Cornish home makes the switch from oil to LPG to cut costs, improve carbon footprint and boost security
In November 2020 pensioners Janice and Philip Whitelock found their dream bungalow tucked away down a scenic, quiet country lane in Camelford, North Cornwall. The three-bed, off-grid bungalow was the perfect property for them. It didn’t need any major work, and it was surrounded by a beautiful garden full of the natural wildlife they love.
Running on oil, the bungalow had a relatively new boiler that was just two years old. Despite this, the couple were determined oil wasn’t the right solution for them and made the decision to switch to LPG – a move that would save them money, improve their carbon footprint and give them peace of mind for the future.
‘No’ to oil
“There’s a whole host of reasons why we didn’t want oil in this property,” said Janice. “The expense, the inconvenience, the lack of security, protecting our wildlife – these all played a big part in our decision.
“At our age, peace of mind really is a top priority for us, and with oil you just don’t have that security of supply. We want to know that we will always have the fuel we need, no matter what. You don’t get that with oil, plus the price fluctuates all the time, which adds another level of uncertainty.
“Another thing we’ve learnt over the years, is that oil tanks really don’t cope well with weather changes, and the plastic can crack when it goes from hot to cold. Where we live, we get such a variety of weather – one day it can be blazing hot, and the next it can be freezing. Even though our oil tank was pretty new, we could already see hairline fractures. It’s a genuine worry, because you don’t want oil to spill, or seep out. Our wildlife is so precious to us, and we’re not prepared to put it at risk.”
“We love spending time in our garden, and the smell of oil can be really unpleasant, even if you’re quite a distance away,” added Philip. “The life span of an oil tank isn’t great either, plus you have the added worry about fuel theft, which happens quite often in the country.
“Ultimately, we’re not going to move again, so we wanted to make sure we had a reliable, long-term energy supply that we could really trust. Aside from everything else, we knew oil wasn’t very sustainable and we wanted to find a lower carbon option that would reduce our environmental footprint and make our bungalow more futureproof.”
‘No’ to electricity and heat pumps
Janice and Philip spent time exploring the best energy solutions for their bungalow and looked at the pros and cons of electricity as well as air source heat pumps. They decided that electricity wasn’t a reliable enough option for them, and that heat pumps required too many alterations to the property, which is something they hadn’t budgeted for, and weren’t prepared take on.
“Where we live, we have overground electric cables, and there is simply no guarantee that they will weather the storms we have around here,” said Janice. “We just don’t have the proper infrastructure for everything to be electric. All it needs is for one tree to fall, and we’d be out of power. That’s not reliable enough for us and we don’t want to live in fear of being cut off.
“We did look at air source heat pumps, but the cost was too prohibitive. To make our bungalow suitable, we would have had to make so many alterations. We would have needed to change all our radiators, or get underfloor heating, which would have meant ripping up all the concrete flooring. It would have caused complete destruction to our home. Plus, the running and installation costs weren’t attractive to us at all.”
‘Yes’ to LPG
Janice and Philip decided LPG was the perfect solution for their bungalow, and it was the most cost effective one too. With LPG being a reliable, abundant energy source, they could be safe in the knowledge they would always have the gas they need.
“We’ve actually switched from oil to LPG once before, so we’ve already experienced the benefits,” said Philip. “In our last property it made such a difference. Our annual running costs were superb, and our system was so efficient. It was just a no brainer to do it all again. “It’s a much more secure and economical solution for our home. Our bills are lower, and our tank is far more robust. We’ve also cut our carbon and it makes us happy to know we’re doing our bit to help the environment. We know that renewable green gas is on the horizon too, and it’s great to know that we’ve got the option to become greener in the future without having to change any of our heating set up.”
Janice added: “I just feel so much more secure with LPG. Unlike oil, there are much tighter regulations around LPG installations and each time we get our tank filled up, the system gets checked, so we always know everything is ok. That’s the peace of mind we’re looking for. We’ve always got the gas we need, and best bit is, I never have to wait for a hot bath anymore. The heat is instant, and it’s absolutely wonderful!”
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