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    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2017 edited
    An ex client, looking at a brand new flat for his son, is asking me what I think of the all-electric heating. Restraining my knee-jerk "it's rubbish" reaction, can I ask here if this is common practice, and whether maybe it kinda works?

    Being brand-new the flat must be up to current (or recent) Building Regs - "the predicted energy efficiency rating is 82". It also has "good solar exposure" (seaside town). The heaters are wall-fixed 2000W panels about 700x600, so must be mainly convective, to disperse that much power.

    They have comprehensive programmable electronic controls, but no remote sensor(s).
    They have 2 modes - getting up to set temp, and maintaining set temp - and it switches automatically between these modes on some simple criterion - I can't think why they should be different - may be more sophisticated close-control thermostat, more likely just choosing the elements in use (typically 750W, or 1250W, or 750+1250= 2000W).

    Any thoughts, to help me formulate a helpful answer?
    If it a mid section flat then losses will be less than gnd. floor or end, however often new flats are built without gas because the gas regs with the ventilation requirements can be a pain. And its one less trade on site less cirtification etc. So the elec. only is for the developers benefit and the purchaser is stuck with it.

    It depends upon the flat as to what chances there are to do somerthing, short term purchase or rent, live with the electricity, longterm heatpump and better insulation.

    If it's a new build and not finished sometimes it is possible to upgrade items like windows without (too) much extra cost but this would be lost if the purchase does not go ahead.
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2017 edited
    It should be relatively simple to upgrade the installation with programmable room thermostats - I know that Vesternet have a number of products suitable for panel heaters, for example.

    Also, I wonder if "good solar exposure" means "will overheat in summer" - have any measures been taken to control this - architectural brise soleil etc?
    Nothing wrong with all electric heating at all. As long as its reasonably cost effective. I can't see why the control should be any worse than Gas wet heating, in fact should be a bit better with properly individually controlled heater panels per room.

    Cost wise, if you are down at 5000kWh per year for heating (I think thats a reasonable figure, my 5 bed 1920s detached house is 17000) then Electric heating will cost about £600 per year against gas at about £200. thats a decent saving, but you'll save on £100 per year for boiler service/inspection and £200 per year for boiler replacement (2000 in 10 years?).

    So its not too bad an idea. And as the grid gets progressively decarbonised, he can feel smug as well.

    Obviously, the bigger the flat, the less attractive it becomes, as heat requirments increase.
    It's probably the right solution. A friend has a flat built around 15 years ago with a gas boiler. Changing regulations for flue inspection are creating real problems for people in the block - the way the flues were originally installed means I think some run through ducts in other flats in the block.

    As a comparison we lived in a new-build CSH Code4 60m2 flat built by Barratt in London 3 years ago. The solution in that development (c200 flats) was a central boiler for the block and heat exchangers in each flat (and wet underfloor heating). The problem is that means a network of hot water pipes running around the block in the hallway ceilings which turns means they're overheating in winter and stifling saunas in summer. You still have an (annual?) maintenance cost for the heat exchanger.

    Heating requirements were minimal - we had most of the UFH circuits switched off. We were south facing so solar gain was excessive (no brie soleils) even after we added solar film to the windows.

    For heating it's likely a good solution - saves space (no boiler), no maintenance costs. I'd be more worried about how hot water is provided as that's likely to be the larger contribution to costs.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2017
    ASHP? Is. It warm there in the summer? ASHP also works for cooling.
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2017
    Do you mean and air to air heat pump Tony?

    Depending on the wiring in the flat, it may be possible to change to E7 and storage heating.
    These days water heating is generally greater than space heating in small places.

    Two big advantages of resistance heating is that they are very cheap to install (and change) and very controllable (little lead or lag).

    In a small flat, I would think that just turning them on and off when needed is almost the best control. It saves leaving them on when the place is unoccupied.
    A 2000W heater would heat my place twice over.

    Electricity price have recently increased, but I think this was a prudence move on behalf of the Big 6 (just incase capping comes in).
    I suspect that they will decrease sometime in the not too distant future, though still an overall rise on a year ago.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2017
    Yes, I am talking about air out air split systems and only think in the medium to long term and about saving energy as a nation.
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: tony</cite>ASHP? Is. It warm there in the summer? ASHP also works for cooling.</blockquote>

    And where do you put the 'outdoor' part of the HP where it's not going to look terrible and disturb with noise?
    • CommentAuthorringi
    • CommentTimeJun 15th 2017
    My dad did some work on it (I think in the 1980), and at that time, if you spend the money saved by not installing gas on better insulation, the running costs of the electrical system was less then the gas system.

    Also remember that lots of flats are brought by landlords, and it is costly getting the tenants to give access for the gas safety check.
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