Solar thermal systems
Installation costs of a solar thermal heating system are generally quite expensive as you have to factor in scaffolding, plumbing and the required moderations to your roof. But, for the truly off grid home, a solar thermal heating system is a fantastic renewable heating option, especially if a section of your roof is south facing.
Solar thermal panels don’t take up too much room on your roof and can provide you with hot water throughout the year in a very efficient way. They work by circulating water through tubes in the roof panel which are designed to conduct the heat from the sun and pump the warm water through a cylinder and heat the water for use in your house. Solar thermal systems typically work well with warm water underfloor heating as they don’t require particularly hot water to heat a space.
A solar thermal system is a great way to reduce your heating costs but if you’re living in the UK you will usually need to install a traditional boiler, or one of the other off grid systems listed here, to top up your annual heating and hot water requirement and make sure you’re not left in the cold!
Why is the future electric heating?
Recent developments in technology and government policy are paving the way for an ultra-efficient electric future. Just like cars, the future of heating is going be electric! Electric heating systems such as electric boilers, electric radiators and electric underfloor heating already have some amazing benefits such as very fast heat up times and close to 100% efficiency at the point of use. But until now, the running costs have always been perceived as quite high when directly compared with gas alternatives and, historically, new properties planning to use solely electric power have been heavily penalised by the energy and planning assessors because the outdated SAP calculations do not take into account the recent efforts to decarbonise the electric grid.
But, on the bright side, all of this is about to change with the UK governments new focus on the Future Homes Standard and SAP 10 (you can read more about this on our SAP 10 & Future Homes Standard blog here). When SAP 10 comes into effect, electricity will be classed as low carbon energy which means homes planning to solely use electric heating will no longer be penalised by the energy assessors and electric power will in fact become more favourable than gas.
What electric heating options do you have?
Electric radiators are a more advanced alternative to gas powered central heating radiators. An electric radiator is much easier and cheaper to install, you don’t have to install any pipes, vents or flues and there are no planning issues or permissions needed. All you need is a qualified electrician or a competent person to connect your radiator to the existing electrical supply.
ThermoSphere’s electric radiator range consists of oil filled electric radiators, electric glass flat panel heaters and cost effective electric convector radiators. Every electric radiator in the range benefits from a digital timer to schedule the times that you’d like your heating to come on and switch off. This automatic heating schedule is easy to set up and contributes to the energy efficiency of your heating system by allowing you to “zone” your heating systems with different timer settings per room. This means that, unlike gas central heating, you can easily have the heating on or off in different rooms at the same time which prevents waste and increases efficiency.
An electric radiator is 100% efficient at the point of use. This means that 100% of the electricity that you put into the radiator comes out as heat energy. Find out more about ThermoSphere’s range of energy efficient electric radiators.
Electric underfloor heating
Radiant heating from the floor up is the absolute best way to heat a living space. Electric underfloor heating is much thinner than a traditional warm water underfloor heating system, takes a fraction of the time to install and costs a lot less to buy and have installed under your floors.
An electric underfloor heating system is actually quite simple. It consists of a roll of electric cable which is either laid in an underfloor heating and decoupling membrane, or a roll of self-adhesive mesh with the cable pre-spaced. The heating cable is laid on the floor and the floor finish, usually tiles or engineered timber is laid over the top. The heating cables power cord or “cold tail” is connected to a room thermostat which monitors the temperature of your floor and the temperature of your room to maintain a comfortable temperature while using as little energy as possible.
Running costs of an electric floor heating system, and electric heating in general, have long been a point of concern as electricity does cost more per KW of energy than gas. But, if you set up a heating schedule so that the heating is only on when you need it, factor in the fast heat up time, lower installation costs and the fact that there are no ongoing maintenance costs, and electric cheating system can cost you less overall in the long run. Additionally, if you have solar PV panels on your house your energy is free!
ThermoSphere have an electric underfloor heating system for almost any type of floor and you can check out the options.