Renewable Heat Case study | Kevin Carter
We met up with Kevin Carter from Auchtertool, Kevin approached us as he was renovation his house effectively bringing it up to current standard by re-insulating all of the walls. At the same time he wanted to upgrade his heating system, pipe work, radiators and add and oil boiler.
We suggested that he should instead put an air source heat pump in to help future proof his heating system and reduce his energy costs.
Kevin, you never came to us looking for a heat pump, we in-fact offered you a solution, could you talk a little about that?
We first met when we were doing a big extension to our house, so we increased the size of our house by around 3-4x. Our plan was to continue using our existing oil boiler, but we had some concerns about the cost of oil increasing and being so volatile. So our challenge to you really was how can you give us a much more efficient heating system that is going to give us a stable price point for the foreseeable future.
What options did you have?
In our village, we didn’t have the option of gas, so it was really oil or electric as far as we were concerned. We had a look at both of those options but we just had big concerns about the efficiency of electric or the costs of oil. So we looked at things like Bio mass and then we spoke to yourself and you gave us the option of the heat pump. Biomass was quite interesting to us, but again it is quite a volatile market in terms of the materials, there was a lot more work for us to do and we just wanted something that we could just plug in and that it just worked. Biomass didn’t give us that.
How are you finding your home with the heat pump now?
It’s fantastic! I guess the best thing about technology like this is you don’t want to even notice that it is there. It’s not one of those things that you buy and is shiny and sits in the corner so you can check it all the time. If it does its job well you forget it’s there. From our point of view, it works perfectly, it’s easy to control, actually there is nothing for us to do … The whole thing is much more flexible and cost effective.
Part of the process of getting a heat pump is applying for energy trust loans and the MCS Theme, can you tell us a little bit about that?
For us, it was quite a bit deal because we hadn’t really budgeted for a new heating system which was maybe a little naive. So we had to make sure we had the finance in place and that it was viable for us and that we understood the benefits that it brought. The big advantage for us with using you guys was taking us through that process, even before we started talking about costs, you told us what the process would be, gave us confidence in the process and actually the process itself seemed quite complicated when you wrote it down but actually when you talked it through we realised it was actually something we could do. The great thing about it was that you made sure we had all of that in place before committing to you guys. That gave us confidence and it all went well. At various points with different information, you were able to get back to us within 24 hours. You made the whole thing simple and that made that we weren’t out of pocket at all.
Getting a new heat pump can be quite an upheaval in the house, did you have any concerns about this?
The one thing you want to work in your house is the heating and the hot water. We got ours installed in late November so it was important that it worked as soon as it was installed. For us, it was really just about the workmanship and the quality to make sure everything just worked. We had various problems with other boilers we’d had which meant constant visits and especially after it had been installed it took ages to bed down. So for us, it was to make sure it just worked out of the box and that the cost would be as efficient as we thought it would be.
How are the running costs?
The running costs are fantastic, so even though our house is bigger than what it was and we are spending more time in the house than we had previously our costs are about 1/3 of what they were, which is incredible!
After this process, would you recommend a heat pump to anybody?
Absolutely! It’s actually a bit of a running joke that I am constantly recommending the heat pump and you guys to do it to anyone that comes to our house. I think just being blown away just with the change in technology around all of this stuff and the cots savings are the biggest thing and I would recommend that to anyone. It’s just great, super reliable, super cost efficient and to anyone who will listen which isn’t many people in fairness, I would recommend a heat pump and you guys to do it.
A heat pump is an expensive system, how are you finding the cost vs a regular heating system?
We took advantage of the RHI scheme, which meant we got an interest free loan for 75% of the costs over 10 years. The RHI payment then covers those repayments for us pretty much and in fact in years 3 and 4 we actually make a little bit of money back on those. So for us, it was actually the cost of a cheap heating system to be installed.
If someone else was doing work on their house would you recommend a heat pump?
Absolutely, it’s a no-brainer. If you are upgrading your house you should be upgrading your heating system as well. For us what we realised is that the old heating systems just aren’t really up to spec now. This is the future of heating if you want to do it efficiently.
With the new heat pump it comes with NIBI uplink as standard, how are you finding it?
For us it is great. I mean everyone loves an app for a start. But what we like about it is that you can control everything around the house, we can keep an eye on things if we off on holiday, we can turn it off and the turn it on again on our way back. But really the big thing is peace of mind, we know that if there is a problem then we get a notification and most importantly you get a notification before we do. Which is great because it means that we don’t have to pick up the phone because you guys will know about it before we do and respond to it
About the author
I founded Renewable Heat in January 2015 with my business partner Richard Hailstones. I have worked in the Plumbing and Heating Engineer sector for more than 15 years. I later went on to specialise in the renewable energy market as it emerged and grew.