Keeping Warm This Winter
PUBLISHED: 00:00 01 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:36 14 July 2015
Money saving tips for keeping the heat up and the bills down.
I hope, as you are reading this, a light dusting of snow is on the ground outside and you are in front of a glowing wood burning stove with a glass of wine to your side. Whether in a terraced town house, a new built mansion or an old Rectory in a village, this is the time when thoughts turn to heating and the inevitable cost. Even with the cutting age of technology applying all its genius to keeping warm, the tips passed down through the generations are still relevant: heavy interlined curtains, draft excluders on doors, roof insulation, lagging your hot water tank, and double glazing. I swore I would never turn into my parents – but when the children/husband leave the doors open, the lights and computers on, I am hurtling round after them, muttering, and turning everything off.
Maybe the last thing on your minds right now will be investing in solar thermal panels for hot water, or PV panels for electricity: after all, it’s December and it feels like its dark the entire time. But if you’ve the head for figures and conscience for renewable energy, then read on: a 3-4 bedroomed house will take 12 panels, which will cost £4,500-£5,000 to install. That might seem quite an outlay – but in Cheshire, this will give an approximate saving of £200-£250 and a Fee-In Tariff subsidy on top of c. £350 each year.
If you are of technological mind, then Intelligent boilers controlled by your smartphone will be up your street: as you’re basking by the pool abroad and hear that, back home, temperatures are plummeting, you can adjust your heating accordingly and congratulate yourself with another cocktail!
Biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps are brilliant for underfloor heating in particular. For wood chip boilers, you’ll need a lot of storage space (though chip is cheaper than pellets); for pellets, they last longer but are more expensive. For all wood-fired boilers, you need to have a survey done by a chimney/biomass expert to check flow, size and lining. For ground source heat pumps, be warned that you need as much space outside to lay the pipes as the space of your house inside.
From a single home, to over 30 buildings: in one the firm’s biggest challenges to date, we are installing a district heating system for an entire village. We’ve advised on everything from how to grow, fell and dry the wood, to installation and operation, and even how to make sure the roads can cope with the timber lorries.
I hope that you are reading this whilst snug and toasty – and, with a small glass beside me, I raise it to you all in a toast for a Merry Christmas and a warming New Year.
Strutt & Parker, 37 Lower Bridge Street, Chester CH1 1RS 01244 354888