05 September 2021

Pondering heating

 Some time in early May my boiler stopped working. I had to start having my showers cold. But it was May, so that wasn't a big problem. I took my time trying to figure out what was wrong with it, but in the end I had to phone the plumber and he sorted me out. But it was still nice weather, so I just continued showering cold. That way it took me a while to realise the boiler had broken again. Again, the plumber had to come to sort the situation out! And then it happened again. It is clear this piece of equipment is walking on its last legs. And I don't want to replace it with something similar. But what to replace it with?

Being repaired again

It seems that the most environmentally friendly option is a heat pump. I have a friend who has one! But she was not living in the house when that thing was installed. And I am living in mine. These heat pumps are only a good option if your house is really well insulated, and I don't think mine is. It is also recommended you use it to heat underfloor heating, and I don't think my Victorian floors are particularly good for that. And I also spent so much time on my ceilings! I don't want to have to rip half the house apart again. These heat pumps are also prohibitively expensive. I can probably have a new boiler, installed and all, for between £2000 and £3000. A heat pump would run into five figures! I don't have that kind of money lying around.

I don't think in this rainy climate I could use solar panels only to heat the house. They produce most energy when you don't need it for that! And then there is thermo-solar, where the sun does not provide you with electricity but only with hot water, but for some obscure reason, that hot water can only be used as water, so for showering and doing the dishes and such. It seems not possible at this time to run your heating on it. A bummer, as it seems to be beautifully efficient.

I am clearly not done thinking thoughts about this. Another thing I could do is get me a dual boiler that can run on either natural gas or hydrogen. If the hydrogen economy takes off, I could plug straight into it! But I'm not even sure if it will. I will have to look into that.

I hope this elderly boiler will at least work through the winter now. If it doesn't it could be worse; I have two wood burners, after all. And I know that burning wood produces a lot of CO2 as well, but if the other alternative is the house not being heated at all I know what I will choose. I burn waste wood; if I wouldn't burn it I would bring it to the recycling centre. My guess is that the recycling centre then brings it to some power station that burns it for energy as well! So I suppose that wood is going to end up on fire anyway. But if I get a few months to think about it I hope I can come up with something that is both feasible and kind for the climate!

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