Each month, HVP readers get in touch to share their views and reactions to the latest news and content, with the best letter winning a £100 Amazon voucher thanks to Resideo. Here are the letters from our January 2019 edition.
Time to look to the future
I read the article ‘Greener Options For Heating’ [Ed: see p42 of HVP Nov/Dec 2018] which predominantly features a hybrid installation. There isn’t enough in the article to highlight the advantages (or disadvantages) of having a multi-fuel system, or the very specific advantage of the heat pump, which would probably run most of the time.
There’s another article on the LG air-to-water range of heat pumps on p24, but it should be noted that most heat pumps will be much higher efficiency than any other heating system. They recover energy from the outdoor air and, with the aid of the highly efficient refrigeration cycle, elevate the heat generated by an average of 325%.
Their only downsides are that the heat pump format invariably involves a component outdoors that makes some noise and, secondly, they usually only heat water to about 50°C. Some units now have special circuits that will enable an uplift to 65°c. In the case of using an oil boiler alongside it, that could be used for the uplift, if the controls are programmed for that purpose.
I think with so much talk about renewables, going greener, RHI etc. there should be much more in the way of features comparing heat pumps to other systems, so as to educate the uninitiated heating trade.
I installed a Hitachi multi room air-to-air heat pump system in my place over 10 years ago. It heats my living room and my bedroom, and it also cools them in summer. That’s a feature I think that needs to be better advertised.
Many heat pump systems will cool as well as heat. No other heating systems can do that.
There are several other articles about radiators. People are stuck in the 20th century with boilers and rads, pumping a volume of water around a circuit throughout a building to panel heat emitters, that are often unsightly and badly located on walls.
Over 25 years ago I installed balanced flue gas convector heaters to my apartment. These gas-fired appliances provide instant heat, circulate the warmed air very quickly, and heat the whole room from a single appliance, rather than having several rads for the job.
I’ve had no major service issues, no water scaling problems, no water leaks, no risk of freeze up if I go away on holiday in the middle of winter, and the best bit is that it is completely independently controllable. As far as I was concerned, it was a no-brainer. They still serve me well, and have saved me a lot of money in running costs over the years.
You definitely should do a feature on balanced-flue gas convectors for people that build extensions, do flat conversions, or want to heat old houses with tall ceilings (like mine).
There are plenty of commercial applications out there too, where running a gas pipe only to a balanced flue gas heater is a lot simpler installation than a water circuit from a boiler with a load of fancy controls. People need to ‘think outside the box’!
P. Skeet, via email
Misuse of privileged access?
I have just finished a telephone conversation with a very upset, 82-year-old widowed customer. We have looked after her gas appliances for many years, fitting a replacement around six years ago. She never misses an annual service and is more than happy with the boiler she presently has installed.
Imagine her distress when being told by a smart meter installer that, because her gas boiler is over six years old, she should have a new one fitted and that he would arrange for her to be contacted by someone from the ‘gas company’ to give her a quote.
This is a shocking misuse of privileged access in my opinion. Needless to say my customer informed the representative that she uses a local engineer, however she still received a call from ‘the gas company’ offering her a visit to discuss her new boiler.
One wonders what incentives are offered to trick customers into unnecessarily purchasing replacement boilers?
T. Sharpe, via email
If there's an issue close to your heart, or problem you want to address, we welcome all correspondence from readers. Please get in touch by emailing HVP Editor Joe Dart at firstname.lastname@example.org.