We are in the midst of a national energy crisis and while the government might have stepped in to cap household energy expenses at £2500, that cap is set to end in just six months. That’s why thousands of households across the country are now worrying about how much it’s going to cost to heat their homes this winter and going forward into 2023 and beyond.
As well as the traditional options such as having a cosy wood burner set up with kindling and logs, to use on those chilly days, thankfully, there are several options available to households to prepare their homes not only for the incoming higher energy bills but to cut their carbon footprints as well as their energy costs. Of course, all of these options come with an initial upfront cost but thinking long-term is the only way we’re all going to make it through this crisis intact.
Air Source Heat Pumps
Where a traditional central heating system uses energy to heat water and send it around your home, heat pumps work a little differently. They draw heat from outside, allowing you to generate your own heat without using gas or energy from the grid. Air source heat pumps deliver heat at lower temperatures, so will be to be run for much longer, but are much more efficient than gas heaters. They also need to be installed outside and use large fans to draw air in. This means you’ll need a decent amount of space around your home.
You can choose from an air-to-water heat pump or an air-to-air heat pump. The former feeds warm air from outside into your existing central heating system whereas the latter is fed into your home via a series of fans. Given that most homes already have traditional central heating installed, air-to-water systems are comfortably the most practical option.
While solar panels might only produce electricity when coupled with thermal panels they can also be used to heat water. This works by feeding cold water into a coil, which pushes fluid into the solar thermal panels so they can be heated naturally by the sun. This fluid then heats the water in your boiler (or equivalent) which is then fed into your home.
It’s a great way to make long-term savings and the systems require very little maintenance. However, you’ll still need a boiler or immersion heater as a backup and thermal panel do cost more to install than regular solar panels.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
As you might expect, ground-source heat pumps work similarly to air-source heat pumps. The difference is that they draw heat from the ground, rather than the air. It also uses water, rather than air, to function, with water pumped through underground pipes and absorbing the natural heat from the ground via a heat exchanger. In essence, it operates like a boiler, only it doesn’t use anywhere near as much energy.
Ground-source heat pumps are more expensive than air-source options but are less of an eyesore as they are hidden underground. They are also incredibly expensive to install, and their construction can prove disruptive to the neighbourhood so we’d only recommend them if you live in a detached home with lots of space.
We hope these ideas for cutting energy costs help!