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Boiler Facts for UK Homes

Most UK homes have boilers to run their central heating system through radiators or in-floor pipes and there are three specific ways in which to categorize the type of system that you have.

Understanding what type of heating system you currently have in your home and how it works, will help you to work out whether you might be better trying to get a more efficient system in order to keep greater control of the cost of heating your house.

You might even find that you are eligible for a free boiler under a government backed scheme such as the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (Domestic RHI).

Government incentives

We will take a look at some boiler facts shortly, but it makes sense to first understand how you might benefit from the government’s commitment to increase the uptake in use of renewable heat in as many UK homes as possible.

The Domestic RHI is about encouraging consumers to switch to heating systems that make use of naturally replenished energy and also help the UK to try and meet its reduction targets in carbon emissions.

The scheme is open to any household in the UK who can meet a set of specific requirements, which starts with an up to date Energy Performance Certificate. This EPC is used as proof that your property is classified as a domestic dwelling, which is a key requirement.

The EPC is also part of a Green Deal Assessment, which is another component in the eligibility requirements of the scheme.

Categorising your heating system

There are three basic ways in which you can categorize your heating system and work out how the heat is currently distributed around your home.

You can look at it by system type, which means that is either a hot water boiler, forced air or electric system. The second category is determining whether you use gas, oil or electricity and finally, you need to establish how the heat is distributed.

The most common systems are radiators in most rooms of the house or you could have underfloor heating or forced air systems for example.

Having categorized your heating system and gained an assessment of the energy efficiency of your property with an EPC, you can then set about working out how you could improve this efficiency and whether you might qualify for some government assistance.

Eligible renewable heating systems

If you are considering switching to a renewable energy system, you will need to check that your chosen system is considered eligible under the Domestic RHI scheme.

There are four distinct heating systems that currently qualify for acceptance under the scheme rules and these are Biomass boilers and biomass pellet stoves, air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and flat plate and evacuated tube solar thermal panels.

Not all systems produced under these categories are actually eligible, so you will have to check that the specific make and model that you are looking at, appears on the Product Eligibility List (PEL) that is associated with the scheme.

Biomass systems

If you are considering a biomass product, you should be aware that all biomass products installed after the scheme launch require an Emission Certificate (RHI)

Your chosen installer should be completely aware of the various scheme requirements of the system that they are proposing to install and if you are unsure, you should request supporting evidence such as test reports, which will help to confirm that all the appropriate standards have been met.

A biomass boiler has to be installed so that it uses solid biomass fuel for heating but do not necessarily have to provide water heating to be eligible, although they may do so. If you are proposing to use a biomass stove, this must have a liquid filled heat exchanger enclosed within the system.

Heat pumps

An air source heat pump must use a compressor that is driven by electricity to qualify under the scheme and must use a liquid to provide space heating.

These systems also have to comply with a minimal seasonal performance factor (SPF) of 2.5. These are the sort of details and qualifying criteria that your chosen installed should be well aware of and will hopefully guide you through the application or compliance process using their knowledge of the scheme.

Whichever type of system you are considering for your property, it is definitely advisable to take the time to learn about what you currently have and how you can improve on your heating system in order to save on your energy costs and also reduce emissions.

Peter has extensive experience with household boilers. Hassle Free Boilers are owned by the success green energy company Ecovision. Dedicated to providing carbon neutral energy throughout the U.K, its boiler division providing a new and unique service to the U.K which offers consumers keenly priced boiler service contracts. Peter enjoys sharing his ideas through blogging.


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