Heat Pump or Gas Boiler (notwithstanding a log burner)

Greenmatch Boiler Upgrade Scheme UK.
" The combined system of solar panels and ground source heat pump for a heating capacity of 6 kW and 10kW.

  • The system is designed for heating properties with an area of 100-200 square meters.
  • The number of solar collectors - 4 pcs.
  • The total volume/capacity of double-buffer tanks batteries - 500 litres .
  • Hot water distribution tank volume - 200 litres.
  • The solar panels nominal heating capacity - 6,7 kW.
  • Heat pump output - 10 kW.
  • Equipment’s price - approx. £6,000 ."

We, my wife and I, have been and continue to research and struggle over choosing a heating system. Great insulation, sealing of doors and other sources of escaping or encroaching air aside and that we would have a wood burner in any event we remain at a loss. The above combined solar panel and ground source heat pump offer in the UK is undoubtably a good one given that electricity is required and costs something in the region of three to four times the cost of gas but when used powering the heat pump system can be 400% more efficient. Heating is in fact breaking even with gas - ignoring installation costs - but with solar panels the electricity can be free = free heating subject to maintenance.

Anyone have experience with such a system? What would be the cost of installing such a system in France?

The way I workout what is it worth it, is firstly how long do I stay in the property Secondarily what are my bills for heating on my present system for the rest of my life
It is the old conundrum do I fit an expensive stainless steel exhaust to an old car


Ignore my post. I watched this (This is Why Heat Pumps May NOT Be The Future - YouTube) and just as I have always believed electric cars to be a con our suspicions have been realised. The answer is undoubtably the best insulation possible and solar panels both electricity and water and electric heating … as well as the log burner.

Interesting comment, care to share your thoughts. Its pretty obvious change is needed burning fossil fuels has to be reduced. Yes insulation is key to lowering energy requirements without a doubt as is capturing waste heat/cooling rather than blowing it into the atmoshphere, using solar gains to heat a thermal store where possible.

Where do you live? As huge difference in heating needs. In many area one can get to passive house standards.

And what is the layout of your house? We have 140m2 gîte with a small wood stove placed centrally and heats the whole place extremely efficiently (a new renovation so loads of insulation, high spec windows/doors). There is also a heat pimp for underfloor heating that we use when wood not appropriate.

In our own house the fireplace is in the traditional position, so not half as effective.

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Sorry and appologies but heat pimp made me giggle out loud.


EDF are heat pimps, are they not?


More like Dick Turpin and his gang. Pimp always conjures up 70’s USA with big cars all fur lined, big men with affros and Mr.Big in a club cellar. :smile:

I will leave it unedited! It is daft.


A useful video. Good insulation is key and I suppose if it cannot be improved sufficiently a large solar panel and battery installation is required. Air source pumps do seem to be a problem in houses with neighbours in close proximity. I wonder what the answer is when we cannot continue to burn fossil fuels.

wood will be going well, for quite some time I reckon…

Noise levels from AC and heat pumps has dropped considerably from the older versions due in part to owls, the silent approach of an owl to its prey was biomimicked by design engineers for fan blades and variable speed drives that modulate speed to the load required.

You can also drastically bring the nose levels down with an acoustic enclosure

Yes I remember watching a programme comparing the sound produced by different birds.
This may be a clip from it BBC Two - Natural World, 2015-2016, Super-Powered Owls, Flying silently

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Wouldnt the enclosure need to n
Be quite large to accomodate the condenser units air requirements or effeciency would be greatly reduced. Stopping the noise at source is always the preferred option.

Yes I agree.
Acoustic enclosures don’t have to be massive.

Corona, I have a buddy who is refurbishing a bungalow in the UK. Formally a Cunard Radio Officer and then whatever ships turned them in to when R.O’s were not needed. As pre teens and teenagers we were always buggering about with electronics in one way another. In a garage window he has one small solar panel and one battery. That powers his home made rack of LED work lights for the work bench. For the building, now insulated, he has solar panels on the sth. side of the roof. Not only does he earn money from his yearly electricity production but he heats the place with slimline electric heaters and being constant, in winter, the fabric of the building remains heated. To provide for power cuts (the system is designed such that during power cuts your own elec. doesn’t get to power the property!!) he is going to fit panels to the garage roof to supply the house independently of the main system.
Heat pumps, while efficient, are really only any good if the tubes are in the ground. Extensive works. Costly. The plumbing has to be updated if one has an existing heating system as do the radiators. Costly. Looking closer a backup system is required or advised to provide a decent heating output in areas where it gets cold! Many heat pump systems actually have a heating element in them to overcome this, Ergo, electric heating. If one doesn’t have cavity walls one cannot insulate other than reducing the size of a room with insulated boards. Spray foam in roof spaces and similar can promote rot and many mortgage lenders will not finance because they cannot see the roof members. New homes are of course, a different story and do benefit from geo heat pumps.
Bottom line for us will be solar panels and the associated expense of batteries and a good inverter and with a best possible insulation job and even underfloor heating (providing it doesn’t interfere with doors and skirting), using electric heaters. No digging up the garden (if, indeed, one has one), no plumbing/radiators, everything in plain sight and replaceable in the event of failure. Furthermore, one can add panels, add water solar panels, change/upgrade the inverter. What I don’t know yet - other than whether we will we remain in France or move to Portugal - is do France and or Portugal subscribe to householders supplying the grid and being paid for it?

Jane Jones, Our present place is an apartment in an historic building with the living room above a high, open archway. It’s our future home now that I am in retirement that we are considering. Presently our gas boiler has packed in. It’s of the old type. As tall as me and, embarrassingly, only slightly wider. It contains a huge, insulated water tank. The reason I mention it is because having packed in we only have the pilot flame and that serves us with shower and washing up water of 50degrees! The place, the boiler having packed in, is now heated by one old log fire in the living room: the type with several tubes above the flames which blow air in to the room using a two speed built in fan. The chimney and surrounding wall while we have no living room door, heats the entire place. Love it.

A good question and one for @Badger in France and Portugal I shall ask my Friend who has a place there tomorrow.
Certainly there are many of us in the same boat (scuse the pun from your opening paragraph).
Ground source is great if you have the space and budget, when I redevelop my pool and garden I may put coils of pipe in under the pool, wish I had the forthought to do this for customers earlier on. Properly sized rads/underfloor heating with the flow and correct cold climate heat pump the air source system can also work well, first time I saw this was in Sweden back in 1985.
A friend in the states connected a system of 120+ evacuated solar tubes to heat his pool and home (not both at the same time) even in winter.
The forever home in the UK will hopefully be fully insulated as best I can and considering removing suspended ground floor joists and infilling with insulation and shale/sand to act as a heat battery to add thermal mass. The current home has solid walls no cavity and all outside walls are covered with insulated plasterboard, I may strip this off and double the thickness my biggest regret was not making it thicker to start with. You simply do not miss thw 2" off the room sizes but would not miss 4" either. External if sub contracted is too expensive at around £15000. I may well do most of it myself If I decide to do it with contract labour for the rendering coat. In France the reflective multifoil and 200mm to 400mm rockwool in the apex has transformed the house. I will tackle the single glazing at some point. We built the new chimney with pre cast chimney blocks, the flu liner was insulated with a perlite pour around the flu. Heat was trapped between the register plate and a second cast in register plate further up above the floor level on 2nd floor then holes were core drilled into the space so the captured heat is used for two upstairs room. I ran around the outside of the house with indoor temperature around 25 c with my thermal camera when outside was around 8c so any heat leakage would be obvious. The only place upstairs was the chimney pot flue terminal as expected and that was around 110c whilst the woodburner was close to 300c. Obviousl the single glazing downstairs was leaking heat but it was a huge step up from previous when the bedroom was only 4c warmer than outside! Frost on the inside of the windows and it could easily be zero c in that room.

Replace with something like this?