Property type: Five bedroom barn, built 1660, converted 2000, in Cheshire
Product installed: Ecoforest 5-22 ground source heat pump. Underfloor heating on ground floor, conventional radiators elsewhere.
Installation date: August 2014
In 2014, Cheshire resident Frank Brown replaced his oil boiler with a ground source heat pump from Ice Energy. Below, in his own words, Frank explains why he chose ground source heat pumps and describes his experiences.
"At the time that we converted the barn, between 2000 and 2003, heat pumps were relatively new to the UK market, and for this reason we chose to install an oil-fired boiler . We did, however, opt for underfloor heating on the ground floor, with an eye to the possibility of using a heat pump system at some stage in the future.
"Over the intervening years the price of heating oil rose to ridiculous levels. With the advent of the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), we decided to look again. At first we had difficulty in identifying equipment that was suitable for our size of property (approx 2,200 sq ft), but in 2014 ICE added ECOFOREST to their approved suppliers, and we believe that we were amongst the first in the UK to choose from their range.
"The installation process was relatively straight forward. Careful thought was given to the siting of the heat pump within the house, and the course of the five 50 metre trenches that were used to house the “slinky” pipework. We supervised the work ourselves, hiring a mechanised digger (and driver!) locally, as well as a plumber and electrician. The groundwork was completed within a few days, and although the garden did look a complete mess for a while, it very quickly recovered (see below).
"In view of the switch from an oil boiler (which outputs the central heating water at approx 70 degrees C) to a heat pump (which uses a lower temperature), we carefully calculated the heating requirements of each room. In some cases it was necessary to opt for larger radiators in some of the bedrooms, but by judicious redistribution of the existing equipment any extra costs involved were kept to a minimal level.
"The final commissioning of the system was carried out by ICE, and was successfully completed within a few hours. The house has been gloriously warm throughout the coldest winter months. Moreover our energy bills have plummeted. Any technical problems have been minor, and the ongoing support that we have received from ICE has been excellent."