Couple switches from heat pumps to LPG.
In March 2019, Bob and Denny Moody invested in a five-bed detached property in the village of Speen, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Buckinghamshire. The property needed a lot of work, but the couple was not afraid of taking on a big project. Excited to transform it into their dream home, they moved into a rental property nearby while it underwent a major renovation.
Why they opted for an air-source heat pump
"We wanted to start from scratch, so we knocked almost everything down,” said Bob Moody. “In fact, there were only three original walls left standing! Aside from completely modernising it, we wanted to make sure our home would be efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective for us in the future. That’s why we ripped out the oil system that was there and installed a renewable air-source heat pump (ASHP). The idea was to become greener whilst enjoying the benefits of a lower cost energy source.
“We did all the right things to make sure we had the perfect set up for an ASHP. We made sure the house was extremely well insulated with cavity wall and loft insulation. We also installed underfloor heating as well as brand new, airtight windows.”
In December 2019, after all the renovation work and months of living in a rental, the couple was excited to finally move in. However, just six months later, they had ripped out their ASHP and switched to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Why their ASHP “had to go”
“The technology simply didn’t work,” said Bob. “We were freezing and had to sit in our living room with blankets on because we couldn’t get any proper heat. Upstairs was a particular problem. Whilst we have underfloor heating downstairs, we have traditional radiators upstairs, and these would never get more than lukewarm at best. We also couldn’t get sufficient hot water upstairs. We were beyond disappointed, and to make it worse we were spending about £280 a month on our heating alone – it was astronomical. We’d spent all this money on the renovation plus £13k for an ASHP, and we were sat in a cold house that was costing us a fortune to run. We thought, what have we done?”
The couple’s ASHP was properly installed and calibrated to meet the needs of the property, and they were advised to keep it running 24/7 for maximum efficiency and a consistent comfortable temperature.
“In this country the temperature can change drastically,” added Bob, “and we were genuinely cold and needed more heat. We tried turning up the thermostat, but it took eight hours to go up by one degree, it was ridiculous. That’s when we started supplementing it with a wood burner, which went against everything we were trying to achieve with an efficient heating system. By the end of March we said, enough is enough.”
Why oil wasn’t an option
The Moodys had originally considered oil, as they had been using it in their rental property while the renovation work was taking place. However, whilst it was functional, they were put off by smell, the noisy boiler and the fact that the tank was in full view in the garden.
“We didn’t want that in our new house,” said Bob. “Aside from the noise, my wife is a keen gardener and we didn’t want a big tank in the way, or the constant smell of oil. It’s also a high carbon and messy fuel, which put us off. We spoke to a heating engineer, and he said LPG would be the best option for us – and he was right. Not only is it cleaner than oil, but it delivers on cost and performance.”
Why LPG was the perfect fit
“We installed LPG in June 2020 and haven’t looked back,” said Bob. “The heating works! Plus, our monthly bills have come down by a third, which is a massive saving. It is by far the most cost-effective option for us.
“Before this project we had been on mains gas for 20 years, and with LPG it feels like we’re back on it. We’ve got all the same benefits including instant heat and hot water. The house warms up so quickly, it’s wonderful.”
The LPG tank was installed discreetly underground in their back garden. This is fitted with auto-ordering technology that monitors their usage. It alerts the supplier when gas levels fall below 40%, and automatically arranges a top up. “It’s brilliant,” said Bob. “I don’t have to phone anyone, our supplier just turns up when they need to and top it up and I don’t have to worry about it. In fact, the team have been great right from the start. They’ve been clear, quick to respond, really supportive and they’ve given us a competitive rate – we’re very happy.
“All in all, if I were to move again, I’d have no hesitation in putting LPG in. I’ve already fully recommended it to others in the village.”
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