the best quotes possible free of charge!
Check out these clear signs that it's time to replace your windows.

You Can Feel Draught in Your Home

Obvious, but means more than you think. Even the highest quality windows will allow a slight amount of air enter, but it should never be something you can feel or notice, your comfort shouldn't suffer!
Why? Because your windows will wear out over time and let more air in/out, resulting in you feeling a bit cold. For example, wooden windows can become warped from exposure to moisture in the air resulting in making the window too tight to function properly in some places, while creating gaps in other areas.
Also, another indication would be when the corners of the sashes and frames become loose and create gaps that allow air to penetrate the window
And while your first instinct may be to apply weather stripping, it's good to note that noticeable drafts often indicate an air leak caused by more than missing or damaged weather stripping. In fact, sealing and weather stripping should not be considered as anything more than just a temporary fix and should not be relied upon to perform properly.
The only solution to fixing these drafts is to replace your windows entirely. Trust me, it's worth doing it otherwise you're just going to pump wasted heat out the house, might as well just throw your money out the window!

You Have Some Difficulty Operating Your Windows (Shutting/Opening)

Again this is obvious, but people do tend to ignore this like it is no big deal! The windows that are most effected tend to be the bigger models. This is especially true for older double hung and single hung windows, which have issues with balance. When the balance fails, the window will no longer remain up when opened and can slam shut, posing a potential hazard.
Also be aware that wood and metal windows can also experience similar operating failures, if not properly cared for they can rot or rust so look after your windows like it's your baby!

There's Condensation Inside the Glass of Double- or Triple-Paned Windows
Photo Credit: David Dodge

If you have double or triple-paned windows and notice condensation or fog inside the glass, you might need to replace the glass or the entire window!

Why? Because condensation and fog between the glass panels can indicate seal failure. When the seal fails, moisture is able to enter the space between the panes of glass and as a result, air will condense on the glass. And when this happens, the insulated glass is no longer doing its job.
TOP TIP: Condensation in between the panes of glass will leave a white film which is caused by calcium deposited on the glass. If you see this white film, even if there is no visible condensation, it's a safe bet that the insulated glass unit has failed.

Your Electric/Gas Bill is Expensive

If your heating and cooling costs are high, it's likely that you have an inefficient furnace, or old windows that are simply not energy efficient, to keep your home at your desired temperature.
So, should you replace your windows?
Photo Credit: Ken Teegardin
According to Energy UK, "If your home has old and/or inefficient windows, it would  be more cost-effective to replace them than to try to improve their energy efficiency. New, energy-efficient windows eventually pay for themselves through lower heating and cooling costs, and sometimes even lighting costs."

We've noticed a dramatic increase in people replacing windows recently and we would like to let you know of our free service. If you want window quotes from installers based in the UK in your area use our website here and we'll find you the best quotes possible free of charge!
I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Solar Panels come in all shapes & sizes, but which is the best?

There are a wide variety of solar panel systems that differ in size, material and shape. So for a novice all this information can be overwhelming when considering solar for your home/commercial property. Obviously all these different factors will affect the amount of electricity you produce, how much you save and how much you will earn on RHI or feed-in-tariffs.


Solar Panel size often depends on how big/small your roof is. Although you can opt for smaller panels on a large roof if the price of a big system blows your budget. Installers will refer to the size of the panel by the amount of kilowatts it produces. Here are some examples:

                            2 kW System                                                                  3 kW System                         

Typically, 8x250 Watt Panels,
Covering approximately 11sqm
of clear roof space
Estimated Cost: £3,000-£4000
Estimated Output: 1,700 kW p/a
Estimated CO2 saved over 25 years: 20 (tonnes) 
Total Benefit (Year 1) £375.00
Total profit made on panels: £3,800
Typically, 12x250 Watt Panels,
Covering approximately 17sqm
of clear roof space

Estimated Cost: £4000-£6000
Estimated Output: 
2,550k kW p/a
Estimated CO2 saved over 25 years: 30 (tonnes)
Total Benefit (Year 1) £534.00
Total profit made on panels: £5,635


                                                                     4 kW System 

Typically, 16x250 Watt Panels,
Covering approximately 22 sqm
of clear roof space
Estimated Cost: £6000-£8000
Estimated Output: 3,400 kW p/a
Estimated CO
2 saved over 25 years: 40 (tonnes)
Total Benefit (Year 1): £750.00
Total profit made on panels: £6,750
Those are some fantastic numbers. The extra £6,750 in your back pocket will definitely come in handy, not to mention all the money you will SAVE on the panels as well. The profit is just coming from the feed-in-tariff, also as an added bonus it will cushion you against sky rocketing energy bills (which seems to be happening a lot these days.)

Types of Solar Panels

There are number of different types of solar panel, from an ever increasing range of manufacturers. Each claims that they are best for one reason or another, with different sales people all giving different information. This blog will help you distinguish which type of panel is best suited for you! The two main types you will most likely come across are:


The solar cells in monocrystalline are aligned in one direction, which means that when the sun is shining brightly on them at the correct angle, they are extremely efficient. So, these panels work best in bright sunshine with the sun shining directly on them. They have a uniform blacker colour because they are absorbing most of the light.

Pure cells are octagonal, so there is unused space in the corners when lots of cells are made into a solar module. Mono mono panels are slightly smaller than poly panels for the same power, but this is only really noticeable on industrial scale installations where you may be able to fit a higher overall power with monocrystalline.


Polycrystalline panels are made up to form blocks and create a cell made up of several bits of pure crystal. Because the individual crystals are not all perfectly aligned together and there are losses at the joints between them, they are not quite as efficient as Monocrystalline. However, this misalignment can help in some circumstances, because the cells work better from light at all angles in low light. For this reason, I would say that polycrystalline is slightly better suited to the UK’s duller conditions, but the difference is marginal.

The only other difference they have to the Monocrystalline is that you can see the random crystal arrangement and the panels look a little bluer as they reflect some of the light.

The Best One
Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan

To conclude the best solar panel is entirely down to what suits you the best be it size or type. After reading through this blog you should be able to set aside the confusion from all the sellers that have bombarded you with misinformation; now knowing there isn't much difference between Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline. 

If I were to leave my last bit of advice it would be IGNORE All Black Solar Panels! Why? Because they don't get the same reflective light that the cells need and get from the Poly and Mono AND also avoid Hybrid Solar panels. Why? Because they are ridiculously expensive and outweigh any chance of making your money back and you just generate the same amount of electricity. 

So stick to your Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline my dear Sirs and Madams, I bid you adieu.

Want to get FREE quotes for Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline panels? Use our free database to find the best solar panel installers in your area! Just put in your contact details and we'll ring up and give you their best quotes, simple! Free Quotes here

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Can I get insurance for my Solar Panels?

With Solar Panels reaching an estimated 500,000 installs across the UK this year and the new government RHI feed-in-tariff people really are making the most of the investment that is renewable technology. It's spreading across the media like wildfire with new innovations in solar, Germany running on 50% renewable energy and even coming to popular UK supermarkets such as Ikea.

However, we haven't heard much about the complications of insuring them. Solar Panels are a serious bit of kit costing from £6000-£9000 you would hope to get some sort of insurance on them as they are supposed to last you up to 20 years. If you are thinking about having solar panels fitted in the near future, it is well worth finding out more about how and where to insure them before you start.

Coverage on Building Insurance policy

Unfortunately in some cases you won't be covered under this policy, its all down to which insurance company you're with. The common response being is that owning solar panels is (in their eyes) much like running a business because you earn money off the feed-in-tariff. Annoying as that may be there are still alternatives so not to worry my lovelies!

I would advise you to take extra care and ask the insurance provider the right questions to ensure the policy is accepted before they solar panels are installed.

The Alternatives

If you aren't covered for solar panels on your policy then the only other thing to do is go to another insurance company. Although be wary, some companies charge an extra extravagant fee while others include them with no problems at all.

According to the following insurers that are more than happy to provide cover for solar panels on a buildings insurance policy are: 
Although one insurer, NFU has caused some trouble with home owners. Advertised on their website that solar panels isn't a problem when it comes to their building insurance policy when it came to talking over the phone some customers have found that they weren't able to receive cover. This could just be down to minor issues, don't lose all hope now!

More Tips

Overall the majority of home insurers are okay with insuring a house with solar panels. Although it is worth just giving your current provider a ring to check if your current policy is suitable for solar panels. If you find you wont be covered I suggest you ring round for quotes as it is best to get it straight from the horse's mouth!

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams

Friday, 8 August 2014

Technology in home furniture: what can we expect to see in the coming years?

Photo Credit: JD Hancock
We are currently in the midst of a the most technically advanced digital age we have ever been through and technological gadgets are now becoming increasingly common in all aspects of our everyday life, including the home. It’s not just the home, our furniture is joining the party. High tech gadgets are now becoming embedded in ordinary objects and whereas this was a fiction of the imagination of science fiction writers in the past, it is now happening for real.

We have gone and found furnishings which are both practical and visually appealing, some of these technologies are available now, whilst others will become prevalent in years to come. One thing that they have in common is that they’re extremely advances whilst being multifunctional and superbly practical at the same time.

With production methods now so advanced, and much more advanced than they have ever been, it really isn't hard to imagine a plethora of hybrid furniture which combines say, a tablet, and a plush leather recliner. And why not, if it can be made, it should be! We've travelled a long way since the trusty cup holder was a function that left people in shock, and very soon there will be technologies that don't even exist yet which are incorporated into our chairs, seats, tables, stools or worktops. But what can we expect, this blog will give you a taster of what might be around the corner:

Tabletop tablets

Already available from Hammacher, the coffee table touch screen turns the humble coffee table into a fully interactive and fully functioning windows 8 tablet, complete with its huge 32” touch screen. We imagine they will become more common over the next few years and they are very useful for people who want to look at photos or maps at the same time.

Not only is it a tablet, you can obviously place your coffee on it, or even eat of it. There is no need to worry about spillages due to the reinforced glass which is also equipped with an anti-glare filtering.

Slotted tech furniture

With the rise of iPads and other tablet brands, it’s only a matter of time before designers create furniture which incorporates slots so that they can sit upright, so we can easily view either a streamed television show or simultaneously browse the internet together with somebody else. No more will we have to perch our phones or tablets up against things, and this sort of feature could be included in almost any type of furniture you might find in the home.

The I-Sopod

It’s always ideal to find a place to relax that will put you in complete peace and take you away from the world. The I-sopod is designed to do just this. This bath is shaped just like a big round pod that opens and closes. When the tub is open, it lights up using the LED lights that are installed inside the base of the tub. Not only does it light up in captivating colours, it is also installed with an MP3 system so that you can completely chill out. The I-sopod is designed to come in a variety of colours to suit your preference. Will we be seeing more technology like this in the future?

The Light up Coffee Table

This table has been cleverly designed to interact with any movement on the table. It is designed with LED lighting that senses absolutely anything that touches the table. The lights are white and very bright, and it creates an effect that looks surreal and very pretty. The cord that connects the lighting is hidden well meaning there are no annoying wires all over the floor - it is also a very eco-friendly option.

Keyboard integrated chairs

In the digital age, the need for gadgets to be integrated in furniture has grown significantly, and this need has been answered by the ‘Origin’ ergonomic task chair. Its allows you to sit whilst offering a keyboard on either arm of the chair, you can therefore keep a good posture. The fully adjustable ‘Origin’ was built with your average office worker in mind and looks to prevent repetitive strain injuries whilst allowing the user to remain comfortable.

Tech-charging furniture

In the future we might see a rise in furniture which has built in charging facilities, allowing us to charge up our digital products whilst not taking up extra space with unsightly wires. Perfect for the minimalist, this furniture would allow us to power up whilst our devices remained hidden away in draws. This would be a great option for people who live in smaller spaces or those with one eye on technical developments.

Door handle with self-sterilization system

We've all been there, after going to the toilet, having to use the door handle which may be germ ridden. There has been rumours of a door handle which will eliminate this issue and just by touching the handle and opening the door, your hands will be sterilised. A very handy invention which could work in the home but would be especially handy in a public location.

The Cloud

Want to feel like you’re floating on a cloud when you relax? This design concept plays with idea of feeling on top of the clouds. This is a lounger chair  design that uses a magnetic field base that lies on the floor. The magnetic field is used to keep up a light and soft cushion shaped like a cloud. This levitating sofa could be the world’s favourite thing to sit back and relax on in the future!

Who really knows what the distant future really holds, the technologies we have included in this list are either currently in the prototype stage or are being rolled out soon by their designers. Whilst they might be on the higher end of the price range now, it wont be long before they are widespread and are incorporating all the technologies of the day. They will make our lives much easier from day to day whilst ensuring we are connected to the outside world and are able to continue living our online lives, or even carry on working.

This blog was written by Jennifer Smith for <a href=””>Conwy Valley Plumbing</a>, the premier provider of all your energy saving and bathroom installation services in the UK.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Friday, 25 July 2014

Beyond The Mains Newsletter

Hello all my dear Sirs and Madams! Today I would like to introduce you to a great service written by the same people on this blog, Beyond The Mains Newsletter.

It features articles much like what you find on this blog; and it's FREE. It regularly comes out every week ( a little more routine than this...) Featuring great little pieces from windows to renewable technologies, anything Home Improvement related, we do it! Keeping you fully updated on new technologies and government schemes, definitely worth the subscription.

Its perfect for home owners and business owners alike. Are you one of these? Well get clicking my dear.

To the sceptics out there don't worry, we aren't going to spam you or pass on your details. We just want to keep you, our readers entertained and informed, this is just another way of reaching you. I promise my dear Sirs and Madams, no gimmicks.

If you're interested then just click here! I will provide links below as well. Its free and all it will cost you is a click!

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Are Biomass Boilers worth it?

Photo Credit: Pooja Chaphalkar
Biomass boilers offer a great heating solution that really does pay for itself and then some. Combined with the great savings to be made with biomass fuels and the government’s domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), it really does make sense to look at biomass for your home. It's an exciting bit of tech to get on and I strongly recommend it. As you can see from the picture on the right, it's not as big as you would expect.

First things first

Biomass boiler systems are not suitable for every property, small urban and suburban properties (especially flats) are highly unlikely to be able to accommodate a larger biomass boiler, hopper and buffer vessel, and are therefore better suited to other renewable energy technologies such as solar PV and solar thermal or even a wall mounted air source heat pump. Even with those urban and suburban properties that do have enough space for the biomass installations, there may still be access issues when it comes to taking delivery (and more importantly storage) of the wood fuel, normally delivered on a standard sized pallet.
Photo Credit: St├ęphanie Kilgast
For homes and businesses with the requisite space, however, biomass boilers are likely to be suitable and can provide substantial financial savings, as well as a significantly lower carbon footprint. Biomass systems with an output of 5kW to 500kW can be used in a variety of settings, both residential and commercial, from a small office building to large buildings such as hospitals, schools and prisons. Biomass boilers are also a particularly attractive option for properties with no mains gas supply.

Biomass Boiler

For those off-grid properties, biomass is a much cheaper fuel to run your heating on when compared to heating oil or Calor gas. Even when compared to heat pumps, the closest renewable competition, biomass generally wins.
While you can install a heat pump (air source or ground source), there is a difference when compared to biomass (heat pumps operate at much lower temperatures), which will mean that you will have to slightly change how you distribute your heat – by increasing the size of your radiators and / or consider installing underfloor insulation (the latter is not mandatory).
Therefore the big advantage over heat pumps is that you can install a biomass boiler with your existing radiators and hot water system as they operate at high temperature and do not require as big an output to provide the same volume of useful heat.
Even if you are on grid, you can still benefit from a biomass boiler – as long as you have the space and are not in a clean air zone (it is very restrictive to use in urban areas of London). Even comparing the cost of gas to biomass fuel can be favourable, especially when you factor in the RHI payments.

Insulation isn't as important?

As mentioned, heat pumps are the other way to get RHI funded heating, but because they produce lower grade heat, they don’t tend to work well with a traditional radiator system and you will probably need to install additional insulation to bring the heat demand right down to be worth it.  Insulation is cost effective if you have a cavity wall property, but if it is of solid wall construction then you will need to consider getting expensive insulation, and the costs will start to add-up.
Biomass has the added advantage of not needing a super insulated house – although we advise on always trying to get the best possible insulation. Where heat pumps rely on high quality insulation to function effectively, costing thousands of pounds, biomass will work well in any home, with just your basic loft and cavity wall insulation as always, recommended. In fact, you will actually get more money as part of the RHI when your property requires more heat to warm it – but loft and cavity, if recommended on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), must be installed!

How much can I earn with Biomass on the RHI payments?

The RHI will pay you 12.2p/kWh and the amount you get will depend on the heat demand on your EPC. A typical property with a heat demand of about 20,000 kWh will receive more than £2,400 a year; or £17,500 over a 7 year period. That’s a lot of money and will cover the cost of the installation well before the end of the life of the boiler.
To demonstrate how the RHI payments can work with real properties out there, we have selected a range of property’s we have assessed and have summarised the typical heat demands and therefore the expected payments.
 In reality to see how much your property will get, you need to look at the last page of your EPC. Look at the heat demand combined with the water heating requirements then multiply by the tariff (12.2p/kWh). Generally speaking, smaller terraced properties are unlikely to have the space required for one of these boilers, but for larger properties, the returns are very generous. 
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I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!


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