Alternatives to Oil for Central Heating

Most of the homes in Wormshill are heated with a combination of oil powered boilers and log-burning stoves. For many period properties, this is currently the only real option.

Newer homes with better insulation can however move to a renewable energy system and Government funding to do so has been extended until 31-Mar-22. This funding can cover the entire cost in some cases.

For homes with normal radiators and an oil fired boiler, one of the easiest systems to implement is an air-source heat pump. An outdoor box similar to an air conditioner replaces the boiler, and simply feeds hot water into the existing radiators. Powered by electricity, one of the main advantages is that there is no oil tank to fill.

The best Government funding available for air-sourced heat-pumps is the Renewable Heat Incentive, RHI, which pays home-owners over 7 years for the systems. To use the scheme, home owners must:

  1. Have a recent EPC certificate showing the annual heating demand. These cost about £50 to get.
  2. Engage with an MCS accredited installer to design and install the system
  3. Apply for RHI payments on the RHI scheme site, with the EPC number and MCS installation certificate number.

There is more information about applying for the MCS payments on Ofgem’s site, here.

The latest systems use about 1/3rd of the electricity when compared to an electric heater, and so have a running cost that should break-even with oil at about 45p per litre.

The Government funding for their installation is available because a heat pump generates much less CO2 than a gas or oil boiler producing the same output. The latest systems using ‘R290’ refrigerant will provide near full output at -5°C outside temperature and work down to about -18°C , so don’t require backup heating for normal operation either.