Electric heating

Does anyone use electric heating exclusively in their house - especially if you have an air to air heat pump? I’d like to hear your comments.

I have an air to air split level system that is OK, but I am not a massive fan and would not have it again I do not think.

I also have electric UFH that has individual room control to augment the air heating. I am looking closely at this and definitely think there is a better way. Presently I am heating 25mm thick natural limestone slabs, so it is in effect a flat storage heater. As the slabs are thick and the cabling is pretty small, the floor does not get much better than ‘cozy warm’ and of course it never gets hot enough to kick off a thermostat, so once switched on, it is consuming electricity at full blast until switched off.

I am looking to ditch the UFH and using the cabling for electric radiators instead. I have bought a little 2KW oil filled radiator to test the idea and am quite impressed by its performance. It certainly heats a bedroom quicker and warmer than UFH - OK, the floor is no longer warm, but my answer to that is a pair of fluffy moccasins :grinning: It is hooked up to a little Schneider meter that shows on an average day, with the thermostat set to give a small room 19 degrees, it uses far less than its rated 2Kwh of electricity.

Now I am working on an 80€ 3.5Kw blower heater from Mr Bricolage with great results! The stat is set so that the blower blasts heat out for a minute or so and cuts off for a few minutes. Dead cheap and warms a room in no time, BUT, noisy, bulky and not attractive… :roll_eyes:

The UFH definitely has to go, but what to replace it? I’d be interested on comments from someone who has been through all the possibilities.

Thanks, Adam

I am interested to know why you are disilusioned with the air to air system, Adam.

I have those in 2 rooms and they have worked fine but the later one started playing up a few weeks ago. Less than a couple of years since inatallation the company were not interested unless I paid out 170 € for them to come out and check it.

When I switch it on in the morning it blows for some time but then stops well before the set temp is reached. I am experimenting with setting the temp higher and then manually switching it down later.

Ironically, the older unit is working really well and heats a similar sized room within half an hour from cold.

I should point out that, since being told of the need to clean the filters each month, they have otherwise worked much better.

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I have the air to air split level system heat pump in my new house and am very satisfied by it indeed and by the lower electricity costs than previous water filled convector radiators in a 500 year old house and they were fairly new as well. My house now never gets below 15°C during the night without any sort of heating on and its -1°C with a thick frost here by the Med this morning too and so far I have only used any sort of heating hardly at all this winter and got a refund back from Engie a couple of days after the catch up invoice from July was issued. I do have radiators in all the other rooms but have only used the heated towel ones in the two bathrooms when my grandson came and had a bath and the one in my bedroom when I felt unwell the other evening but only for an hour on a low 18°C setting. My water is also piping hot from the tank that is on auto all the time as it shouldnot be switched off.

I don’t really have any relevant experience myself Adam - but I would be interested in knowing more about the limitations of air-to-air heat pumps as you see them (we heat the house almost entirely with wood, which I love, but we’re considering moving in the next year or so, and I had heard good reports elsewhere on air-to-air heat pumps as opposed to air-to-water).

I know of two neighbours who are disillusioned with their air to air systems and have went back to log stove and warm air systems citing costs
One system has only been in a year so relatively new, next time I see them I will ask for more information why.

Some people are not happy because the systems have been installed in unsuitable properties from what I have heard and read. The system is not for every type of construction.

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Same here, I always switch both off before bed, and the re-heat time in the morning normally is around half an hour to be comfortable.

I gave up on logs when carting and cutting became too much of a chore, but was glad that I didn’t get rid of the cheminee when we had a long power cut a few weeks ago. I did need to go scrabbling around outside to collect some logs from under their covers, but the experience has now taught me to be prepared. Logs and kindling along with firewater and matches are now ready for instant use. :wink: :smiley:

BTW @Geof_Cox I did a comparison of electricity expenditure in the first year after the change and we paid less overall than with electric and buying logs before. So financially worth it as well as more convenient and cleaner. :joy:

Relating to my own current difficulties with air to air. It is not clear from where the thermostat takes its reading in order to decide to stop blowing. The heat is directed to the floor and if there are objects there blocking diffusion into the room the heat may rise to the unit therefore giving a false inpression to it that the room has reached the required temperature. I am sure it is more complicated than that but just a theory I am working on.

My partner was told by our local heating person that air source heat pumps were not appropriate for his little “garçonière”. We haven’t asked yet about our main house and I suspect they may not be suitable here either but don’t know for sure. We have mainly wood with a traditional burner plus electric radiators upstairs,

Yes - I enjoy it at present but our next move will be to a smaller and easier home - proper retirement - precisely because I’m aware i won’t be able to maintain my current level of physical activity forever.

Actually we get half of our wood free from our own trees and the other half free or at modest cost from friends and neighbours, so whatever we do it’s bound to cost us more in money - but much, much less in effort!

We had a choice from our farmer providor. 1 metre logs that he and his wife would stack for us from their chassis trailer, or cut logs that were delivered in his tipper trailer and left in a great big blocking pile that took me more than a day to move and stack, but, of course, did not need shifting and cutting later. We opted for the metre ones as being the, slightly, lesser of 2 evils.

@AngelaR I looked up ‘garconniere’ and saw that it meant bachelor pad but other options offered by WordReference, were far more rude, the least offensive was described as ‘chambre pour amours libertines’ :rofl:

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I don’t miss having a wood burner one bit. All that stacking, cutting, carting indoors of the wood, cleaning the stove out and having the sweep upon the roof fidding with the metal chapeau which a couple of times was not refixed and flew off down the garden and the mental issue after having sparks ignite some pine tar many years ago,that fell down into the fireplace and I called the pompiers who checked the combles and tore the steel flue out to make sure, I have never felt safe with a fire burning even though it was enclosed but living alone, it scared me for life of real flames and of course there is the carbon monoxide issue too. However, when the family were all living at home, it was a comforting sight to have a fire going whilst we sat in front of it but after they had moved out, I just could not be bothered any longer and replaced the radiators for move economic convectors programmed to a central box for hours to come on and off etc.

The other thing with the wood burner was my annual visit each August up the gently sloping roof to clean the chimney from top to bottom with my long brush. With a house built into rising ground (only a step ladder needed to get onto it) access was easy, but removing the heavy concrete ‘table’ to one side was becoming a dangerous procedure as I approached 80. Anticipating power cuts this winter I had a professional come in and do the job properly with a vacuum from below. Only 15 minutes, nice and clean and only €70, no contest. :grinning:

We have loads of wood, both on the previous stack and from our own dead trees, so I don’t rule out an occasional comfort fire now and again just for the sheer pleasure of it though.

we have our air-to-air heaters set during the winter to ~26o and they provide sufficient heat to mean that we do not have to sit indoors with our coats on - or even jumpers for that matter. The heaters themselves have a “waft” feature both side to side and up and down as required to ensure the heat reaches all parts of the room (particularly in the combined lounge/diner/kitchen area which is of some size).
The advantage we have perhaps is that this is a new build of wood panel construction with good insulation in the floor, external walls, ceiling (its a single storey building) floor and internal walls so it does not take long to heat and maintain.
We do have an old Godin wood burner which we use in the winter mainly but the heaters are turned off usually when the fire is lit.

I don’t have a problem with using a wood stove, wood gets delivered already cut into 35cm lengths, two min to load a wheelbarrow and straight into the log stacker at the side of the fire.
The fire burns that completely that it only takes 10min every two weeks to clean out and it’s swept for €65 once a year.
Our cottage is late 16th century with 3-4 feet thick walls built on soil with tile on concrete floors, the ceilings are 18" thick concrete as it used to have another storey on top, unless I panel all the walls with insulation, rip up all the floors and put in UFH there isn’t much I can do with it, when the loft conversion is done it will get very insulated upstairs, but until it does there’s not a lot we can do.
Once the house heats up we run the fire during the day and it looses very little heat over night, maybe 1.5C so we don’t need to stack the fire overnight.

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Yes, same for us. We used to have 1m sticks delivered and we cut them and split them ourselves but in recent years we too have them delivered already split and cut to 35cm lengths and stack them on pallets in the hangar. Our large circular saw and splitter are now all but redundant…

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Ours have that too, but not very efficient at doing so. We were assured that it would waft almost 90 degrees to the side before we bought but nowhere near that. As long as the thermostats are doing their job properly it doesn’t really matter as the rooms involved at not large or particularly high and the house construction is of very well insulated prefabricated panels made locally.

Our units are Mitsubishi, out of interest @graham what is the manufacturer of yours?

The Daikin room air conditioner range

That is a typical electric UFH system in my experience.

@David_Spardo - I had Mitsubishi units in my office in the UK. The amount of side-to-side and up-and-down louvre movement could be set by the remote control. I can’t remember the precise commands but it may be worth referring to the manual if you still have it - or an internet search if not.

This is a quite crucial part, now most instlers in the UK would fit an outside temperature sensor to set how fast the heat pump and fans should run if its only just short of the set point then slower than if there is a big difference, older single speed are just on or off which is where we get differences in efficiemcy.
As buildings and orientations height of the land etc its tricky to compare the same units as the installers who may not plan the system properly could cause the owners problems. Same with wood burners, no two chimneys are the same so you get different performance for the same stove