Following the recent independent report commissioned by OFTEC about the suitability of renewable heating for rural homes, heating manufacturer Ariston assures that renewables can work in tandom with existing systems to produce results.

The report highlighted the outcomes of replacing an existing oil boiler with a heat pump, saying that “unless heat pumps operate at their highest efficiency rating, running costs will rise dramatically due to higher electricity consumption, making their high installation costs hard to justify”.

It also calculated that while a ground source heat pump could reduce fuel bills by £113 per year, an air source heat pump would be £311 more expensive to run each year than an oil condensing boiler.

However, Ariston has emphasised that there are renewable products on the market which ensure households in off-gas areas do not have to replace an oil boiler in order to benefit from renewable energy.

The energy efficient NUOS heat pump water heater can be added to a heating system by replacing the existing indirect cylinder, providing the benefit of renewable hot water.

With a CoP of 2.8, the NUOS is capable of raising the water temperature to 55°C with just the heat pump (a back-up immersion is present to bring the temperature to 65°C) making it suitable for off gas properties.

Jeremy Hawksley, director general of OFTEC, said: “OFTEC supports any initiative to add a renewable heat source to an oil heating system, providing the installation is done professionally. However, using a heat pump solely to provide domestic hot water would be a costly investment with a long payback. On average it costs less than £200 per annum to provide domestic hot water for a three bedroom home, but the addition of a heat pump could possibly be justified in a larger house or commercial building. Solar thermal is probably a more cost effective way of providing domestic hot water from a renewable source in conjunction with an oil boiler.’