WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR OIL BOILERS?
If your current oil boiler is reaching the end of its useful lifespan and you are going to have to replace it soon, what should you replace your oil boiler with?
Well, there are some low-carbon heating solutions that will do the job, most notably air source or ground source heat pumps, solar thermal panels (for powering electric storage heating) and hydrogen boilers. All these technologies are currently available, but not all are mainstream yet in the UK.
There are also many companies who are peddling cleaner burning biofuels of one sort or another, which can be used to fuel oil-fired heating systems that can be converted for the purpose.
All the alternatives to oil boilers are expensive propositions at this stage, but before the Government can completely outlaw oil-fired boilers those who rely on them will need to be assured there is an affordable, practical and sustainable replacement for oil boilers to provide heating solutions.
The Government is clearly in favour of future-proofing our homes with heat pumps, aiming to see around 600,000 of them being installed every year by 2028. Heat pumps are a great alternative to oil-fired heating systems, extremely suitable for remote off-grid areas, and qualify for Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments if your heat pump is Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) compliant.
How do heat pumps work? They use networks of piping to extract heat energy from the air or ground and use it to warm your home, working like a refrigerator in reverse. The technology, especially ground source heat pumps, is extremely efficient and although upfront costs are large, over time a heat pump can reduce energy bills significantly.
Moving to a heat pump will almost certainly require you to replace the radiators with larger ones as the temperature of the water in the system is often less, so larger radiators will be required to heat the same space.
The coming years are going to present all sorts of challenges as we strive to beat climate change and and seek renewable energy solutions for all our requirements. Start planning ahead for your future heating needs while you keep your current oil boiler well maintained and working for as long as possible.
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