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Is a Heat Pump Better Than a Central Heating Boiler?

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Heat Pump or Central Heating?
Heat Pump or Central Heating Boiler?
Is the traditional heat pump a viable alternative to the HR boiler? Because the UK does not want to become dependent on foreign gas, buildings and houses must be heated in a different way. Climate change is also mentioned as an argument to stop gas and switch to a heat pump.
 
A lot of things and figures about this subject are confusing. This makes it difficult to weigh up the facts and the reality of today. After all, a heat pump costs a lot of money and results in some renovations in your house. Moreover, a heat pump requires quite a lot of electricity. What is the influence of this on the environment and climate? Is it true that a heat pump is better than a HR boiler?
 
In short, there are still plenty of questions about the miracle device. Let’s take a closer look at the heat pump.

What is a heat pump?

A heat pump is a reversed refrigerator system. A refrigerant (F gas) absorbs heat from the air, soil or water. This gas is then pressurised, making it liquid and hot, up to around 40 to 55 ° C, depending on the efficiency. This temperature is great to use for underfloor heating or low temperature radiators.
 
The heat pump looks like a boiler. The heated refrigerant is brought in from outside through pipes, where the heat is transferred to the central heating water or a boiler.

The power consumption of the heat pump

A heat pump uses quite a lot of power to pressurise tubing and transport to the coolant. In many cases, the power consumption of households will double. For a 2-persons household, for example, the current electricity consumption is around 2,700 kWh. A heat pump needs about as much to work.
 
Exactly how much a heat pump consumes electricity depends on many things. If the heat pump is installed correctly, the house is well insulated, what is the highest achievable yield, how large your house is and how much heat you need, are different factors to take into consideration. As a result, the actual consumption can always be higher or lower.
 
The high power consumption of heat pumps has consequences for the power supply. A double amount of electricity must be transported through the country. This requires, for example, additional power cables that many people do not want to have in their backyards. This can cost billions, which ordinary people have to pay in taxes.

CO2 emissions: does the heat pump help with climate change?

The heat pump is often mentioned as the savior of climate change. CO2 is released during the combustion of gas. By living gas-free and purchasing a heat pump, you would therefore contribute to climate change. To what extent is this correct?
 
What many people don’t know is that heat pumps also need fossil fuels to function. This is because a heat pump uses electricity, which for the most part (80%) currently comes from power stations that mainly use coal and gas. A small part of the electricity production comes from sustainable sources such as solar panels and wind turbines.
 
Windmills and solar panels will be installed, but the share of renewable energy will not increase rapidly due to doubling the energy consumption. While we are encouraged to get rid of the gas, we cannot do without gas (or other fossil fuels) to produce enough electricity for the heat pump! 
 
During the production and combustion of gas, approximately 2.2 kg of CO2 per cubic meter is released (source). CO2 production is also emitted. During production, the electricity from our socket has emitted just over 65 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour. The CO2 released during the production and installation of wind turbines and solar panels is included in this; the large amount of CO2 that is released during the incineration of biomass (waste and wood residues) is not included in the official figures.

How much does a heat pump save?

If you want to compare a heat pump with an HR boiler, you have to compare them fairly. Unfortunately that does not happen in practice.
 
In most houses, high-efficiency boilers do not work at all as they should. As a result, they use 10-30% more gas than they actually need. In addition, many people have not yet applied radiator foil and other simple measures to make their central heating system work optimally. The national gas consumption is therefore actually higher than it should be. Nonetheless, organisations use the figures of this gas consumption from reality to compare them with heat pumps. The power consumption of the heat pump corresponds to a correctly installed and optimally functioning device.

Are refrigerants bad for the climate and the environment?

Heat pumps work with refrigerants. These refrigerants are also located in air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers. In the past, so-called CFCs, chlorofluorocarbons, were used for this. These were refrigerants that later became known to attack the ozone layer. A ban came on that.
 
As a successor to the CFCs, the industry invented a new tool, namely HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons). These are made from petroleum and natural gas. Hydrocarbons are made in oil refineries where CO2 is released when pollution occurs. These substances are poorly biodegradable.
 
Anyone who has a heat pump is therefore actually dependent on the chemical industry, which causes environmental pollution worldwide and makes a major contribution to global CO2 emissions. It is not known how much CO2 is released during the production of refrigerants. The effect on the environment if these substances end up in large sizes is also unknown.

Is the heat pump warming up the earth?

It is clear, however, that HFC gases are very bad for global warming. HFCs are generally 250 to 15,000 times stronger than CO2 and remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. 
 
The HFC gases used in heat pumps (such as R-134A) are often 1000 to 4000 times stronger than CO2 per kilo. This is called the Global Warming Potential (GWP).
 
How many kilos of refrigerant a heat pump contains depends on the capacity and length of the pipe through which the fluid flows. Low-heat heat pumps, suitable for a well-insulated terraced house, have around 1 to 3 kg of refrigerant.
 
Suppose a heat pump needs 2 kg of refrigerant that has a GWP of 2000. Then this is comparable to 4000 kg of CO2!
 
As long as the gas remains trapped there is nothing to worry about, but as soon as it is released into the air you will largely lose the small saving compared to the HR boiler! That is why heat pumps must be installed properly so that the chance of leakage is as small as possible. The gas is bad for your health and you don’t want to have it in a tightly insulated house!
 
Moreover, nothing has eternal life. The refrigerants will someday have to be processed. If it is 99% pure, it can be reprocessed into a fully-fledged refrigerant. That also costs energy and CO2 emissions, but how much is unknown. Refrigerant that cannot be reused enters the incinerator and ends up in the air, partially or completely.
 

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Energy Saving

Pipe Insulation – Save Money On Gas!

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Insulated Pipes
With pipe insulation it is very easy to save gas. There are many heating pipes in every home, all those tubes radiate a lot of heat. By insulating a few meters of pipe, you can save a lot of energy, heat loss is reduced thanks to pipe insulation. It is very easy to clamp around the heating pipes and saves a lot.

How much does pipe insulation save?

Many studies and tests have shown that pipe insulation helps against heat loss. Pipe insulation saves around 2 pounds per meter per year (that is 3 m³ gas). If you know that pipe insulation costs around 1 to 2 pounds per meter, it is clear that this is a very smart and profitable investment. You only have to apply the insulation once, while your energy costs continue to fall!
 
You can easily insulate 10 to 20 meters in an average home. That saves up to £40- a year. Make sure you insulate both pipes (both supply and return).
There are different thicknesses for sale between 9 and 35 millimetres. The thicker the insulation, the more it saves.
 
Why should you insulate heating pipes?
Pipe insulation saves gas, but also helps prevent freezing.

Which heating pipes should you insulate and where?

It is not necessary to provide all heating pipes with pipe insulation. You only have to insulate the heating pipes in unheated rooms. For example, think of an unheated attic, storage spaces, the crawl space or the garage. The heat that is released there cannot be used effectively. Another advantage is that pipe insulation also helps to prevent freezing of the central heating pipes.
 
Insulate both the supply and return lines. Both pipes radiate heat, so insulate them both. Central heating pipes can be 15 to 35 mm wide. Measure this first before you buy pipe insulation.

Types of insulation

There are different types of pipe insulation for sale. You can get standard insulation at the hardware store. Online you have more choice from different brands, which are often of better quality.
 
For example, you have Climaflex. This brand offers sturdy insulation that easily fits around the central heating pipes for an affordable price. Climaflex also has self-adhesive pipe insulation, which makes it easier to apply. 
 
Another brand is Armaflex. This also offers thicker insulation. You can save more with this, but it is not always possible to fit this thick insulation well around the pipes. This is for example because the central heating pipes are sometimes close to each other or close to a wall. This could cause you problems with thick insulation.
 
Thinner insulation may save a little less, but it is a lot cheaper. And yet you can save tens of pounds per year with it.

Climaflex self-adhesive pipe insulation

You can get started with normal pipe insulation, but it is easier to use self-adhesive pipe insulation. This is already pre-cut and has a self-adhesive edge. That way you can close the insulation easily and quickly. Self-adhesive pipe insulation is available from £ 1.80 per meter.
 
Pipe insulation is available in many types of cross-sections. The chance is that you want to apply insulation to pipes that contain bends. That can be difficult to cut. If you want to process the pipe insulation nicely, you can also buy ready-made bends and t-pieces. Very easy! The insulation is resistant to high temperatures. The material can handle temperatures up to 95 ° C well. And the insulation of many brands is flame-resistant.
 
For more energy saving advice, check out our other energy saving articles: https://consumer-rights.org/category/energy/energy-saving/

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Energy Saving

Water-Saving Shower Heads

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Water-saving Shower Head
Water-Saving Shower Heads
The water-saving shower head makes saving energy easy without being limited in your daily life. Replace your shower head with a smart alternative and save on both gas and water. On average, you even save £ 85,- compared to a standard shower head.
 
Water-saving shower heads are no longer the pathetic jets of the past! Today, many shower brands offer modern, economical shower heads. Thanks to the latest technologies you hardly notice any difference with a normal shower head.
 
But not every shower head is really as economical as it sometimes seems. Many brands, stores and websites don’t tell you how much water their touted “economical” showers consume. That way you spend money but you save nothing! What is actually economical for a shower? And which water-saving shower suits your wishes?

What is a water-saving shower head?

A water-saving shower head, also known as a saving shower head, consumes 40% to 60% less water than a normal shower head. This is due to a built-in flow limiter. This limits the amount of water that can flow through the shower head. But that does not mean that the shower is less comfortable, in the least.

Water-saving shower head technology

New technology makes water-saving shower heads better and better. As a result, you experience the same comfort, while using less water and energy. Well-known brands such as Grohe and Hansgrohe apply these new techniques.
 
Hansgrohe uses technology in many showers where water is mixed with air (Air Power). This makes the water droplets fuller and stronger, so that it looks like you are standing under a normal shower. But you save a lot of water that no longer needs to be heated.
 
Another example is the Dreamspray technology that Grohe has on all showers. This technology ensures that the same amount of water always flows through each nozzle. Many people experience that as comfortable.
 
And many showers have anti-scale technology, with which lime can easily be wiped away with a cloth or even with your hands. So no more clogged nozzles!

How much do you save with a water-saving shower head?

A saving shower not only reduces energy consumption, but also saves a huge amount of water. This is compared between a normal shower with average water consumption and a water-saving shower head is 40% more efficient.

When is a water-saving shower really economical?

Unfortunately, many showers are called water-saving, while they are actually not as economical at all. This is, for example, because showers are called water-saving while they use only a little less than average. Whether showers with a higher water consumption than average are compared to a normal consumption and then called water saving.

Compare water-saving shower heads

Do you want to compare water-saving shower heads or are you looking for a test? Unfortunately a test says nothing about how you will experience a certain shower. Only by properly reading all information, viewing images and checking reviews can you find out more about whether a certain shower suits you.
 
Did you know that you can buy an A-brand water-saving shower for as little as £15? A water-saving shower head costs little money but provides a high saving! That is why this is one of the best ways to save on energy.

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Energy

Efficient Household Appliances – Fridge-Freezers

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Energy Efficient Fridge-Freezer
Save up to £975 with an energy-efficient fridge-freezer combination!
 
The fridge freezer combination is in the majority of peoples homes nowadays, but this device consumes a lot of power. Did you know that the fridge-freezer combination is in the top 3 largest power consumers?
 
The older your fridge-freezer is, the more power it consumes. A 15-year-old fridge-freezer with average capacity uses around 450 kWh of energy. The new energy-efficient fridge-freezer combinations only need 150 kWh; that is 70% more economical.
 
An economical fridge-freezer combination saves around £65 a year. That could add up to 1/3 of your monthly energy bill. You save even more in the long term: the fridge-freezer combination has an average lifespan of 15 years. All these years this will continue to consume power and this will be costing you your money so you want the most efficient one available if long-term saving is your goal.
 
In this long lifetime, an efficient fridge-freezer combination therefore saves £975 in electricity. And only with one device: you can see how much you save if you replace all your appliances with the most economical variant. 

Can a cheap fridge-freezer combination also be energy efficient?

The cheapest fridge-freezer combinations are usually not the most economical. Over the long term, a cheap fridge-freezer combination costs more money than an economical one with a slightly higher price.
 
Currently, fridge-freezer combinations are sold with the A +, A ++ and A +++ labels. The more plus signs behind the A, the more efficient the device is. For fridge-freezer combinations, A +++ means that it is the most energy-efficient.
 
Many people think that the differences between the energy labels are not that great because of the A in the energy label. But appearances are deceiving! Did you know that A + uses twice as much power as A +++? That varies by £500 over an entire lifespan of the appliance.
 
It is true that economical fridge-freezer combinations have a higher price, but then the money saved in the long-term is what counts.

Economical fridge-freezers and defrosting

Thanks to the latest technology you never have to defrost the freezer (No Frost). So you not only save a lot of money, but also a lot of tedious work!
 
The energy consumption of the freezer increases as more ice forms. A layer of ice of 1 cm increases the power consumption by 10%. 
Most people hate defrosting the freezer and therefore opt for a No Frost, which keeps the moisture out of the freezer and prevents ice from forming.
 
Do you not mind having to defrost your freezer? Then you can also consider another fridge-freezer combination. They are often also somewhat cheaper. Many varieties offer Low Frost, a technology that reduces the formation of ice and reduces the need to defrost. These fridge-freezer combinations also have a lower power consumption, as long as you keep the freezer ice-free!

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